Welsh government launches new waiting list policy

Welsh health minister Eluned Morgan has launched a new policy on waiting lists for NHS treatments.

The 3Ps Waiting Well Policy aims to ensure that support and information are easily available to those waiting for treatment.

The 3Ps are: Promoting healthy behaviours, Preventing deconditioning whilst waiting, and Preparing for treatment and recovery.

Those waiting for treatment will be given one single point of contact at the health board, who will listen to their concerns, advise on healthy behaviours to better manage their symptoms and signpost them to a wide variety of resources and services.

The contact will also help people prepare for treatment to ensure they get the best results, including access to services like exercise classes, in-person or remote.

Some health boards, such Hywel Dda, are already providing these services.

Figures have recently been released showing that there were 6,350 last minute cancellations of procedures between April 2022 and March 2023. 4,860 procedures were cancelled because the patient said they were unfit for the procedure, 300 were because the patient had a pre-existing medical condition, 1,130 were because the hospital said the patient was unfit with an acute illness, and 60 were because they were unsuitable for a day case procedure.

Health minister Eluned Morgan said: "We know that effective preparation is vital for people to get the best results from their treatment, and it can help prevent last minute cancellations.

"Last year in NHS Wales there were over 6,000 last minute cancellations, many due to ill-health. Last minute cancellations mean wasted resources – it’s a loss of consultant and surgeon time when that space could have been offered to someone else.

"With the 3Ps policy, people will be empowered to take responsibility for their own health and well-being, with information and support available via a range of resources and formats to enable people to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

"It will also empower people to better self-manage their condition whilst waiting, providing advice on pain management and what to do to if their symptoms deteriorate.

"Support will also be provided on how to best prepare for treatment and recovery. This will prevent last-minute cancellations and ensure people get the best results from their treatment. By keeping in regular contact with the people waiting for resources, health boards can also better plan for postponements if needed."