North Wales health board declares critical incident due to ‘unprecedented demand’
A critical incident has been declared across health services in North Wales as the local health board deals with “unprecedented demand.”
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said there are huge pressures across the health system in the region, caused by flu, Covid and other respiratory viruses and is “struggling to cope.”
All but the most urgent procedures and appointments in hospitals for tomorrow, Tuesday 3rd January, have been cancelled.
Angela Wood, Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery said: “This morning we have declared an internal critical incident as we are struggling to cope with prolonged, unprecedented demand across the health and social care system.
“We are currently seeing a very high volume of patients presenting at our hospitals with flu, Covid and other respiratory viruses, as well as in increase in the most seriously injured or unwell patients requiring emergency care.
“This, together with a lack of available beds in our hospitals and significant staffing shortages, is leading to extremely long waits for patients to be seen – particularly at our hospital emergency departments. Similar pressures are being experienced in other health boards and English trusts.”
Ms Wood said: “We are continuing to work closely with local authority colleagues to support medically fit patients to be discharged from hospital and we are making use of all available staffing.
“This is an exceptionally challenging time for colleagues across our health services and we are hugely grateful for the continued efforts being made in such difficult circumstances.”
The health board is urging members of the public who need help to contact NHS Wales 111 in the first instance to be advised about the most appropriate service, which might be self-care at home, a visit to the pharmacy, a GP appointment, a minor injuries unit, or, in life threatening circumstances, the hospital emergency department.
The health board said: “As always, our emergency departments will remain open and will see patients in order of clinical priority.”
“However, we regret that those who do attend will face extremely long waits to be seen while staff on duty do all they can to keep patients safe.”
Advice for those with planned procedures or appointments tomorrow (Tuesday 3rd January)
A spokesperson added: “We have postponed all but the most urgent procedures and appointments in our hospitals for tomorrow (Tuesday 3rd January).
“We sincerely apologise to all those affected, who will be contacted directly today and rescheduled as soon as possible.
“Those who are due to receive a planned procedure or appointment from Wednesday 4th January onwards should assume that this is still going ahead, unless they are contacted directly by the health board.”
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