On the frontline: The life-saving work continuing in hospitals amid the Covid crisis

Report by ITV Wales Correspondent Richard Morgan and camera operator Mark Doleman

Coming into hospital for an operation is nerve-racking at the best of times - especially in the middle of the worst pandemic in 100 years.

But Donald Wraight has chosen to do just that. He told me he was "completely confident in his decision", as he prepared to have his operation at Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor.

"The hospitals are doing everything they can.

"The human traffic as such here is a lot lot less - so all the guidelines are there, so you're well looked after. I'm really impressed".

Don said he felt comfortable coming into hospital for his operation

Like other patients, Don had to self-isolate before coming to hospital, and return a negative Covid test.

His surgeon, Professor Iqbal Shergill, would normally do the operation in Wrexham, but it's been moved because of Covid.

He and his team have had to learn to live with the risks of hospital work during the pandemic. 

Professor Iqbal Shergill said everything is done in a "safe manner"

He says there is "always a worry" when coming to work, but it's a risk that is managed.

"But there is always a worry - when I travel into work on the A55.

"We want to reassure our patients everything is done for them in a safe manner. We won't take any risks."

The hospital's red zone is a highly secure unit for coronavirus patients

As Don is taken down to theatre, we are able to find out a bit more about how the hospital is functioning during the pandemic.

Behind one set of doors, there is the 'Red Zone' for Covid patients. Staff who work there will rarely mix with patients elsewhere in the hospital.

Those that do have to follow the strictest rules.

Dr Karen Mottart, the hospital's site medical director, said serious precautions were taken when frontline staff had worked inside the red zone.

"If a member of staff has had to treat or see a patient in a red area then there is really quite strong recommendation and guidance around changing your scrubs, possibly having a shower depending on the level of exposure, before coming out of the red area and going to one of the green wards" she said.

Dr Mottart added that, even although it was impossible to completely eliminate any risks, taking the right course of action would ensure the level of risk was as low as it possibly could be.

She said: "If we are all clear what the risk is we can think about the times where we are in a situation which is a riskier time for infection spread, and if we're mindful of that we can certainly take precautions to mitigate that risk as much as possible."

Dr Karen Mottart described the lengths staff at the hospital go to in order to minimise the risks of infection spread

Over in theatre, Don's prostate operation progresses smoothly, and it is all over in 45 minutes

Afterwards, back on the ward, we catch up with surgeon and patient.

"Everything went fine. Don had a very smooth, successful operation" Professor Shergill said.

"We've taken the prostate biopsies, which is obviously the priority here. We've sent them off to the lab, they will get analysed and we'll get the results back in seven to ten days.

"We're just seeing him now together as well, that he's doing fine. He's pretty much ready to go back to Wrexham to be fair."

Don's operation was a success and he advised anyone harbouring doubts over going to hospital that it was a safe experience

Don had a message for anyone who might be nervous about going to hospital at the current time.

"Don't be nervous. It's your health that you worry about" he said.

"If you want to be healthy, do what needs to be done.

"The place is completely safe. They've made it safe for people to come into hospitals, have the treatment and then go out again.

"That's fine you can't do any better than that."

And that's the lesson from my morning at Ysbyty Gwynedd. 

Even in a time of coronavirus, normal service - or something very close to it - continues.