Posted: Sat 18th Sep 2021

Health board to ‘escalate’ Covid response as pressure of North Wales hospitals increases beyond predicted levels

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Sep 18th, 2021


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The North Wales health board could escalate its response to Covid-19 as pressure on hospitals has increased beyond the predicted level.

Coronavirus rates have risen rapidly in the region in recent weeks, ranging from 384.4 cases per 100,000 people in Flintshire to 540.9 in Conwy, according to the latest rolling seven-day figures.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said the easing of restrictions had led to more people mixing, with increased admissions to hospitals as a result.

It has also caused delays at emergency departments and in ambulance response times.

Board members will be asked next week to approve stepping up its response level in light of the issues faced.

It effectively means high level meetings will be held on a more regular basis to monitor the situation but will not result in the return to what the board described as “full command and control status”.

Louise Brereton, board secretary, said in a report: “With the lifting of many measures, social mobility has increased, and community transmission rates of Covid-19 have increased significantly.

“This has led to an increase in rates of admission to hospitals, further outbreaks in closed settings such as residential and nursing care, increasing staff absence rates due to positive test results or self-isolating.

“Alongside this increase in impact of the pandemic, other unscheduled care pressures have increased rapidly, with attendances at emergency departments and emergency admissions also increased beyond the predicted levels.

“The social care system is also facing unprecedented challenges due to recruitment and retention problems.

“This is resulting in an increase in patients who no longer require hospitalisation remaining in our care, exacerbating problems with flow through the whole system and fragility of the sector overall.

“The combined impact has resulted in escalation in situation reporting levels, delays in ambulance conveyancing and handover, delays in admissions and discharges, cancellation of elective care and harm.

“In the light of the deteriorating situation, EIMT (executive incident management team) had moved to twice-weekly meetings, one touch base meeting and one full meeting.

“As the health board response moves from monitoring and surveillance to higher escalation, it is proposed that EIMT meets three times a week, to enable rapid escalation of issues and agile decision-making, including the implementation of surge measures as needed.

“To support the greater frequency and to ensure appropriate governance and scrutiny, it is also proposed that the cabinet be reconvened on a fortnightly basis.”

The report will be discussed at a meeting of board members on Thursday.

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