Posted: Fri 13th Nov 2020

Health bosses say capacity at North Wales hospitals ‘very tight’ following increase in coronavirus patients

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Nov 13th, 2020

Over 120 patients with Covid-19 are currently receiving treatment in North Wales’ hospitals, a senior doctor has revealed.

Betsi Cadwaldr’s executive director of primary care and community services said that capacity is “very tight” at facilities at the present time.

Dr Chris Stockport told a meeting of Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board today that there were 128 patients with the coronavirus in the region’s hospitals at the moment, an increase on recent weeks.

However he said only six of those patients were receiving intense critical care, which was a lower proportion than at the height of the first pandemic peak.
Dr Stockport said this “partly reflects” changes in treatments as more becomes known about the infection.

He said: “We ventilate patients less than was the case earlier on. People will have heard of dexamethasone and other treatments which have had a material impact on how many patients receive critical care.”

Dr Stockport said one of the reasons for opening Deeside’s Enfys/Rainbow Hospital was the increased resources Covid patients are taking up.

“Accommodating 128 patients with coronavirus takes up more space than accommodating 128 patients would normally do,” he said.

He said that the board continued to provide “additional support” to care homes in North Wales and for patients who were being treated at home.

Answering a question from board chair Mark Polin on how services were coping, Dr Stockport said: “At this current moment in time we are managing well in terms of multiple pressures on the system.

“This wave is coming at the start of that winter part when we see more respiratory ailments.

“It’s difficult and it’s very tight but everybody is holding together.”

Acting chief executive Gill Harris added: “This is difficult for any NHS facility at the moment.”

The board also heard from director of public health Teresa Owen, who said Test, Trace and Protect (TTP) had seen a reduction in numbers but hinted this was no time to relax.

She said people should book tests if they had symptoms, as there is ample capacity.

“It’s going to be a busy winter and I would like to assure you there are plenty of opportunities to be tested.”

She also said that Ysbyty Glan Clwyd is testing 500-600 Covid samples per day and was “working 24/7”.

Ysbyty Gwynedd is testing around 70 samples per day and Wrexham Maelor around 170 but there was “spare capacity if needed”.

She told the board they had seen a reduction in English Lighthouse laboratories’ ability to turn round samples quickly, which had been a “cause for concern”.

However that situation had now improved she said.

Ms Owens added a new eco lab was expected to be operational in November.

It will be able to test thousands of samples per day and she promised to update the board on its progress.

Jez Hemming – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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