FUNDING worth £60 million will be invested in the Welsh NHS in a bid to address issues with waiting times.

Last week, Darren Hughes, director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, admitted the Welsh health service was “a long way” from meeting demand, with almost 700,000 people currently waiting for treatment according to the latest NHS Wales performance figures.

Now, health minister Eluned Morgan will announce a new plan to “transform planned care” and cut waiting times over the next four years.

Ms Morgan said the plan aims to ensure no one will be waiting more than a year for treatment in most specialties by Spring 2025.

Included in the announcement is £1.034 million funding for trauma and orthopaedics services in the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board region – which should allow these services to treat an extra 3,650 people.

South Wales Argus:

The plan will aim to ease the demands on hospital staff, with people only going to hospital when they need care, advice or services which cannot be delivered either at home or in the community.

The minister has also set a goal of 35 per cent of new appointments and 50 per cent of follow-up appointments being delivered virtually.

The new plan will also look to make diagnostic tests more widely available outside of hospitals.

The latest NHS performance figures showed that 43,781 patients (41 per cent) were waiting longer than the eight-week target period for access to diagnostic tests.

To move the tests away from hospitals, plans for two community diagnostic centres will be developed this year, with more to follow by the end of this Senedd term.

The plan will be published in full at midday today, the Welsh Government has confirmed.

South Wales Argus: Eluned Morgan has said cutting NHS waiting times is the Welsh Government's focus for the rest of this Senedd term.Eluned Morgan has said cutting NHS waiting times is the Welsh Government's focus for the rest of this Senedd term.

“We need a determined effort to ensure people waiting for appointments and treatment are seen as quickly as possible and in order of clinical priority,” said Ms Morgan.

“Reducing waiting times will require new solutions, more equipment, new facilities and more staff to help diagnose people quickly as part of an effective and efficient planned care service. This plan sets out how we will transform planned care so the most urgent cases are prioritised.

“Unfortunately waiting times and waiting lists have grown during the pandemic and will take a long time and a lot of hard work to do but we are committed to working with our fantastic NHS to ensure no one waits longer than a year for treatment in most specialities by spring 2025.

“Together with reducing waiting times, we also want to help people understand and manage their conditions and to feel supported while they are waiting for treatment.

“This is a big task – but it is our focus for the rest of this term.”