North Wales health board looking at measures to “gradually reintroduce planned care safely and efficiently”
Reintroducing planned care and routine treatments “efficiently and safely” in North Wales hospitals is being kept under review.
In December the health board announced that it would be postponing non-urgent operations, procedures and outpatient appointments with immediate effect, due to booster efforts and projected staff shortages due to omicron.
It comes as waiting lists for non-urgent treatments in Wales have hit record levels.
Latest Welsh NHS data for November revealed the highest ever number of patients waiting for treatment with 682,279 on patient pathways – over 14,000 more than September – leaving 1-in-5 Welsh people on the waiting list.
This week Gill Harris, Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director of Integrated Clinical Delivery at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, confirmed that the current situation over restarting routine treatments is being reviewed on a weekly basis.
However no date has been given on when services could restart.
Ms Harris said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on NHS services.
“Unfortunately, this has been no different to us in North Wales and as a result, we have had to postpone a significant amount of routine elective treatments.
“Over this winter period, there has been an unprecedented demand on health and social care services across North Wales, which is leading to significant delays in care provision and pressure on both planned care and urgent care services.
“We are reviewing the situation on a weekly basis, as we are conscious that we cannot delay treatments, even if non-urgent, any longer than necessary, but patient safety should always come first.
“We know this has been a worrying time for people waiting for treatment and I sincerely apologise for this.
“We are looking at a range of measures to enable us to gradually reintroduce planned care as safely and efficiently as possible, ensuring people with the highest clinical need are prioritised for treatment at the earliest opportunity.”
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