On Tuesday 26 April the Welsh Government published plans to reduce waiting lists in Wales, with health boards supported by an extra £60m, £15m a year over the next four years.
Their aim is that by spring 2025, no patient (across most specialties) should have to have to wait more than a year for non-urgent NHS treatment by Spring 2025. Their plan sets a target of delivering 35% of all new appointments, and 50% of follow-up appointments, virtually.
The 'Planned Care Recovery Plan' focuses on:
- Transforming outpatient services
- Prioritising diagnostic services
- Early diagnosis and treatment of suspected cancer patients
- Patient prioritisation to minimise health inequalities
- Those waiting a long time
- Building sustainable planned care capacity
- Improving communication and support
As part of the plans for diagnostics, they'll look at delivering more diagnostic tests outside hospitals in primary and community care settings. Plans for two community diagnostic centres will be developed this year, with more to follow by the end of this Senedd term.
Responding to the announcement, Dr Gwenan Huws, BSR National Chairperson for Wales said: "On the day of this announcement, more than 1700 rheumatology and musculoskeletal (MSK) professionals have gathered at British Society of Rheumatology (BSR)'s Annual Conference to discuss, among many issues, the most significant crisis our membership has faced in living memory.
"Our members are working hard to address the challenges of long waits and delayed diagnosis. However, the success of the Welsh government's ambitions will be dependent on how well vacancies and staff shortages in rheumatology are tackled.
"We look forward to discussing the details of these plans in more detail with the Welsh government, national clinical leads in MSK and NHS leaders, and will continue to support our members with high-quality education, mentorship and quality improvement to meet the challenges ahead."
Read the Welsh government waiting list plans in English (external link)
Read the Welsh government waiting list plans in Welsh (external link)