Health Chiefs Apologise for Prolonged A&E Waits, Highlight Two Key Factors

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Health officials have issued an apology for the persistent long waits at emergency departments in North Wales, attributing the delays to two primary causes. This follows reports indicating that patients at hospitals in Bodelwyddan and Bangor experienced average A&E waits of nearly eight hours and over ten hours, respectively, during the previous weekend.

A local Member of the Senedd (MS) criticised the Welsh Government, accusing it of underfunding and mismanaging the health board overseeing the region, which remains under special measures. The MS highlighted frequent complaints from constituents enduring extended waits in emergency departments, with some individuals suffering from pressure sores due to the prolonged durations spent waiting.

The MS described situations where patients have waited up to 24 hours before being triaged, often remaining in chairs throughout this period. She pointed out the discomfort and health risks associated with such conditions, mentioning a specific case where a patient left waiting for nearly two days developed pressure sores.

The MS called for immediate action from the health minister, urging for sufficient resources to be allocated to A&E departments in the region. She expressed concerns that long waits could discourage people from seeking necessary medical attention, potentially leading to deteriorations in their conditions.

She also emphasised her concern for the overworked and stressed staff members, particularly frontline nurses, who face significant pressure while managing frustrated and suffering patients. The MS praised the dedication of these healthcare workers and called for immediate improvements in their working conditions, arguing that they are owed better support by both the health board and the Welsh Government.

In response, a senior medical director at the health board offered an apology to the affected patients. He assured the public that patients are treated based on clinical need rather than wait time, meaning the most serious cases are prioritised. He explained that the delays are primarily due to two factors: an increase in patients with serious conditions since the COVID-19 pandemic and challenges in safely discharging medically fit patients.

The medical director noted that the health board has been seeing a higher number of patients with serious conditions, despite primary care handling more cases. This increase in acuity has added pressure on emergency departments.

He also highlighted the ongoing difficulty in discharging patients who are medically ready to leave the hospital. This bottleneck often results in a lack of available beds, preventing the transfer of patients from the emergency department to other parts of the hospital, thereby contributing to overcrowding and extended wait times.

The medical director identified a lack of resources and capacity within the social care sector as a significant factor exacerbating the discharge delays. He mentioned that the health board is working with local authorities, the ambulance service, and other partners to address these capacity issues and reduce waiting times, aiming to free up ambulances to serve the community more effectively.

A Welsh Government spokesman acknowledged the high demand on emergency departments across Wales. He noted that the government is investing an additional £2.7 million this year to support the health board’s urgent and emergency care improvement plan. This plan focuses on caring for more people in the community and reducing long stays in emergency departments by facilitating the safe discharge of patients.

Additionally, the Welsh Government has allocated an extra £32.7 million this year for the Regional Partnership Board to support these objectives. The spokesman reiterated the government’s commitment to supporting the health board and its dedicated NHS staff in improving care and services for the people of North Wales.

As North Wales grapples with these prolonged A&E waits, the focus remains on addressing the underlying issues of increased patient acuity and discharge delays. The commitment to improving conditions for both patients and staff will be crucial in ensuring the efficacy and responsiveness of emergency care services in the region. Future developments will likely hinge on the successful implementation of the proposed improvements and the continued collaboration between healthcare providers and the Welsh Government.

Danielle Trigg
Danielle Trigg
Journalist Danielle is a skilled journalist specializing in regional coverage across the United Kingdom. With her wealth of experience and in-depth knowledge, Danielle dives into the stories that matter to local communities. Her meticulous research and engaging writing style captivate readers, providing them with a comprehensive understanding of the dynamic business landscape. Danielle's commitment to delivering accurate and thought-provoking news sets her apart, making her an invaluable asset to the News Write Ups team.

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