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Unprecedented demand on Emergency Departments across North Wales

20 Aug 2022 3 minute read
Ysbyty Glan Clwyd Emergency Department. Photo via Google

An NHS health board in North Wales is urging the public to use health services wisely and to only visit the Emergency Department if absolutely necessary.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has said it has seen an unprecedented demand on Emergency Departments across North Wales, which is leading to significant long waits to be seen.

The health board says it has seen over 2,000 people attend the Emergency Departments since 12 August and says the high number of patients together with the difficulty in discharging medically-fit patients from hospital.

This is leading to significant bed shortages across the sites and is having an impact on planned surgery being able to go ahead. It is also leading to lengthy ambulance waits outside our Emergency Departments, which means that paramedics are unable to respond to other emergency calls in the community.

In a statement on its website the board points to difficulties with discharge planning caused by the delay in delivering packages of social and community care and is asking relatives to consider offering interim support to patients so that beds can be freed up for others with urgent care needs.

Aiming for shortest possible hospital stays protects older patients from the negative consequences of hospital admission, such as hospital acquired infection, falls and a loss of independence.

Short term support

The statement adds: “Our priority is always to ensure that every patient is discharged from hospital at the right time, because of the current challenges this is increasingly difficult which results in patients experiencing protracted delays in hospital beds.

“If you have a relative or loved one in hospital who is assessed as being well enough to go home but is waiting to be discharged with homecare and community health support, you may be able to help them to get home more quickly if you and your family are in a position to support them at home.

“If your relative is waiting for a formal package of care, you may be able to offer support and care in the short term. If you feel that this is an option that you could consider, to facilitate hospital discharge please speak to the ward manager or your social worker to explore further.”

Dr Pete Williams, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Ysbyty Gwynedd, said: “Like hospitals across the country, we continue to be very busy as a result of increased admissions following last week’s hot weather and delays in discharging patients who no longer need an acute bed. We expect our Emergency Department to remain extremely busy for some days to come.

“All our patients are prioritised by clinical need, if you have a life-threatening injury or illness – we want to see you. If you feel unwell and it’s not an emergency please seek an alternative service such as Pharmacy, your GP or Minor Injury Unit.

“If you do not have a life-threatening condition and you attend the Emergency Department you will be waiting a considerable amount of time to be seen as our most sickest patients are our priority.”

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1 year ago

My wife has to visit hospitals here in Carmarthenshire for treatment as an outpatient and I go with her as she is disabled. Over the last three years we have noticed a dramatic increase in English people in the waiting rooms of both Prince Philip and Glangwili hospitals . Hardly any Welsh accents can be heard any more. I hope the Welsh NHS has noticed this and claiming for the extra cost from the UK government.

Lindsey Glen Dobie
Lindsey Glen Dobie
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank

In Betsi Cadwaladr’s catchment area are all the tourist hotspots, which, at the moment are stuffed full of tourists doing amazingly stupid and irresponsible things, that is why the numbers have shot up in the last couple of months. This has exacerbated a situation that was already in chaos, even in winter, the system can hardly cope. There are only two A&E departments for the whole of the area, all others have been closed, it’s ridiculous. From where I live, it’s a 40 mile plus drive to the nearest one. The Authority should not have been brought out of “Special… Read more »

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