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Looking after our NHS over the festive period

18 December 2023

With the festive season upon us, Hywel Dda University Health Board is urging people to help protect precious NHS resources and to not attend our busy A&E departments unless they have a critical, life-threatening emergency.

To ensure that we can treat patients appropriately, and to avoid ambulances queuing up outside our A&Es or being diverted to other hospitals, the health board is asking people to choose their healthcare services very carefully, so that we are only seeing people with urgent or emergency care needs in A&E. 

If you have urgent care needs that cannot wait but are not 999 emergencies, please dial 111 for NHS Direct Wales for health advice and support. The number is free to call and this service is available even when your GP surgery is open. 111 is also the number you need to access out-of-hours GP services across our area.

You can find out more about alternative services here Urgent and out of hours - Hywel Dda University Health Board (

Together with our partners in local authorities, the third sector and Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust, our focus is on managing the capacity we have in our acute hospitals and busy emergency departments, while also reducing the amount of time patients need to spend in a hospital bed, by providing as much non-emergency and follow up care outside of the hospital environment as we can.

If you have a friend, family member or loved one who is medically well enough to be discharged from hospital, please help us by coming to pick them up promptly. This will allow us to free up beds faster for acutely unwell patients and keep the patient flow steady through our hospitals.

To find out more about the inpatient experience click here Inpatient information - Hywel Dda University Health Board (

Andrew Carruthers, Executive Director of Operations at Hywel Dda, said: “I would like firstly to say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to you, our clinical workforce for your relentless effort and determination to provide the best quality of care possible to our patients and communities often in the most difficult of circumstances. 

“You are the very embodiment of all that’s good about the NHS and what the health service stands for, and you should all be very proud.

“The challenges of accessing care and treatment, particularly in the post-Covid era, are well-documented nationally and sadly Hywel Dda is not immune to these.  The way that we try to manage the challenges we face is by adopting an approach, which brings together our acute hospitals, primary care and community services, ambulance service, local authorities and the third sector. We need everyone to play their part and help – and our public and patients are absolutely key to this.”

If you are unwell and unsure what to do, you can visit the online symptom checker to cross-check your symptoms against a number of common ailments and if directed call NHS 111 Wales.

If you need to talk to someone urgently about your mental health, or you’re concerned about a family member, call NHS 111 Wales and select option 2 to be placed in direct contact with a mental health professional in your area. The number is free to call from a landline or mobile, even if you have no credit left.

Only attend an Emergency Department if you have a life-threatening illness or serious injury, such as: 

  • Severe breathing difficulties 
  • Severe pain or bleeding 
  • Chest pain or a suspected stroke 
  • Serious trauma injuries (eg. from a car crash) 

If you have a less serious injury, then please visit one of our Minor Injury Units. They can treat adults and children over 12-months of age, with injuries such as:

  • Minor wounds 
  • Minor burns or scalds 
  • Insect bites 
  • Minor limb, head, or face injuries 
  • Foreign bodies in the nose or ear 

We have minor injury or walk-in services at Cardigan Integrated Care Centre (Monday - Friday 8.00am - 6.30pm. Bank Holidays, 9.00am - 4:30pm) and Tenby Hospital (Monday - Friday 10.00am - 5.00pm including Bank Holidays) as well as at our main acute hospitals. For opening hours, please check our websiteHome - Hywel Dda University Health Board (

Many community pharmacies can also provide walk-in, common ailment or triage and treat services without an appointment. You can find out more here: 

Your support not only helps your loved one, but it is a huge support to the NHS and social care services as well.

Please help us to make our service safer by sharing this information with friends and family.

Thank you for your continued support as always.