Emergency departments in Wales must be a priority for the First Minister according to the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.

New statistics have revealed an ongoing crisis state in Welsh emergency departments, with patients enduring lengthy waiting times.

The A&E performance data was broadcast by the Welsh government on April 18, exposing the severity of patient wait time for the previous month.

It unraveled March 2024 as the second most dismal March since recording began, evidenced by the nearly 67,000 people who required immediate medical attention.

According to the data, four and eight-hour waiting times had alarmingly surged compared to the preceding month.

Meanwhile, the 12-hour waiting time dipped slightly.

During March, 43.2 per cent of patients spent four or more hours within the emergency department confines.

One out of every four patients spent an eight-hour waiting period in A&E.

What is more shocking is that one in seven people were subjected to a 12-hour wait or longer.

The data shows that since March 2017, the number of people waiting for more than four hours increased by 80 per cent, with a 145 per cent increase in people waiting more than eight hours and 221 per cent for 12 hours or more.

Dr Rob Perry, RCEM vice president for Wales, said: "There are some slight improvements visible in this data which have to be considered as positive, but we can't ignore the fact that the situation remains extremely challenging in Wales' emergency departments."

He emphasised that the overcrowding of these departments has direct negative impacts on patient health, and the surge in patients anxiously waiting for more than 12 hours is a cause for grave concern.

Mr Perry believes the new First Minister Vaughan Gething, a former health minister himself, is aware of the trials faced by emergency departments.

He added: "Since he was appointed, we have seen some positive signs that healthcare is firmly on his agenda - and that of his health minister – and we look forward to working with them to constructively address these issues, to ensure Wales has the Urgent and Emergency Care system healthcare professionals want, and patients deserve."

The given data does not include specifics on 'breach exemptions,' which is a policy wherein patients whose stay surpasses the target of four-hours, are not considered delinquents if their treatment is finalised within the A&E department.