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Wednesday, December 9, 1998 Published at 13:31 GMT


Welsh hospital services 'improve'

More people are getting treatment sooner

More people are waiting a shorter time for hospital treatment in Wales, according to performance tables published by the Government on Tuesday.

The tables cover the performance of NHS trusts, including ambulance services, for 1997-98.

They look at indicators such as waiting times, ambulance response times and trusts' performance on complaints.

They indicate slight improvements in performance by most trusts in the principality, although some showed a decline over the period 1997-98.

They also showed that the number of people on waiting lists had fallen by 3,000 over the past two months.

Figures released earlier this year had shown that, unlike the rest of the UK, waiting lists were rising in Wales.


The government said the figures proved continuing success in its mission to cut waiting lists but added that hospitals that were not doing so well would be expected to improve.

Welsh Health Minister Jon Owen Jones said: "At last the hard work of the NHS is beginning to pay off.

"There are a small number of trusts that have not done as well as we would have liked and have slipped below last year's performance.

"I am looking to them to agree measures with their health authorities to bring their performance in line with the rest."

The tables showed that:

  • 95% of patients were admitted to hospital for treatment within one year of referral by their GP and 78% within three months;
  • 92% of hospital outpatients had treatment within six months of referral;
  • 91% of those attending outpatient clinics were seen within 30 minutes of their appointment time - the highest figure since performance tables began.

Mr Jones said: "Waiting times for hospital treatment continue to be a major concern to the public and I have set tough but realistic targets for health authorities and trusts to cut waiting lists this year."


An extra £20m has been set aside to fund the drive to reduce inpatient and day case waiting times by the end of this financial year.

In addition, a further £12m will be available to help cope with the extra pressure placed on hospitals by winter emergencies.

Last week the Welsh Office announced one of the biggest shake-ups in the history of the health service, reducing the number of NHS Trusts from 26 to 16.

Tables covering the performance of NHS trusts in England are due to be published tomorrow.

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