The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) has forced the Welsh Government to admit that it has been misrepresenting the extent of waiting times in Accident & Emergency departments for years.
Data obtained by a Freedom of Information request reveals that A&E waiting times have been missing thousands of hours from official monthly figures.
The discrepancy is caused by a policy from 2011 issued by the Welsh Government, which allows for patients whose waits will exceed the four-hour target to be excluded from the data if they are expected to complete their treatment within A&E. This is known as “breach exemptions” and the Welsh Government created these claiming that other parts of Britain did the same.
The RCEM Vice President for Wales said: “We have long been campaigning for transparency in the reporting of the waiting time situation in Wales.”
He went on to say that they had been raising the issue with the Welsh Government for years, but it has fallen on deaf ears.
• A longer version of this article is on the web at www.cpbml.org.uk