THE number of patients having to wait more than 12 hours at hospital accident and emergency departments has risen.

The data published by NHS Wales revealed that in the first month of this year, 797 patients waited more than 12 hours in A&E in hospitals run by the Aneurin Bevan University Local Health Board.

This is compared with 530 in 2016 and 476 in 2015.

Across Wales there has been an increase in the amount of time people have to wait at A&E.

4,069 people had a wait of over 12 hours in the first month of this year. The same time last year this figure 3,290 patients had the same wait.

Aneurin Bevan Health Board had the lowest percentage of patients spending less than an hour in A&E departments in Wales at 13.3 per cent.

The average waiting time was three hours 38 minutes in the region, and 77.6 per cent of people in A&E were seen within the Welsh Government’s four-hour target period.

This was a fall of over three per cent from the same period in 2016 but was 11 per cent more than seen within the target time in January 2015.

Reacting to the figures Plaid Cymru health spokesperson Rhun Ap Iorwerth said: “We’re seeing the predictable results of a failure to recruit enough doctors, centralising services, and a chronic under-investment in out of hours and social care, and it’s getting worse every winter.

"Our excellent staff are being asked to do the impossible”

Shadow health secretary, Angela Burns, said: “These figures are extremely disappointing and highlight the serious challenges faced by the Welsh NHS.

“There are a number of factors which have contributed to this rise – too few hospital beds, difficulties accessing GP appointments, and of course, the closure of local minor injury units.

"Sadly, the people paying the price for this failure are patients and dedicated NHS staff.”