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Winter Pressures Across our Services

Friday 30th December 2022

You will no doubt have seen the extreme pressures on the NHS across Wales and the UK at the moment. Our sites and services are no different, and with large numbers of patients presenting with respiratory viruses- particularly flu and Covid-19- we’re experiencing unprecedented demand and long waits for our services. The significant increase in respiratory viruses across our communities is also causing high levels of staff sickness, which is placing further pressure on our services and our staff.

We ask for your support in using our services appropriately to help us treat the very sickest patients as quickly as possible. If you’re unsure where to go, please check your symptoms with the online symptom checker or call 111 (10am to 2pm are the busiest times). Our Minor Injury Units at the Royal Gwent, Nevill Hall Hospital and Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr are open throughout the bank holidays and are there to treat a variety of minor injuries, including minor burns, sprains and bites.

Please only attend the Emergency Department at the Grange University Hospital if absolutely necessary and there is likely to be a long wait if you do attend as we always prioritise patients based on clinical need. Due to the extreme challenges, we are currently facing, it’s possible that you or a relative may receive treatment in an area that we wouldn’t normally utilise and also when admitted. We sincerely apologise for this but we are facing unprecedented circumstances. The seated capacity in the waiting room of our ED at the Grange is often not able to accommodate the numbers of patients presenting, which we understand is an ongoing issue and we are progressing plans to expand it. We apologise for the discomfort and stress this causes patients and if the waiting room is full we may require relatives to wait elsewhere if is no social/carer reason for relatives to accompany patients. This will allow patients space to sit in the waiting area and for staff to observe them in case they deteriorate. If a patient needs somebody to accompany them, this should be restricted to just one person.

If there is no medical reason for you or your relative to remain in hospital we may suggest that it would be more appropriate for you to be discharged or for your family to support the discharge as long as it is safe to do so. This may mean providing care for your family member for a short period of time whilst domiciliary care is arranged.

We wholeheartedly apologise for these circumstances- this is not the standard of service we aim to provide, but our staff are doing their very best, so please be kind to the people who are working tirelessly to cope with the demand and spend their days caring for others.

Please also check in on your vulnerable relatives, neighbours and friends to ensure they have enough food and medication, and that they are warm and comfortable. Looking out for them and checking they are well could help them avoid a hospital admission over winter.

Thank you for your understanding.