A WEST Wales hospital ward has been closed to new admissions following a Covid-19 outbreak and elective surgeries have been suspended at two sites.

Hywel Dda Health Board has released a statement this evening saying that it has temporarily closed admissions and visiting to one ward at Glangwili Hospital to manage a Covid-19 outbreak, with additional precautions also being taken at a further two wards.

Visiting to all wards at the Carmarthen hospital remains restricted and by appointment only.

Hywel Dda has also announced that is has taken the ‘difficult decision’ to temporarily suspend elective orthopaedic surgery at Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli and Withybush Hospital in Haverfordwest, so they can provide more bed capacity in non-Covid-19 areas and reduce pressures on the unscheduled care system.

However, significant theatre work, treatment and investigations still continue across all sites, including Bronglais.

Hywel Dda says it has seen an increase in Covid-19 patients being admitted to hospitals.

In response to this situation, it has re-introduced some temporary measures, with the aim of continuing to provide as much planned surgery as possible, while also ensuring that we have the necessary ability to safely care for patients in emergency situations. This is in the midst of what remains an extremely challenging, ongoing pandemic.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “On behalf of the Board, I would firstly like to reassure our communities that what we are doing is all about prioritising patient safety at this time.

“I want to be clear that our urgent and emergency care services remain open for people who need to use them, and the measures we are putting in place will help to ensure that we can see these patients.

“Our skilled and compassionate staff are using their skills to prioritise and care for patients in the best way possible, and we are so grateful to them.

“However, we are still very much in this pandemic, which continues to disrupt our everyday lives, and unfortunately one of the consequences of this is that we are having to bring back temporary measures, including postponing some surgery in the short term, to ensure we can safely care for patients.

“The rise in cases in Hywel Dda shows that, whilst hospital admissions are not as high as in previous waves, Covid-19 remains a serious risk to our health and our health service.

“I’m appealing to everyone to continue doing their bit by sticking with the ‘keep safe’ behaviours that have been shown to reduce spread of the virus. Without your help, we will see more cases which puts individuals at risk and can disrupt delivery of public services here in west Wales.”