Plaid Cymru has responded to clinicians's claims that A&E services in the Welsh NHS are at ‘meltdown point’, claiming that they're a sign of deep-rooted problems that the new Health Minister needs to tackle urgently.
– Plaid Cymru Health Spokesperson Elin Jones AM
Labour Health Ministers have failed to take a strong hold of the NHS, and ensure that it is delivering safe services for the people of Wales. Clinicians, health organisations and patients have been telling us for many months that there are serious failings in the current system, and it seems that key NHS targets are routinely missed.
Often, over-dependence on A&E services is the result of failures elsewhere. Plaid Cymru has called for immigration rules to be changed to encourage more doctors to work in Wales, and better incentives to ensure that doctors who train in Wales stay in Wales.
Plaid Cymru's also called for Health Boards to be made directly accountable to the Assembly Health Committee for their spending, so that a system of regular monitoring can be established.
The Shadow Health Minister, Darren Millar says that the NHS in Wales "is on life support and in desperate need of a cash transfusion."
The Conservative AM says that the situation in A&E units in Wales "cannot continue in the way that it is without lives being lost."
His comments come following an open letter from a number of consultants to the Health Minister warning of a 'meltdown' at A&E units in Wales.
Darren Millar said a push by health boards in Wales to balance their budgets by the end of the financial year was putting added pressure on services.
– Darren Millar AM, Shadow Health Minister
We know that health boards will have to find tens of millions more in savings over the next 12 months. The way they have been meeting their savings targets to date has been to cut hospital in-patient beds, that's why we have got this crisis in our emergency care.
The budgets that the health service has are inadequate and the Welsh Government.
The Welsh Government needs to look at its spending priorities and its budgets to rejig sure that it gets the resources that it needs.
The Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats says that an open letter sent to the new Health Minister warning of a 'meltdown' in A&E units shows "there are real problems."
Kirsty Williams says that "this letter should not come as a shock to the new minister, increasingly constituents are telling me of similar problems they are having at A&E departments."
"Last month I experienced these problems first hand when visiting an Accident and Emergency with a family member."
The Welsh Government say that the new Health Minister's priorities is to ease pressures 'on unscheduled healthcare.'
– Welsh Government spokesperson
The newly appointed Minister for Health and Social Services, Mark Drakeford, has stated that one of his priorities over the next 12 months is to look at ways of easing the pressures on unscheduled healthcare - this includes Out of Hours services, Emergency Departments and ambulance services.
A letter from doctors to the Health Minister warning of overcrowding at A&E units in Wales says there have been many experience of "real harm in our overwhelmed departments"
It highlights a number of examples of patients left waiting for to be treated at A&E units.
- A patient with chest pain having a cardiac arrest whilst being seen in the eye examination room (as there was no room in the resuscitation bay)
- No space in the resuscitation bay to accommodate a baby having a severe seizure
- Waits for a ward bed of 24-36 hours are now common, and at least one patient spent a full 3 days in a Welsh Emergency Department.
ITV News has seen a letter sent from a number of doctors to the Health Minister warning that "emergency departments are at the point of meltdown" and that most days, "they are seriously overcrowded."
The concerns are raised in the letter from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine to the Mark Drakeford. It is signed by 24 consultants at hospitals across Wales.
– Letter from Royal College of Emergency Medicine
Our Emergency Departments are at the point of meltdown. Most days, they are seriously overcrowded. This jeopardises safety and puts patients at risk: there is clear evidence that death rates go up if patients requiring admission remain in Emergency Departments for hours whilst they wait for ward beds to become available. This is happening right here, right now, across Wales. Each of us has seen standards of care slipping in our departments, as we struggle to look after a dozen or more of patients stuck in the ED whilst waiting for ward beds, in addition to our normal workload.