How BBC Wales hides a political crisis in emergency services by blaming the patients


In June 2021, NHS Wales treated only 70.6% of patients within 4 hours*. NHS England saw 73.2%.

In the same period, NHS Scotland treated 83.6%.

These are worrying figures fore the people of Wales and yet BBC Wales makes no suggestion of any failure by health boards or by the Welsh Government in their report today: A&E queues mean Wales’ ambulances ‘can’t take 999 calls’

Rather, they interview paramedics. One of whom says:

We’ve had all types of calls, from sunburn, fish-hooks in feet, cramp in legs, through to much more serious calls,” Ceri said.

I’d like people to think before they dial 999. It’s not just a go-to number.

We’ve got the 111 symptom checker online and that’s a good place to start.

She said the difference would be “immense” if people thought more before dialling 999.

It could mean that the patient who was waiting five hours today could have had a response in maybe 10 to 20 minutes.

Astonishingly, the senior paramedic is reported as concluding:

She had no answers to resolve the situation and feared the future held “bleakness”.

What, more staff, no? What, no health board CEO to blame? No Health Secretary to resign?

Right at the bottom of the report, we see:

The Welsh government said getting patients from ambulances and into A&E remained a “significant challenge” and recently announced £25m to improve the outcome of emergency calls.

A spokesman said: “A range of local and system-wide factors contribute to these delays, including reduced physical capacity within emergency departments, increased levels of demand, and pressures elsewhere in the system.”

No name, no apologies, no promises, it’s just what is? What can we do?

Imagine if that was Scotland.

In the Press & Journal on August 6th 2021, on ambulance waiting times:

Any further delay on Nicola Sturgeon’s part to act could prove catastrophic

Indeed, ministerial acceptance of blame is the norm up here:

I actually have more in the archives, but this seems long enough to make the point.

  • I have ignored the 100% performance of the tiny Powys Teaching Local Board which only saw between 2% and 10% of the numbers seen in the other boards.



3 thoughts on “How BBC Wales hides a political crisis in emergency services by blaming the patients

  1. A recent report provides useful comparative stats on the performance of public services in the four nations since devolution:

    See Atkins et al (2021) Devolved public services: the NHS, schools and social care in the four nations. Institute for Government (April 2021)

    On ambulance response times during the period since 2000 it notes:

    ‘As with (elective surgery) waiting times, there is also evidence of gaming in England. While ambulance trusts improved performance against the headline eight-minute target, they showed little improvement on non-headline targets. In around a third of trusts, response times were manually ‘corrected’ to be recorded as taking less than eight minutes – ….’

    (Imagine the media headlines if this had been shown for NHS Scotland, even for historic data.)

    And, for interest, this IfG report confirms: ‘All four nations have had a long-standing target that 95% of A&E patients should be admitted, discharged or transferred within four hours. Scotland has had the best A&E performance on this measure of the four nations since 2015 ..’

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Clearly higher standards are expected of Scottish institutions by the plethora of failed politicians from DRoss and Rennie to Sarwar .
    Pity they do not apply the same level of reproach to their unionist masters’ poor efforts elsewhere in the rUK.

    Liked by 2 people

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