Hywel Dda University Health Board is encouraging the public to think about the services they access at this time amidst growing and significant system-wide pressure on services, which is resulting in increased waiting times for some patients.
Many people can be seen more quickly with some injuries and common ailments through using alternative services, such as visiting minor injury units where available, using the NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker, or visiting primary care services, such as your local community pharmacy or optometrist, or where appropriate, your GP practice. Community pharmacies provide a range of enhanced services and walk in clinics. Call 111 for full details and locations of your nearest service.
COVID-19 remains a concern for the health board, and the number of cases in the community are rising, which is resulting in increasing numbers of people having to self-isolate. This includes health and care workers, which is further adding to the strain on service provision.
The success of the vaccination programme shows that cases are currently not translating into widespread hospitalisation. However, pressures on the system are being seen from other sources, including services being impacted by pressures on Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust.
This is resulting in delays in transfers of patients to hospitals, as well as delays within hospitals due to the increasing challenges of discharging patients because of the limited capacity in other areas of the health and social care network.
Andrew Carruthers, Director of Operations at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We are continuing to experience some very difficult periods in trying to deliver the highest standards of health and care.
"Our staff and partners across primary care, emergency services and third sector, are all working hard to meet the rising demands. I want to pay tribute to their commitment and professionalism for working under such extreme pressure as they continue to deliver care and services according to clinical priority.
“Additionally, our current staffing position is constrained across the whole of our Health and Social care system as staff respond to the increase in demand on our services. However, it is important to note that this is due to several reasons, including annual leave and recruitment vacancies, rather than increasing levels of COVID-19 self-isolation.
“We are working hard to provide care and treatment for as many of our patients as possible, but some people will undoubtedly experience longer waiting times than usual, or face their planned care being re-scheduled – for this we are truly sorry and appreciate the anxiety and frustration that this can cause.
“We are constantly reviewing our current service provision, as well as capacity levels for non-urgent elective inpatient surgery, to ensure sufficient resources are prioritised to support emergency demand. However, this is not something we can do alone, and we urgently need the public to help us by using alternative services appropriate to their need where they can.”