Surgeons have warned of year-round pressure facing the health system in Wales, as waiting lists hit a record high.

Recent data published by Stats Wales showed 722,147 ‘patient pathways’ in May 2022.

The ‘patient pathway’ data covers the time a patient waits from their referral until they are admitted to the hospital for treatment. The data includes time spent waiting for any hospital appointments, tests, surgery, scans, or other procedures.

The data show there were 260,859 waiting nine months or more for treatment, which is an increase of 2,670 on the previous month.


The longest waits are for trauma and orthopedic treatment (98,903) and general surgery (89,256).

Professor Jon Barry, interim Director for Wales at The Royal College of Surgeons of England, said: “The NHS in Wales is facing one of its toughest challenges yet. An unprecedented heat wave, ongoing COVID-19 pressures and escalating backlogs paint a grim picture.

“We can no longer be under any illusion that NHS pressures are confined to the winter months. We face year-round pressures so a new approach is needed. 

"We need to support our surgeons and the NHS’ hard-working staff by increasing surgical provision. Regional surgical hubs, or elective centres, must be rolled out across Health Board boundaries in Wales to improve the pace of recovery.

"We urge the Welsh Government to separate planned care from urgent and emergency care. If they fail to do so, patients will continue to suffer.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said:  “The pandemic has had a massive impact on our health and care services. Working with the NHS, we have set ambitious but realistic targets to tackle the pandemic backlog for planned care and we have committed more than £1bn to help the NHS recover and cut waiting times.

“We are exploring and developing regional service delivery with clinical teams and will be based on the efficient and effective use of resources to provide quality and safe services for planned, urgent and emergency services for the future.”