HEALTHCARE services in North Wales are letting residents down - and things are just getting worse.

That's the view of Buckley County Councillor Carol Ellis, who wrote to North Wales MS Mark Isherwood for help after hearing so many "horror stories" from residents and people she knows.

In the correspondence, seen by the Leader, she writes first of her "despair" at A&E waiting times, explaining: "A few weeks ago a family member had to cope with the Hell that is Glan Clwyd A&E on what was a freezing night.

"The 12 hour wait, and longer for some, was made worse by a jammed open front door.  

"As a Councillor I know a lot of residents and I am now getting almost daily stories of what people have to cope with when ill;  long waits for ambulance response, waits in ambulances on Wrexham Maelor carpark, sitting in chairs for days, beds in corridors, indignity, starvation and dehydration.

"Today I have been told about a resident who waited 12 hours for an ambulance and over 24 hours on the Maelor carpark going in and out of the hospital for tests.

"How many 999 calls were left unresponsive whilst this Ambulance stood being used as accommodation I hate to think.

"I recall many years ago saying the closure of community hospitals would result in carnage.

"This happened and it gets worse every year."

Speaking to the Leader on the issue, Cllr Ellis added: "I feel very angry, disappointed and frustrated at this situation.

"There is a real need for a new hospital for Flintshire residents, because Wrexham and Glan Clwyd are overwhelmed.

"The health board talks about this being winter pressures - but in my opinion, it's like this all the time now and it's getting worse.

"I have spoken to people who are petrified of getting ill because they are afraid they won't get seen.

"And I know one person who has actually taken out private health insurance because they are so concerned about that.

"I hear these horror stories all the time - residents are just being let down."

Cllr Ellis said while she welcomes any investment in the health service, "the Welsh Government throwing money at the existing model isn't the answer - there needs to be a plan behind it."

Lee Brooks, the Trust’s Executive Director of Operations at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “Like our partners across health and social care, our ambulance service is also extremely busy.

“Pent up demand from the Christmas and New Year period, coupled with the seasonal illnesses we see at this time of year, means there are lots of people across Wales trying to access health services currently. 

“When hospitals are at full capacity, it means ambulances can’t admit their patients, and while they’re tied up at Emergency Departments, other patients in the community are waiting a long time for our help, especially if their condition isn’t life-threatening.

“We’re working really hard as a system to deliver the best possible care to patients."

Adele Gittoes, Interim Executive Director of Operations at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “The health and social care system across Wales is experiencing significant and sustained pressure. 

"This is having an impact on patient flow within our hospitals and waiting times in our Emergency Departments. 

"We are continuing to work closely with colleagues across the health and social care system, Welsh Government and the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust to identify ways to alleviate these pressures and improve the experience of our patients.

“It has been particularly challenging for urgent and emergency care across North Wales in recent days, with many patients presenting at our Emergency Departments requiring more complex care and treatment. 

"We apologise to those patients who have experienced longer than usual waiting times, despite the best efforts of our hard working staff.

"Anyone who receives care below the standard they would expect can contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). The PALS team can be contacted on: 03000 851234 or email at:

“We would urge the public to only attend the Emergency Department for emergency conditions and injuries.

"Patients who do not need full emergency treatment may find they can get appropriate advice and care from other NHS services, including GP surgeries, minor injury units and local pharmacies. Please contact NHS 111 online or visit the Health Board website if you are unsure where to go.

“Of course, if you or a loved one has a serious or life-threatening condition or injury you must call 999 immediately.

“Finally, I would like to thank our selfless staff who work incredibly hard to keep the public safe while under extreme pressure. They have continued to do so through the Christmas and New Year holidays and beyond.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We have a clear plan in place under special measures to support improvements at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board through focused interventions around quality, safety, and performance.


“While there have been signs of improvement since the health board was placed into special measures, we and the health board recognise significant challenges remain. We will continue to support the health board to ensure people in North Wales can see the necessary improvements in local health services.

“The health [board] has completed the expansion of Wrexham Maelor Hospital’s Emergency Department, which has created more consulting and treatment rooms for patients who need urgent care. It has also recently extended the opening hours of the Minor Injuries Unit in Mold Community Hospital. 

"The Minor Injuries Unit in Holywell Community Hospital is open seven days a week.

“Despite facing the toughest financial situation since devolution, as a result of 13 years of this UK Government, we will continue to support the NHS by providing much-needed funding to help it respond to pressures.

“We are investing in emergency care and extra community beds and continuing to integrate health and social care services to help improve patient flow through hospitals and tackle ambulance handover delays. This includes an additional £6m for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board for its local urgent and emergency care improvement programme.”