GROWING pressure on emergency departments across North Wales has led to the suspension of all non-urgent surgery.
Over the last few days there has been a sustained increase in demand for emergency health care, creating significant pressures on emergency departments at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Glan Clwyd and Wrexham Maelor Hospitals.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said many of the patients being admitted have been elderly and frail with complex multiple health problems.
As a result, patients have had to stay in hospital for longer, leading to an increased pressure on beds, and the risk of delays for other patients needing emergency care.
The health board has decided to reduce routine planned surgery at all three hospitals until Monday.
It said urgent operations, such as those for patients with cancer, will still go ahead, as will eye surgery and orthopaedic surgery at Abergele Hospital and day case procedures.
They added that the situation is being reviewed on a daily basis.
But the announcement has been described as “very worrying” by North Wales AM Aled Roberts.
He said: “This announcement has been very sudden. It is essential that if the health board is considering extending the suspension of services beyond next Monday, then patients are informed as soon as possible.
“This is yet further evidence that Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board is under an immense amount of pressure and that it is really struggling.”
Prof Matt Makin, medical director and director of clinical services at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “I want to apologise to every patient who will be inconvenienced by this decision.
“I know people have to make special arrangements so they can come into hospital for an operation and I am sorry for the difficulties and disruption this will cause.
“This is not a decision that we have taken lightly.
“However, we have to make sure we are able to provide safe services for people who need emergency care, and at the moment our hospitals are facing very severe pressures.
“We will be keeping the situation under constant review, and will make arrangements to re-book patients for their treatment as soon as possible.”