Posted: Fri 10th Sep 2021

Plea for public to help ease pressure on Welsh NHS as First Minister warns of ‘serious’ Covid position

North Wales news and information

People in Wales are being urged to help ease the pressure faced by the NHS after the country’s First Minister warned it was facing a “serious” position in relation to Covid-19.

Mark Drakeford used a public briefing held this afternoon to explain that cases of the virus had risen to around 520 cases per 100,000 people – which is close to the numbers witnessed when the second wave of the pandemic peaked in January.

The Welsh Labour leader said it had led to growing pressure on frontline health services.

He called on people to play their part by accessing the right part of the health system for their needs.

He said: “The position in Wales today is a serious one. We now have very high rates of coronavirus in all our communities – rates which the modelling which we’ve seen this week says are likely to get worse over the coming weeks.

“If the virus continues to spread at its current rate, we have to expect to see around 3,200 new cases of confirmed coronavirus every day as this wave continues towards its peak.

“Until now, this rise has been manageable because our fantastic vaccination programme has helped to weaken the link between infection and serious illness.

“But with a rapid spread of coronavirus in our communities pandemic pressure on the NHS is increasing once again.”

There are currently approximately 40 new Covid related hospital admissions in Wales every day.

The latest North Wales admissions data for coronavirus

The latest North Wales admissions data for coronavirus

There are just over 420 confirmed cases in hospitals – the a highest number seen in Wales since March.

Mr Drakeford said if the numbers followed their current trajectory, it would see more people requiring hospital treatment, including intensive care beds.

He said patients would be entering a system which is already struggling due to the normal winter pressures.

He said: “Our health and care staff are exhausted from having worked so hard, and so intensively over the last 18 months.

“The question I want to ask this afternoon is what can we all do to help in this ongoing emergency?

“I want to ask for everybody’s help in managing the demands on our national health service.

“Our NHS is there to help everyone whenever we need it. But that doesn’t mean that everybody needs to go to an accident or emergency department.

“Please think about the care which your condition requires and ask whether there are other ways by going to your local pharmacist or contacting your local GP, rather than making going to hospital the first thing that we do.”

During the briefing, Mr Drakeford repeatedly rebuffed the suggestion that further lockdown measures were “inevitable”.

He said: “There is nothing inevitable about that. Some of the actions that we have just discussed that we can all take can help to make it not inevitable that we have to return to the sorts of restrictions we saw earlier in the year.”

Responding to the latest Welsh Government press conference, Darren Hughes, director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, said: “We know that coronavirus is rising in our communities once more and this is having an undeniable effect on health and care services across Wales.

“As cases rise, so too do the numbers of Covid patients in hospital and for some, intensive care, adding to the already extreme pressure on the NHS and its staff.

“Taking up the offer of a vaccine remains the best form of defence and we strongly encourage all those who have not yet taken up the offer to come forward.

“However, pressures on the NHS are not just from rising Covid cases, but from simultaneously trying to deal with the backlog of patients while experiencing unprecedented levels of demand on ambulance services and emergency departments.

“These pressures are being compounded by the inability to discharge many medically fit patients into social care settings due to extreme pressures faced by the sector.

“Now that the government has more information on future funding for social care, we need a clear, sustainable, long-term plan for the sector, as well as short-term solutions to stabilise what is a very challenging and untenable situation.”

You can watch today’s media briefing in full below:

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