Hywel Dda University Health Board is reaching out to all patients whose operations have been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic as we seek to restart as much planned surgery as possible.
The health board has initially written to all patients who have been on a waiting list for up to 52 weeks to establish whether they still need an operation. Over the coming weeks we will be contacting people on other waiting lists as we map out a process for restarting elective care in our hospitals.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic the health board has had to cancel the vast amount of surgery we provide so that our staff and resources could be redeployed in our acute hospitals. Sadly, this has had a significant impact on patients who have been waiting to have a routine operation – for which we wish to express our deepest apologies.
While we cannot yet give a conclusive answer as to when routine surgery will be restarted, our aim is to bring back as much as we can within the constraints of the ongoing pandemic, recognising that further waves of the Covid-19 virus are still possible. The exception to this remains surgery for those who are deemed clinically urgent and patients on cancer pathways, which we have continued to carry out throughout the pandemic.
In the meantime we are offering access to a range of online resources developed by clinicians at Hywel Dda so that patients can help to manage their conditions while they wait – this can be accessed here: Preparing for Treatment - Lifestyle advice - Hywel Dda University Health Board (nhs.wales)
Mandy Rayani, Executive Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Experience, said: “In common with NHS trusts and health boards up and down the country, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant adverse impact on the way we are currently able to provide services, and we are extremely sorry to everyone who is waiting for an operation for the distress and disappointment that we know this will cause.
“Our clinical and service delivery teams are working extremely hard to increase the numbers of people that we can treat, but we are facing a significant backlog and would appeal to patients to please bear with us while we restart these services and ultimately try to return to normal levels of activity.
“What the pandemic has shown us is that we need to improve the way we keep patients informed and engaged about services in the long term, and in the future we will be looking to develop a more joined-up system for communicating and responding to questions in a timely manner, providing general information and advice and ensuring access to clinical advice and support when required.
“In the meantime we would like to encourage patients who are waiting for elective treatments to use our online resources wherever possible, as these will help to manage your condition while you wait. We would also strongly encourage patients to let us know if you no longer need to be on a waiting list, and in particular, we would urge anyone who is given an appointment to keep it and not wait to be vaccinated against Covid-19 before attending.”