Will the Cabinet Secretary provide an update on progress the Welsh Government is making in reducing waiting times for diagnostic tests?
What action is the Welsh Government taking to ensure that patients receive diagnostic tests and treatment within target times?
The number of people waiting over eight weeks for diagnostics at the end of February 2017 was 41 per cent lower than February 2016. This is the lowest figure since June 2011. The latest median waiting time for diagnostic tests across Wales is 2.6 weeks.
Thank you, Cabinet Secretary. Regretfully, far too many people are still waiting far too long for diagnostic tests. We still have nearly 2,000 people waiting more than 24 weeks for diagnostic and therapy services. Diagnostics are the central pillar of our health service, and we must do more to improve access to testing and eliminate waits over 24 weeks. What is your Government doing to ensure that no-one in future has to wait half a year for diagnostic tests?
We’ve made real and significant progress, as I outlined in my earlier answer. I’m clear that the progress is significant and sustainable. In particular, a number of health boards—Hywel Dda, for instance—have no-one waiting over the relevant target time. The challenge will be for the numbers that are left, primarily in south-east Wales, and how they are resolved. I’ve been very clear with both executive officers, but also in particular chairs of health boards, that I expect people to meet to make further progress this year, because whilst I celebrate the progress that is made, I’m never complacent when in fact there is more progress still to be made and some people do wait too long, and I’m determined that NHS Wales will continue to deliver and improve.