STAFFING constraints and difficulties getting patients out of hospitals are adding to pressures on the NHS in Wales, the government has said.

It comes as the latest performance data shows the number of people on treatment lists continues to grow - there are now around 722,000 names on waiting lists nationwide.

The Welsh Government said "huge numbers" of people were treated in May "despite the increase in demand" on services and emergency care.

But the Conservatives dismissed any idea of "progress" in tackling the backlog, which has grown continuously since the beginning of the pandemic, and urged ministers to "get a grip on the NHS and stop breaking all the wrong records".

A&E departments are expected to admit, transfer or discharge 95 per cent of people within four hours of their arrival.

Figures for June show the current performance across Wales is 66.4 per cent, and the rate has generally declined since the pandemic began.

A similar 95 per cent target exists for people waiting to be referred for treatment in the NHS within 26 weeks. Figures for May show just 53.9 of people were being seen nationwide in that time.

For cancer patients, the government target is for 75 per cent of patients to start treatment within 62 days, but figures for May show the average across Wales falls short, at 53 per cent.

June was the 13th consecutive month in which the Welsh Ambulance Service received more than 100 of the most serious types of callout. It responded to 50.8 per cent of those calls within eight minutes, short of the 65 per cent target. The government has announced plans to hire 100 new frontline staff to help ease ambulance pressures.

Commenting on the figures, the Welsh Government pointed to some positive news, including reductions in the longest waits for treatments and May having the highest monthly number of inpatient and day case treatments since the start of the pandemic.

But the Tories said national increases in the waiting list backlog and ambulance waits meant "Labour cannot call this progress".

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The Welsh NHS Confederation, meanwhile, said more structural changes were needed.

"Unless we can improve patient flow and speed up hospital discharge by alleviating the pressure on and creating capacity in social care, we’ll continue to see a large number of patients waiting longer than we’d like them to for both urgent and emergency care and planned care," said confederation assistant director Nesta Lloyd-Jones.

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