Published by BBC NEWS - 30th March 2022

Eluned Morgan

Image source, Getty Images

The NHS in Wales is under “extraordinary pressure”, Health Minister Eluned Morgan has warned.

Rising Covid cases have led to limited bed capacity, staff sickness and difficulties discharging patients.

In an attempt to relieve pressures, all “non-essential activities” in the Aneurin Bevan health board area have been cancelled.

It comes as the health board has issued a “black alert”, urging people to only visit hospital if absolutely necessary.

Ms Morgan added that measures have been taken across all health board areas to relieve pressure.

There was a rolling average of 939 hospital patients with confirmed Covid on 29 March, a rise of 17% on a week ago.

However, a considerable number of these patients – 84.5% – are being treated primarily for other conditions and happen to have tested positive when admitted.

Hospitalisations graph

Ms Morgan said: “The health and social care system in Wales is currently under extraordinary pressure and we would strongly urge anyone seeking care to make sure they access the right care in the right place.

“Those who have a less urgent need or could access the treatment they need at an alternative setting can help reduce pressure by choosing the right service for their needs.”

The health minister urged only those with “life-threatening illness or serious injury” to go to A&E.

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Hywel Dda University Health Board has asked patients to help by “using the right level of service to meet your need”.

“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,” said director of operations Andrew Carruthers.

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said both University Hospital of Wales and University Hospital Llandough were operating at a level of “extreme pressure”.

It said: “Our emergency unit at University Hospital of Wales is extremely busy and we would urge you to only attend the department where absolutely necessary.”

The Welsh government said it had invested an extra £42m for social care and an additional £25m in urgent and emergency care, on top of £248m already announced for the NHS Covid recovery fund.

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