THE health minister has shared her hopes to have NHS pressures on ‘exhausted’ staff ease off this autumn.

Officials at Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board announced on Friday, September 10, that some planned surgeries needed to be postponed in the ‘short-term’ so they can ‘safely care for patients’.

Dr Nick Lyons, Executive Medical Director at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, previously said: “This difficult decision has been made to ensure we can safely provide extra capacity on our sites, due to the number of people being treated for COVID-19 infection at the hospitals.

“Postponing elective operations is not a decision that we have taken lightly - and we would like to apologise for any distress and disappointment that this will cause.

“The rise in the number of COVID-19 cases across North Wales shows the virus still remains a significant risk to our health service.”


In the wake of the announcement, Leader readers have reached out to share their worries that will be create a domino effect for the future.

Speaking at today’s Welsh Government press briefing, Baroness Eluned Morgan MS said she is all too aware of high levels of pressures that health boards are under - including here in North Wales.

She explained to reporters how she had recently visited some of our acute hospitals and heard concerns directly from the mouths of staff members at Ysbyty Gwynedd and Glan Clwyd Hospital on September 9.

She said: “I was able to speak to some of the staff who have been doing heroic work during the pandemic. They were really at pains to describe to me the pressures that they are under, the fact that they really are getting to the point now where they are exhausted.

“I think we all need to take note of that which is why we would urge people not to go to accident and emergency, and not to go to their GP unless it is essential.

“Of course, if we are in a situation where there are extreme accidents, and we really need people to have that emergency provision, then of course that needs to be prioritised. This is why that planned care has been pushed back.”

The minister adds that Welsh Government is ‘very anxious’ to see the backlog of care that has built up during the pandemic is tackled.

She said: “I am hoping that the pressure will start to ease off in mid-October and we’ll be in a different situation by then.”

Regarding the recent concerns raised about GP access locally, she praised the 'heroic' work of GPs adding it is unlikely that they will return to a system seen pre-pandemic.

This means a blended approach to in-person appointments as well as e-consultations where appropriate.

She urged people to also think before they go straight to a GP office if this is the right service for them.

Watch the full press conference conference below: