There is currently an unprecedented demand on health and social care services across North Wales, which is leading to significant delays in care provision and pressure on our emergency services.
Our social care and health teams are doing everything possible and using a number of services to support people who are well enough to leave hospital but need ongoing care. We recognise there is a national shortage of care workers but it’s particularly challenging in North Wales and despite doing everything we can to recruit, we need more people in these positions and quickly. We would urge anyone who has an interest to work for the care sector to contact their Local Authority or visit https://wecare.wales/ to explore the opportunities available.
Our priority is always to ensure that every patient is discharged from hospital at the right time, because of the current challenges this is increasingly difficult which results in patients experiencing protracted delays in hospital beds. If you have a relative or loved one in hospital who is assessed as being well enough to go home, but is waiting to be discharged with homecare and community health support, you may be able to help them to get home more quickly if you and your family are in a position to support them at home. If your relative is waiting for a formal package of care, you may be able to offer support and care in the short term. If you feel that this is an option that you could consider,to facilitate hospital discharge please speak to the ward manager or your social worker to explore further.
The difficulty in discharging medically-fit patients from hospital is leading to significant bed shortages across our hospitals. This is having an impact on planned surgery being able to go ahead and also lengthy ambulance waits outside our Emergency Departments, which means that paramedics are unable to respond to other emergency calls in our communities.
Spending as little time in hospital is better for patients and means that NHS beds can be freed up for others with urgent care needs. Supporting older patients to get home from hospital efficiently is an important part of their recovery and it also protects them from negative consequences of hospital admission, such as hospital acquired infection, falls and a loss of independence.
COVID-19 has also not gone away and is continuing to put extra pressure on the health system. We currently have over 100 patients with COVID-19 infection in our hospitals, with a small number of those receiving treatment in our Intensive Care Units. This is a timely reminder that we need to continue to follow the rules in place to protect ourselves and our loved ones and help to minimise the risk of spreading the infection in our communities.
Winter is always a challenging period and the demands on our health and social care system have never been greater than this pandemic period. We will continue to deliver essential services and are doing everything we can to ensure planned care continues through this busy period. Everyone can play their part too by getting their COVID and flu jabs and thinking about the different options for getting the care they need.
For more information on the flu and COVID vaccinations visit General Vaccination FAQs - Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (nhs.wales)