Dr David Bailey, chair BMA Welsh Council, said:
“It's not surprising that NHS waiting times in Wales have reached extraordinary levels. The figures released today are stark - patients waiting more than 36 weeks to start treatment in hospital have grown from 27,314 in January to 168,944, an increase of over 500%.
“The statistics illustrate the significant impact that Covid-19 has had on the NHS in Wales, and on the lives of patients up and down the country, delaying treatments for so many.
“What is vital now, is clear messaging for these patients, many of whom have, and continue to suffer due to these delays. Clear communication which provides insight as to where they are in the system, may offer a small amount of peace of mind. To have no information at all will be for many, extremely distressing.
“We welcome Welsh Government’s acknowledgement that extra investment will be needed, as this will be key in driving these figures down, but we do need urgent clarity on what exactly will be available and how it will be spent.
“Doctors in Wales remain committed to tackling the backlog, but they must be resourced and protected in order to do their jobs. Improved patient and staff testing must become a clear priority, appropriate PPE must continue to be guaranteed, along with dedicated Covid-safe wards in hospitals, to ensure spread of the virus is minimised as much as possible.
“We must not forget the need to look after the workforce, many of whom have been working in high risk environments since March, their wellbeing is paramount, without them there is no service.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.