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The Welsh NHS Crisis: A Call for Urgent Reforms and Prioritising Healthcare


The Welsh NHS is currently facing a profound crisis, with approximately 30,000 individuals enduring waits of over two years for essential hospital treatments following their referrals. These statistics, released in May 2023, shed light on a pressing issue: the Welsh Government’s inability to meet its own targets regarding the elimination of two-year waiting times. This essay delves into the alarming statistics, the underlying causes, and potential solutions to address the crisis. It also underscores the importance of prioritizing the National Health Service (NHS) in Wales and the well-being of its citizens.

The Current State of Affairs:

As of May 2023, the latest statistics reveal a staggering 31,406 patient pathways exceeding the two-year waiting target. Furthermore, an overwhelming total of 576,000 patients find themselves languishing on waiting lists, a number that has risen by 2,000 individuals. Comparatively, the situation in Wales is now three times worse than in England, where only half as many people endure 18-month waiting periods.

The Impacts of Hospital Bed Reduction and Community Hospital Closures:

The closure of community hospitals in Wales has had a devastating ripple effect throughout the healthcare system. These hospitals played a crucial role in providing patients with an intermediary step in their recovery journey, allowing them to receive treatment in smaller, less intensive settings until they were well enough to be discharged. This practice not only expedited recovery but also allowed ambulances to serve other patients promptly.

However, the closure of these community hospitals has left hospitals overwhelmed, leading to the phenomenon of “bed blocking.” The result is that ambulances queue up, unable to discharge patients due to the unavailability of beds. In recent months, a concerning trend has emerged with a significant number of operations being cancelled, affecting at least 1,000 patients each month.

Shortages in Healthcare Workforce:

One of the root causes of the crisis in the Welsh NHS is the severe shortage of healthcare professionals, including doctors and nurses. The lack of effective workforce planning and retention strategies has led to a reduction in hospital beds and the inability to keep community hospitals open.

A Path Forward:

In light of these distressing circumstances, the Reform UK Party has put forward a set of proposals to tackle the crisis head-on. These include the reintroduction of community hospitals, an emphasis on training and retaining more doctors and nurses, the construction of additional hospitals, an increase in the number of available hospital beds, and a determined effort to eliminate waiting lists. These measures represent a comprehensive approach to address the multitude of challenges currently facing the Welsh NHS.


The crisis in the Welsh NHS is a stark reminder of the need for urgent reforms and the prioritization of healthcare in Wales. The statistics revealing excessively long waiting times, bed shortages, and the closure of community hospitals are deeply concerning. To restore the health and well-being of its citizens, the Welsh Government must shift its focus towards investing in healthcare infrastructure, workforce development, and efficient healthcare delivery. The Reform UK Party’s proposed solutions offer a promising path forward, but it is crucial for all stakeholders to come together to address this pressing issue and ensure that the Welsh NHS can provide timely and high-quality healthcare to its people. In the end, the health of a nation should always remain a paramount concern, deserving of the utmost attention and resources.