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Snow and Norovirus create pressures for Morriston Hospital A&E

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 29, 2013

By nino williams

Morriston Hospital A&E

Morriston Hospital A&E

Comments (2)

HEALTH bosses have admitted continuing pressures at Morriston Hospital's Accident and Emergency department — despite the unit having just undergone a £6 million refurbishment.

They say A&E staff have had to deal with exceptional levels of people suffering from the Norovirus, in addition to injuries suffered by people falling in the snow and ice.

The admission follows concerns about the department's capacity, raised by AM Byron Davies, after being approached by constituent Hywel Miles of Pontrhydyfen, who had visited the department with a patient.

Mr Miles said that there was not enough room in the department and staff were outside, treating people in ambulances, and there was also a shortage of beds at the hospital, with a knock-on effect on A&E.

Mr Davies said: "According to the board, the new unit is almost double the size of the old one. They say that trolley capacity has been increased with separate facilities for children. There has also been an increase in the number of beds for people with major injuries from 9 to 15. It is very disappointing to hear that these facilities were unable to cope especially as a new triage system has been introduced for ambulance patients who now have their own clinical team.

"I think that we are still suffering the knock-on effects of the recent closure of Neath Port Talbot Hospital to acute medical cases with the result that ambulances are bringing more people straight to Morriston.

"What will happen with the downgrading of Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli and the likely increase in patients coming from that area, again heading for Morriston? ABMU has been struggling in recent weeks. Just imagine what it would be like if there were no A&E in Bridgend?"

An ABMU Health Board spokeswoman said: "There has been a huge amount of pressure on A&E departments across South Wales in recent weeks.

"We have experienced very high numbers of Norovirus cases, which has resulted in a number of wards being closed. More beds have been provided in Morriston Hospital; however the level of Norovirus this year has been exceptional. The recent period of ice and snow has also resulted in an increase in the numbers of people arriving with fall injuries. We have also seen a higher number of patients presenting with serious medical conditions.

"The recently-finished expansion of A&E at Morriston Hospital is designed to improve and support the service we provide. Health Boards across South Wales are currently looking at ideas to change the way A&E services are provided,

"We recognise our performance figures are not as we would like them to be and we are continuing to do all we can to improve them."

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2 comments

  • ABM_Health  |  January 30 2013, 12:27PM

    The Evening Post did not publish our full response - so here it is in full below. You will note that it contains information about the South Wales Programme, which of course is looking at new ways to provide A&E care - as the pressures are not confined to Morriston or any single A&E department in Wales. Our full response: There has been a huge amount of pressure on A&E departments across South Wales in recent weeks. We have experienced very high numbers of Norovirus cases, which has resulted in a number of wards being closed. More beds have been provided in Morriston Hospital in line with the Health Board's winter planning arrangements; however the level of Norovirus this year has been exceptional. The recent period of ice and snow has also resulted in an increase in the numbers of people arriving with fall injuries. We have also seen a higher number of patients presenting with serious medical conditions, and we would like to urge patients with minor injuries to attend our units in Neath Port Talbot and Singleton hospitals where they could be seen and treated sooner. We'd like to thank our staff for making huge efforts to get to work and deal with these increased pressures in such a professional and caring way. The recently-finished expansion of A&E at Morriston Hospital is designed to improve and support the service we provide. However when we look at the future challenges for A&E this services this will not be sufficient to ensure that we can deliver the high standards of care that we need to deliver for our patients. Therefore Health Boards across South Wales are currently looking at ideas to change the way A&E services are provided, particularly in response to staffing issues and the ongoing UK-wide shortage of A&E doctors. The latter are clearly critical if we are to provide safe services around the clock. The South Wales Programme, which includes ABMU, is looking at more effective ways of using emergency department staff by consolidating these services in fewer locations. Clearly these units would need to be big enough to meet the demands placed upon them. We also need to look at how we can expand upon services that help prevent people turning up in A&E departments in the first place and which can be delivered safely in local communities through other health care professionals. The urgent change to the Acute Medicine service at Neath Port Talbot Hospital in September was driven by a shortage of doctors, which meant it would have been unsafe for the service to continue. This has resulted in more admissions to Morriston Hospital from the Neath Port Talbot area, but this was planned for with the provision of additional beds at Morriston Hospital, and staff were transferred from Neath Port Talbot Hospital to accommodate this. The admissions from the Neath Port Talbot area since the closure of the acute medical intake, are in line with the anticipated numbers. We are also working closely with the Ambulance Service and introduced a mobile team of Advanced Paramedic Practitioners. These are paramedics who are trained with advanced skills to provide specialist treatment at a scene or at a patient's home and help reduce the number of people going into hospital. Early indications show this has already resulted in a substantial reduction in hospital attendances. We recognise our performance figures are not as we would like them to be and we are continuing to do all we can to improve them.

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  • ladymaise  |  January 29 2013, 8:09PM

    I have a Question to the ABUM spokeswoman , Why wont the Bossess of ABUM admit that the new a&e is not fit for purpose when it comes to providing a flagship service to the people of South Wales. Stop blaming the Patients for being ill as the sole reason for the problems. Why is The new REACT triage service area is being used as a holding bay for the overflow of those patients who have the cheek to use the facilities. Admit it , it is not big enough for the population it is supposed to be providing it for. My old mum told me "It takes a brave man to admit his mistakes but a foolish one to believe there is nothing wrong" Quite sad really

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