Welsh Government advises senior NHS staff to discharge patients without care package in place
NHS staff have been advised by the Welsh Government to discharge people well enough to leave hospital without a care package in place.
Four Welsh health boards have declared “extreme pressure” on their systems following a sharp rise in Covid and Flu cases and 999 calls.
Hywel Dda, Swansea Bay and Powys have all said their health and social case systems are struggling to cope with an increase in patients needing emergency care.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board also declared a critical internal incident on Monday after struggling to cope with “unprecedented demand”.
Last week, Hywel Dda University Health Board asked that family members of anyone who is medically well enough to be discharged from hospital, to “please help us by coming to pick them up promptly. This will allow us to admit people waiting for a hospital bed.”
Avoid A&E departments
People are advised to avoid A&E departments whilst the health boards battle to get waiting times and bed blocking under control.
Some patients medically well enough to go home have been kept in hospital beds because of a lack of social care available once discharged.
The Welsh Lib Debs have said direction from the Welsh Government to discharge these patients without adequate care packages is “deeply concerning” and could lead to patients being readmitted.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said: “There has been a systematic failure from successive governments over the last few decades to provide meaningful improvements to the social care system in Wales.
“Reforming social care was a key promise of the Labour and Plaid Cymru Co-operation Agreement, yet things appear to be worse than ever. We cannot solve the crisis in our A&E departments until the crisis in social care is solved.
“The Welsh Government must ensure that patient safety is protected throughout the health care system and that meaningful reforms to the social care system are forthcoming.”
“Missing in action”
Plaid Cymru has also criticised the Welsh Government and accused Health Minister Eluned Morgan of being “missing in action’ following a lack of interviews and statements amid the health boards warnings.
Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for health and care, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said: “Our heroic health and care workers, who are not only dealing with extreme pressures from increased demand and staff shortages, are now having to front up for TV interviews. Meanwhile the Health Minister is missing in action.
“It is not good enough for Welsh Government to lay the blame on UK Government – while it’s true that Westminster holds the purse strings, Welsh Government is not powerless to act.”
Director of the Welsh NHS Confederation described the NHS as being “on a knife edge” in terms of its ability to cope with the “highest levels of pressure.”
People have been advised to use the NHS 111 service for urgent medical advice and only call 999 for life threatening emergencies.
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