A&E warnings as Wrexham Maelor hospital 'log-jammed'

Wrexham Maelor Hospital Wrexham Maelor hospital has seen "very high levels of admissions since Friday"

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Wrexham Maelor hospital is "log-jammed" and others in north Wales are in a similar situation, BBC Wales has found.

An email sent from the hospital to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board staff urges "any actions necessary to facilitate discharge" of patients.

The health board said it was managing the situation and no planned surgery had been cancelled.

It came as Cardiff health chiefs became the latest in Wales to warn people to only use A&E units in emergencies.

There is similar advice for A&E at Moriston Hospital in Swansea and the Princess of Wales hospital, Bridgend.

Last week Hywel Dda board said Withybush Hospital in Haverfordwest was under "extreme pressure".

'Inappropriate patients'

On Tuesday, an "urgent situation report" from Wrexham Maelor hospital was sent to staff.

It said: "Having weathered the Christmas and New Year Holidays reasonably well the hospital has seen very high levels of admissions since Friday last week across all specialties.

"The position this morning is that the hospital is log jammed with patients, which has led to high levels of inappropriate patients in ED and long delays for ambulance vehicles.

Start Quote

In some cases people with minor injuries arising from trips and falls a few days ago are waiting until now to come to our major emergency departments for treatment”

End Quote Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board

"I understand that this position is similar across north Wales and the across our Welsh borders."

In response, Betsi Cadwaladr said there had been a "peak in demand" for emergency admissions to the three main hospitals in Wrexham, Bangor and Bodelwyddan, which led at times to "delays in patients being admitted to beds from the emergency department".

It added: "As part of our usual procedures to manage periods of high demand, the health board has asked its clinical teams to make sure that discharge processes are operating efficiently so that patients who are fit to leave hospital can do so without delay, and beds can be released to accept new admissions.

"We have also kept GPs informed of the situation."

Across Wales, the public has been asked to follow 'Choose Well' advice before deciding whether A&E is appropriate.

A Cardiff and Vale spokesman said the number of people attending the city's A&E department was currently manageable but people should contact NHS Direct if they were unsure whether they should attend.

A spokesperson said: "Staff are managing demand but we would remind patients to 'choose well' and think very carefully before going to A&E."

In an updated statement, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board - which covers Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend - said 18 routine, non-cancer and non-urgent operations at Morriston and Singleton hospitals had been postponed.

A&E at University Hospital of Wales Cardiff and Vale health board said staff were managing the demand

A spokesperson said: "This is because the beds were needed for very sick emergency patients, most of them over the age of 75.

"In order to manage this surge in emergency demand, patients who are not emergency cases, or who do not have serious injuries, should avoid Morriston and the Princess of Wales emergency departments.

"In some cases people with minor injuries arising from trips and falls a few days ago are waiting until now to come to our major emergency departments for treatment.

"These are not serious injuries and their GP or the minor injury unit in Neath Port Talbot Hospital is the best place for them to be seen.

"By turning up at A&E they are not only facing delays before they can be treated, but they are tying up clinicians who need to concentrate on very sick patients.

'Reduce the pressures'

A spokesperson for Hywel Dda University Health Board said: "We continue to remind the public that they can do their part to help reduce the pressures on emergency departments by 'Choosing Well' to ensure emergency services are available to those who most need them."

'Speedy treatment'

Cwm Taf University Health Board - which covers Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil - said it had postponed a number of operations this week.

Assistant director of operations Kath McGrath said: "We have not seen a considerable surge in attendances at our A&E departments, however hospital sites are busy.

"This is the result of the recent bank holidays combined with the seriousness of patients' illnesses on admission.

"We encourage all patients with minor injuries to seek speedy treatment at our minor injury units at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon and Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda."

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board - which covers the former Gwent area - has been asked to comment.

Powys Teaching Health Board does not have any A&E departments.

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