Plaid Cymru calls time on ‘breach’ or ‘clinical exemptions’ to safeguard transparency

THE use of ‘breach’ or ‘clinical exemptions’ within Emergency Departments should end, Plaid Cymru has said.

Plaid Cymru’s health spokesperson, Mabon ap Gwynfor MS, said stopping the clock on treatment waits for patients beyond four hours in emergency departments lacks transparency and gives a “false and distorted picture of the pressures facing hard-working front-line staff”.

Mr ap Gwynfor called on the Health Minister to “listen to the experts” by bringing the application of ‘breach exemptions’ to an end, as a “first step in giving clinicians the confidence that government has their back”.

Plaid Cymru spokesperson for health and care, Mabon ap Gwynfor MS, said:

“Concerns by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) around the opaqueness of reporting waiting times within emergency departments raises profound questions.

“The Health Minister has attempted to turn the claim that, since 2011, 670,000 patients waiting more than four hours in A&E were not included in published data, into a game of semantics.

“It does little to address the underlying issue of front-line staff feeling ‘deflated’ and ‘burnt out’ as was said in evidence by the RCEM to a Senedd Committee.

“It’s time to call an end to ‘breach exemptions’ to safeguard transparency and as the only way of avoiding a false and distorted picture of pressures facing hard-working front-line staff being reflected to the public.

“The Minister must listen to the experts as a first step in giving clinicians the confidence that government has their back. 82% of consultants surveyed by the RCEM in Wales have a negative view of ‘breach exemptions’ and Wales is out of step with England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland where the practice does not exist.

“Hoodwinking the public on emergency department pressures fails patients and staff – if care is stretched more thinly than it appears, suitable workforce planning will be neglected, and adequate beds won’t be provided.”

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