27 April 2022
On 26 April 2022, the Health Minister Eluned Morgan launched the Welsh Government ‘programme for transforming and modernising planned care and reducing waiting lists in Wales’.
The recovery plan is due to be underpinned by a ‘coordinated and focused’ workforce plan and includes a number of key ambitions to reduce waiting times for people in Wales:
- No one waiting longer than a year for their first outpatient appointment by the end of 2022.
- Eliminate the number of people waiting longer than two years in most specialities by March 2023.
- Eliminate the number of people waiting longer than one year in most specialities by spring 2025.
- Increase the speed of diagnostic testing and reporting to eight weeks and 14 weeks for therapy interventions by spring 2024.
- Cancer diagnosis and treatment to be undertaken within 62 days for 80% of people by 2026.
In response, Pippa Cotterill, Head of Wales Office commented:
“We welcome the publication of the planned care recovery plan (PDF) in response to the extreme challenges facing health and social care services following the pandemic.
“The plan sets ambitious targets around reducing waiting times and increasing the uptake of digital services. Speech and language therapists have embraced innovation and delivering services in different ways throughout the pandemic. However, moving forwards, it is vital that individuals’ needs and preferences are considered in relation to delivery models.
“We particularly welcome the focus on children’s services within the plan. We know that COVID had a huge impact on children’s development and it is crucial that children’s services are prioritised over the coming years.
“It is positive to see references to workforce planning and to the importance of rehabilitation within the document. The success of this plan rests on the ability to retain and recruit health and care professionals. We urgently need an increased focus on workforce planning to ensure Wales has the sustainable workforce it so desperately needs.
“Collaboration will be essential to the effective delivery of the plan and we stand ready alongside our AHP colleagues to support Welsh Government in its ambitions.”