- 5 updates
Less than 24 hours after announcing plans to deal with the unprecedented pressures A&E departments around Wales have been facing, the Health Minister is already facing criticism.
Charities have warned that plans to bring an end to so-called 'bed blocking' could result in patients being pressured to leave hospital before they are ready, or there is not adequate support for them at home.
The charity Care & Repair Cymru says "one of the most cost effective ways" to make sure patients are discharged from hospital on time is improving older people's housing.
It estimates that for every £1 spent adapting an older person’s home, £7.50 is saved to NHS and social service budgets.
Age Cymru says it welcomes the Health Minister's "intention to make sure that people are cared for in the most appropriate place."
The charity says: "it is unacceptable that many older people are currently forced to stay in hospitals for longer than they need to because of delays in assessing their needs or arranging suitable places for them to be discharged to", but says that it has significant concerns.
The charity Age Cymru has warned that older people should not be "put under undue pressure to leave hospital before they are able to do so."
It follows the Health Minister Mark Drakeford's announcement of "immediate actions" to cut waiting times in A&E departments, including freeing-up beds "by ensuring when patients no longer require hospital treatment, they are discharged in a timely manner."
Wales' Health Minister has set out "immediate actions" to reduce the extreme pressures on emergency health services.
Mark Drakeford is focusing on tackling "lengthy patient handover delays at A&E departments" and freeing-up beds by getting patients to leave hospital quickly when they are ready.
He says all local health boards have submitted plans on how they will improve.
Last month, doctors wrote to the Health Minister warning that emergency departments "are at the point of meltdown".
Earlier in March, patients had to wait in ambulances outside hospitals due to packed A&E departments.