HEALTH chiefs have issued a plea to the public after 18 ambulances were seen queueing outside of the Maelor Hospital last week. 

On Friday afternoon, there were close to 20 Welsh Ambulance Service (WAST) vehicles queued up outside of the Emergency Department at the hospital in Wrexham. 

The delays come following periods of "significant and sustained pressure", with Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board and WAST issuing a plea to the public to help alleviate some of the demand. 

Adele Gittoes, Interim Director of Operations, 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.

“We are urging members of the public who need help to contact NHS 111 Wales in the first instance to be advised about the most appropriate service, which might be self-care at home, a visit to the pharmacy, a GP appointment, a Minor Injuries Unit, or, in life threatening circumstances, the hospital Emergency Department.

“As always, our Emergency Departments will remain open and will see patients in order of clinical priority. However, we regret that those who do attend will face extremely long waits to be seen while staff on duty do all they can to keep patients safe.”

Lee Brooks, Executive Director of Operations at the Welsh Ambulance Service, added: “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, but our ask of the public today – and in the coming days – is only to call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured, or where there is an immediate threat to someone’s life.

“That’s people who’ve stopped breathing, people with chest pain or breathing difficulties, loss of consciousness, choking, severe allergic reactions, catastrophic bleeding or someone who is having a stroke.

“For everything else, please think about the alternatives to 999, of which there are many.”