Bed shortages: Hywel Dda Health Board crippled by demand

Hywel Dda University Health Board is experiencing an unprecedented demand for health and social care services – leading to significant delays in care provision.

Difficulties in discharging people who no longer need medical care from hospital – many of whom have complex personal circumstances and needs – is leading to significant bed shortages.

The Health Board is also reporting lengthy ambulance waits at A&E departments, which mean that paramedics are unable to respond to other 999 calls in the community.

A spokesperson for the Health Board said: “Social care and health teams are doing everything possible to support people who are well enough to leave hospital, but need ongoing care.

“Priority is being given to the most vulnerable, and alternative health and care packages are being offered as a short-term measure.

“More carers and health staff are also being recruited to support people in need.

“If you have a relative or loved one in hospital who is well enough to go home, but is waiting to be discharged with homecare and / or community health support, please consider if you may be able to help them to get home more quickly – you and your family may be in a position to support them at home.

“If your relative is waiting for a formal package of care, you may be able to offer support and care on a short term, temporary arrangement or you might want to consider whether your loved one could be supported in a temporary residential or nursing care setting .

“If you feel that this is an option that you could consider, please speak to the ward manager or your social worker to explore further.

“Spending as little time in hospital is better for patients and means that NHS beds can be freed up for others with urgent care needs.

“Supporting older patients to get home from hospital efficiently is an important part of their recovery and it also protects them from negative consequences of hospital admission, such as hospital acquired infection, falls and a loss of independence.”

To help alleviate pressures at our hospital sites, the Health Board has opened a number of Same Day Emergency Care (SDEC) units, which patients may be referred into.

Hywel Dda University Health Board’s Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Experience, Mandy Rayani, said: “We are dealing with a combination of high numbers of attendances, particularly in our Emergency Departments, and challenges in health professional staffing.

“Our GP practices and hospitals are busy and while many of the COVID regulations have been removed, we still need to follow specific requirements for the safe treatment of those patients with COVID-19 and those without.

“We are working with our local authorities as there are difficulties in discharging some patients due to similar staffing challenges the social care sector is facing. This means we have very limited beds available to accommodate patients who need admission.

“Our teams are helping patients by their clinical priority, but this does mean that in some cases, waits in our Emergency Departments are hours long and far in excess of what we would strive to deliver.

“If you need medical help, please think carefully about the services you choose.”

If you are unwell and unsure what to do, you can visit the online symptom checker to cross-check your symptoms against a number of common ailments and if directed call NHS 111.

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