Health board issues plea to visitors as flu infections rise
A Welsh Health Board has made a direct plea to the public amid an increase in flu transmissions and urgent 999 calls.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has seen an increase in patients at emergency departments across the north of Wales over the Christmas period.
The plea, “Please help us to protect your relatives and friends from infection” came directly from executive director of nursing, Angela Wood.
The health board expressed concern that although the majority of the public is working with them to help keep hospitals safe, there has been an increase in non-compliance, by visitors.
The health board recently declared an internal critical incident and says guidelines designed to protect patients and staff from infections being brought into the board’s acute sites are not being followed.
Angela Wood said: “I want to reiterate how important these visitor guidelines are for patients and staff in our hospitals.
“We recently increased the times visitors can attend to see loved ones but with this comes with some civic responsibility.
“Firstly, no one should even consider entering a hospital if they have any symptoms of a cold or flu, or know they are unwell.
“If you do, you put the wellbeing of your loved one at risk and it also threatens the health of our staff, who will not be able to care for the population if they contract flu, Covid or RSV.
In the week ending December 19 the health board diagnosed 300 new patients with flu, which was a 58% increase on the week before.
This is the equivalent of 22% of the beds available in acute care and infections are mainly affecting the most vulnerable patients.
Angela Wood said: “This is before we factor in increased Covid transmission and other respiratory diseases, which commonly become an issue at this time of year and the recently reported increase of almost two-thirds of the most serious ambulance calls.
The executive director of nursing explained that simple measures like good hand hygiene and wearing a face mask, unless exempt and social distancing will help to keep hospitals infection free.
Nursing staff have been instructed to challenge visitors who are not wears a mask.
people should be respectful as they “are only trying to protect your loved ones from harm.”
Angela Wood said: “People should be respectful as they are only trying to protect your loved ones from harm.
“We have many vulnerable people within our hospitals and your help and continued cooperation is vital if we are to keep them as safe as we possibly can.
“It only takes one person to ignore these guidelines for an outbreak to start. However, I would like to thank the majority of our visitors for working with us to keep infections down.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.