West Wales healthcare under ‘unprecedented’ pressure

By Dylan Davies   |   News editor   |
Wednesday 30th March 2022 4:13 pm
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Ambulances Bronglais Hospital
Ambulances outside Bronglais Hospital in Aberystwyth (Cambrian News )

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HEALTH chiefs have said that hospitals and GP surgeries across west Wales have been under an ‘unprecedented amount of pressure’ today.

In a statement released this evening, Hywel Dda University Health Board, said that an increase in demand on emergency departments and staff absence due to Covid-19 has led to hospitals across the three counties of Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, having only a ‘very limited’ number of beds available and patients waiting hours longer to be seen than the health board would strive to deliver.

Hywel Dda has issued a plea, saying ‘If you or a loved one needs emergency or urgent care, you can help by using the right level of service to meet your need.’

The health board’s Director of Operations, Andrew Carruthers, said: “We are dealing with a combination of high numbers of attendances, particularly in our emergency departments and challenges in health professional staffing due to Covid-19. 

“Our GP practices and hospitals are busy and we still need to follow specific requirements for the safe treatment of those patients with Covid-19 and those without.

“We are working with our local authorities as there are difficulties in discharging some patients due to similar staffing challenges the social care sector is facing.

“This means we have very limited beds available to accommodate patients who need admission.

“Our teams are helping patients by their clinical priority, but this does mean that in some cases, waits in our emergency departments are hours long and far in excess of what we would strive to deliver.

“If you need medical help, please think carefully about the services you choose.”

If you are unwell and unsure what to do, you can visit the online symptom checker or call NHS 111 if you are unsure what help you need. 

Only attend an Emergency Department if you have a life-threatening illness or serious injury, such as:

• Severe breathing difficulties

• Severe pain or bleeding

• Chest pain or a suspected stroke

• Serious trauma injuries (eg. from a car crash)

If you have a less serious injury then please visit one of our Minor Injury Units. They can treat adults and children over 12-months of age, with injuries such as

·        Minor wounds

·        Minor burns or scalds

·        Insect bites

·        Minor limb, head, or face injuries

·        Foreign bodies in the nose or ear

M injury or walk-in services at Llandovery Hospital, Cardigan Integrated Care Centre, and Tenby Hospital, as well as at our main acute hospitals.

Many community pharmacies can also provide walk-in, common ailment or triage and treat services without an appointment. You can find out more here: https://hduhb.nhs.wales/healthcare/services-and-teams/pharmacy/

The health board added: “If you have a relative or loved one in hospital who is 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 on a short term, temporary arrangement or you might want to consider whether your loved one could be supported in a temporary residential or nursing care setting.

“If you feel that this is an option that you could consider, please speak to the ward manager or your social worker to explore further and see what support is available to you. 

“Spending as little time in hospital is better for patients and means that NHS beds can be freed up for others with urgent care needs.

“Supporting older patients to get home from hospital efficiently is an important part of their recovery and it also protects them from negative consequences of hospital admission, such as hospital acquired infection, falls and a loss of independence.” More information on the hospital discharge process and guidance can be found here: https://hduhb.nhs.wales/patient-information/inpatient-and-outpatient/ 

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