Suggestion FM misled Assembly on A&E waiting times

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The leader of Plaid Cymru Adam Price has written to the First Minister Mark Drakeford asking him to correct his claim that the failure to meet A&E targets was due to an increase in attendees – a figure now proven incorrect. 

During their exchange during First Minister’s Questions on Tuesday 29 January, Mr Drakeford claimed that the failure to meet the A&E waiting times target of 95% in December 2018 was due to an increase in the number of people entering A&E – a figure he claims is the “highest ever on record in the month of December”.

However, figures show that A&E attendance in December 2018 was down from December 2017 and therefore could not have been  “the highest ever on record” and was not the cause for failing to meet waiting time targets as Mr Drakeford suggested.

Mr Price has asked the First Minister to correct the record ‘at the earliest opportunity’ and to reconsider his proposal for an urgent inquiry into the state of emergency care across Wales.

In the letter Adam Price AM, leader of Plaid Cymru said,

“Whilst figures for December 2018 in relation to performance against waiting time targets is – as I highlighted – the worst on record, there is no such correlation in terms of the number of people entering A&E departments in December.  

“I should like to reiterate my original point that performance figures against the 95% four hour target for the month of December 2018 were indeed the worst on record, despite attendance for December 2018 in fact being down on the December of the previous year, as demonstrated.

“You’ll be aware that Section 1.3(ii) of the Ministerial Code, which now extends specifically to the First Minister, states that:  “It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to the Assembly, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity.” I would therefore invite you to correct the record at the earliest opportunity in relation to your statement that the number of people entering A&E departments was the highest ever on record in the month of December. 

“In light of the correction, I would like you to reconsider your rejection of my call for an urgent inquiry into the state of emergency care across Wales, starting in the north.

“The fact that the Welsh NHS recorded its worst ever performance on A&E waiting times despite the fact that it was not under additional pressure from higher numbers in attendance – especially given that temperatures were mild and that there was no major flu outbreak – necessitates the strategic focus of an independent inquiry.”

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