NURSES were warned to stay away from the head of the NHS in Wales when he paid a visit to Morriston Hospital so they did not raise any negative issues, it has been claimed.
Chief executive of NHS Wales David Sissling paid a visit to the hospital's A&E department last week, where he observed work and spoke to senior staff.
But one worker insists that nurses were warned by senior managers not to approach Mr Sissling — a claim which is denied by Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board.
The nurse said: "They made it quite clear we were not to talk to him during his visit.
"Mr Sissling spoke to doctors and senior staff, but we were not allowed to do so.
"Nurses are under an immense amount of pressure — they are demoralised, exhausted and undervalued. A lot are on the point of having a breakdown.
"Many are ill because of the threat of disciplinary action if they don't come to work when they aren't well, and are sometimes less well than the patients they are looking after. No one listens to nurses on the shop floor.
"There are never beds available, but then some suddenly appeared on the day he arrived.
"There is a new multimillion- pound development going on, but it has just become a holding bay.
"As soon as he left, chaos resumed."
David Sissling was formerly chief executive of ABMU, and his visit was to see the completed £6 million expansion and refurbishment of the department.
An ABMU spokeswoman said: "We certainly didn't tell staff not to approach him, and he did speak to several members of staff.
"It was a quieter day in A&E than we have experienced recently so there was more bed availability. By the next morning there were still 14 trolleys available for patients, so it is not correct to say that 'chaos' ensued after he left.
"However, pressures on A&E departments across South Wales, not just ABMU, have been very high in recent months, and the professionalism and hard work of our staff is to be commended in dealing with these pressures.
"Work is under way looking at ideas for making better use of A&E staff across South Wales, particularly because of an ongoing shortage of A&E doctors.
"The refurbishment of Morriston A&E will also hopefully help to reduce delays in the department. It has almost doubled the amount of space available to treat those who are critically ill or injured. Trolley capacity has been increased, and there is a separate waiting room and treatment room for children. The department has also been extended to include a dedicated triage area for ambulance patients, providing a clinical team to assess and treat ambulance patients."