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Health board declares critical incident due to ‘unprecedented demand’

02 Jan 2023 2 minute read
Staff on a NHS hospital ward. PA Images, Peter Byrne

A Welsh health board has declared an internal critical incident after struggling to cope with unprecedented demand across its health and social care system.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has seen increased pressure across its hospitals with a high volume of patients presenting with flu, COVID and other respiratory viruses.

The heath board has also see a sharp rise in seriously injured or unwell patients requiring emergency care which has led to all but the most urgent of planned procedures and appointments being cancelled tomorrow.

Hospitals across the health board are seeing a lack of available beds and significant staffing shortages which is causing extremely long waits for patients to be seen – particularly in emergency departments.

Similar pressures are being experienced in other Welsh Health Boards along with English Trusts.

Challenging time

Angela Wood, Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery urged members of the public who need help to contact NHS Wales 111 in the first instance to be signposted to the appropriate service.

A spokesperson said: “We are working closely with Local Authority colleagues to support medically fit patients to be discharged from hospital whilst making use of all available staffing.

“This is an exceptionally challenging time for colleagues across our health services and we are hugely grateful for the continued efforts being made in such difficult circumstances.”

“As always, our Emergency Departments will remain open and will see patients in order of clinical priority. However, we regret that those who do attend will face extremely long waits to be seen while staff on duty do all they can to keep patients safe.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board hospitals plan go ahead with planned procedures and appointments from Wednesday 4th January.

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