'Beyond crisis point': How Wales' ambulances are stuck waiting with hospitals under pressure

The hospital is “beyond crisis point” and “care is going to suffer” is the sobering assessment in A&E from Matthew Jones, the Clinical Director of Emergency Care at Bridgend’s Princess of Wales hospital.

We arrived at the hospital while spending a shift with the Welsh Ambulance Service - 11 ambulances stacked up, patients waiting for more than 9 hours.

And then the startling explanation that this was becoming normal not just in Bridgend but in many of South Wales’ main hospitals.

Matthew Jones explained: “It's a crisis point, you could argue it's beyond crisis point, with the ambulances outside like this, there's a strong argument that we are beyond crisis point, that this isn't safe.”

'It's worse than it's ever been'

His staff are tired and scared. Unlike the first lockdown when patients stopped using hospitals for fear of catching Covid, now the demand is at pre-pandemic levels plus the coronavirus patients.

Bridgend hospital is full and the sick are warned their “experience will be poor” and “if you're on the back of an ambulance, we can get you seen, we can get you treated, but the quality of care is going to suffer, there is no doubt about it.”

The First Minister said today they are “coping” but the situation is critical, Covid has caused a crisis and its not just patients facing an emergency, but the NHS itself.