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Accident and Emergency units in Wales 'under siege'

The number of people waiting more than four hours to be seen at a Welsh accident and emergency unit has soared to its highest level since 2009.

The target is 95% within that time period - but the rate in December was just 81%, according to official figures released today.

Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon has said that longer waits at A&E are "disastrous" for the ambulance service, and that is having a "major impact" on the police force, which has had to take many people to hospital in recent moths.

Dr Aruni Sen, a consultant in emergency medicine at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, told us: "we are under siege - the whole world is upon our door - and we just can't cope."

Watch full coverage from Wales at Six:

'Pull your finger out' over A&E - crime chief tells government

Longer waits at A&E are disastrous for the ambulance service in Wales – and this is having a major impact on the police in Dyfed-Powys says its crime tsar.

Taking people to A&E is Credit: dyfed-powys.pcc.police.uk

Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon says police officers have repeatedly taken sick people to A&E in recent months.

This is a long-running problem that has got significantly worse. It reflects conditions across Wales.

Our initial analysis suggests we had twice as many incidents this December as last. That means more police officers waiting in A&E, officers conducting at-scene medical assessments beyond their expertise and officers leaving their duties to drive patients to hospital.

"It’s not fair on officers, who will take the blame if something goes wrong. It's not fair on patients who do not get the care they should. And it’s not fair on the public who expect their taxes to be spent wisely.

We’ve had all talk and no action. The Welsh Government needs to pull its finger out and fix the problem.

– Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon

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A&E departments in Wales - 'busiest in five years'

Wales' accident and emergency departments have had their busiest December in five years according to government figures published on Friday.

Credit: PA

The figures reveal that 77% of those who went to major A&E units were assessed, treated and then admitted or discharged in less than four hours - missing the Welsh Government's target yet again of 95%.

The Deputy Minister for Health Vaughan Gething has praised the work of NHS staff for dealing with winter pressures which saw 76,889 people attending A&E during December.

The number of total attendances in December 2014 was up 2.5% on last year.

The Welsh Ambulance Service saw a significant rise in the most critically-ill patients using its services, with unprecedented levels of demand over recent weeks. There were 725 category A calls on New Year’s day – an increase of around 225 incidents on what is considered a normal day and a 17.5% increase on New Year’s day in 2014.

It is clear that all health services are experiencing significant pressures. I would like to thank everyone within the Welsh NHS for their unrelenting commitment to patient care during this difficult period.

– Vaughan Gething, Deputy Minister for Health
  1. Tom Sheldrick

Stop smoking advice at shopping centre call-in store

Wales's first quit smoking shop has opened its doors in Cwmbran.

It aims to help people quit smoking altogether, rather than simply switching to e-cigarettes.

It is a trial by Stop Smoking Wales which, if successful, could result in more 'stop shops' opening across Wales.

Tom Sheldrick reports:

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