Wales

NHS winter pressures: Doctor says staff in 'very deep hole'

A&E sign
Image caption A leaked email seen by BBC Newsnight said conditions were the worst Dr Mark Payne had seen in 13 years

A doctor said pressures at a Bangor hospital in January left staff in a "very deep hole".

Dr Mark Payne, clinical director of Betsi Cadwaladr health board, told staff in an email that 20 January was the "worst start to a day" he had seen in 13 years working at Ysbyty Gwynedd.

Dr Payne added in the email, leaked to the BBC, there was no capacity in either A&E or the acute medical unit.

The health board said the UK had seen an "unprecedented increased demand".

The A&E department at Ysbyty Gwynedd was upgraded in 2019.

Writing to his colleagues, Dr Payne said: "Today, of all days, consultant presence is needed on every ward to ensure anyone who can go home today, goes today and goes early.

"That means anyone who does not have a medical need to be here over the weekend. We will have to be risky but the consequences of not doing this are certain to be worse."

Dr Payne added: "We only dig ourselves out of this very deep hole if we avoid admitting anyone who does not need urgent inpatient care and discharge everyone who no longer needs inpatient care."

Image caption The A&E department at Ysbyty Gwynedd was upgraded in 2019

Betsi Cadwaladr apologised to patients and said: "During December we saw more seriously ill or injured people in our Emergency Departments than ever before.

"Emergency Departments across the UK experienced unprecedented increased demand and an increase in the number of patients categorised as majors.

"Emergency Departments across North Wales treated more than 10,000 people in this category for the first time ever."

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