Health Minister accepts Welsh NHS faces a “tough” winter

(Title Image: Wales Online)

Health Minister, Vaughan Gething (Lab, Cardiff S. & Penarth), has acknowledged that the Welsh NHS has faced unprecedented pressure this winter, despite annual promises that the NHS was more prepared than ever before.

Routine operations were cancelled for several days in a row in the Hywel Dda health board, which covers the former county of Dyfed, while the number of life-threatening (“Red”) 999 calls sharply increased during 2019, prompting delays in handover of patients at hospitals.

An increase in cases of flu and an outbreak of norovirus on several hospital wards was also said to be a major contributory factor.

The Minister blamed delayed transfers of care (aka. bed blocking) and lack of public knowledge on when and when not to visit hospitals. He told BBC Wales: “It’s partly about how we use resources across our system, it’s partly helping the public to choose but also how we point them in the right direction.”