Wales

Wales NHS: A&E waiting times 'recovering' after winter

Hospital ward Image copyright PA

Emergency waiting times are recovering after one of the busiest winters on record, figures have shown.

In April, 80.1% of patients spent less than four hours in urgent care departments before being admitted, transferred or discharged - up from 76.3% in March.

But the performance remains well below the Welsh Government's target of 95%.

The figures also showed 30% fewer patients spent more than 12 hours in A&E in April than the month before.

However the performance in April was generally worse than the same period last year.

Struggling to cope

More than 3,000 patients waited more than 12 hours in April 2016 compared to 4,389 in March - although the Welsh Government's target states nobody should wait that long.

The Welsh Government has previously said a deterioration in performance this winter reflected how A&E departments had been busier than ever.

BBC Wales understands emergency departments struggled to cope at certain times, in particular with the number of very sick and elderly patients. This was also reflected in England.

The Welsh Government said it expected health boards to "eliminate" lengthy waits in emergency care facilities and would continue to monitor the situation.

Welsh Conservative health spokesman Darren Millar said the figures showed there were too few hospital beds, and difficulties in accessing GP appointments.

"Today's figures are further evidence of Labour's mismanagement of our healthcare system and it is patients and hardworking NHS staff who are left paying the price for that failure," he said.

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