Rising Covid-19 cases in Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion are impacting hospital services, with ambulances waiting outside A&E and not enough beds for patients.
The increase in cases has led Hywel Dda University Health Council chief Maria Battle to urgently appeal to the public to do what they can to help reduce the spread of the virus.
Ms Battle said: “We have had the busiest tourist season on record in West Wales. In many ways we have welcomed it and in other ways it has brought its own challenges and growing demand for our communities and public services.
“Compared to the last 18 months, we can be lulled into thinking that we are back to normal. But while hopefully the worst impact of Covid-19 is over, we’re not out of the woods yet.
Ms Battle said the board of health found “a higher level of sickness absence than usual”, which has reduced the number of people who can be treated compared to before Covid.
“We are doing everything possible to support all of our staff and recruit from vacant positions,” she added.
As a result of the pandemic, 30,000 patients are awaiting planned surgery.
To help speed up the surgery, the board of health said it plans to build additional temporary theaters at Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli, while also working with the Swansea Bay board of health and staff from the Amman Valley hospital, Glanaman, to increase cataract operations.
Ms Battle addressed the shortage of staff in social care services in local authorities in West Wales.
“This can lead to delays in discharging patients and the associated risks of staying too long in the hospital,” she said.
“We are seeing ambulances waiting outside A&E as there are not enough beds available for patients who need to be admitted and we don’t want people in our communities in emergency situations to wait too long for an emergency. ambulance.
“We are working closely with our partners in local authorities to do all we can together to increase the availability of social care. This includes support for the training of our partner social and home care teams.
“Your emergency and emergency care services have remained open throughout the pandemic and are always there for you when you need them. However, we are not out of this pandemic. One of the consequences of this is that we need to reinstate temporary measures, including the postponement of some short-term surgeries, to ensure that we can treat patients safely.
“Right now, in health and social services, we have almost the perfect storm. But we have been through many storms together during the life of this pandemic and with your support we will be through this one again. ”
The board of health outlined ways that could help reduce pressure from the NHS:
• For urgent and emergency care only, call 999
• If you have a non-urgent need, please research alternatives to A&E such as visiting Symptom Checker 111 https://111.wales.nhs.uk/ Visit your local community pharmacy or call your doctor’s office
• Be Community Spirit – If you have a relative waiting to be discharged from the hospital, please support them on their journey home and help settle them once they arrive.
• Protect the NHS – and protect Wales by following the latest government guidelines
• Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19, including cold and flu symptoms, should self-isolate and book a test
• Get vaccinated
• Protect yourself by minimizing your social contacts