Welsh Government under fire after health board issues Black Alert
The government has been accused of failing to get to grips with the crisis affecting the Welsh NHS following the Black Alert declared by Aneurin Bevan University Health Board yesterday.
The health board said its services were under sustained and unprecedented pressure and asked patients to only attend the Grange University Hospital in Cwmbran in life-threatening situations.
Last week, new figures revealed 33.4% of patients had to wait over the four-hour target to be seen in Welsh A&Es in February, the third worst month on record and 9,150 patients waited over 12 hours, nearly 600 more than in December.
Responding to yesterday’s Black Alert, Welsh Conservative and Shadow Health Minister Russell George MS said: “For a major hospital to declare a black alert on a weekday night shows the NHS is ill-prepared to help those who need it most, with hard-working staff doing all they can being let down time and time again by the Labour Government.
“We know Covid had a detrimental effect on the delivery of healthcare, but Labour ministers have had months to prepare the NHS for recovering from the pandemic but seem to be missing in action.
“It is not right that people are left to fester for hours, sometimes days, in A&E waiting rooms in pain when it’s their taxes that are used to fund the health service and while they could be missing out on work at a time when the cost-of-living is sadly on the increase.
“The Labour Government in Cardiff Bay have got to get a grip on the NHS and stop breaking all the wrong records.”
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said: “This news is extremely concerning, black alerts are always serious but this has happened on a weekday night, typically a time of lower demand.
“Our NHS staff are working their absolute hardest to provide the care people deserve, but the Welsh Labour Government has so far failed to get to grips with this crisis.
“We know COVID has added sustained pressure to the healthcare system in recent years, not least with large backlogs but A&E services have been struggling for the best part of a decade.
“Labour must make reforming and fixing A&E services their absolute priority and of course, improve health care services at a local level which would go a long way in preventing these sort of crisis points we see in A&E departments.”
The health board’s statement confirming the alert read: “The health board is under sustained and unprecedented pressure. Despite actions to try to stabilise our services today we have had to declare a state of ‘business continuity’.
“Our emergency department at the Grange University Hospital is extremely busy, and we have seen a record number of attendances, and waits to see a doctor, in some cases, are greater than 14 hours where the patient’s condition isn’t life threatening. We have very few beds available across our hospitals to accommodate patients requiring admission.
“We need to ask for your support and to only attend the Grange University Hospital if it is life threatening or you have a serious injury.”
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.