Coronavirus pressure on Welsh Ambulance Service easing but challenges remain

Pressure on the Welsh Ambulance Service from coronavirus is beginning to ease across the country, according to the service's chief executive.

Jason Killen told ITV News call handlers and paramedics across Wales were beginning to see less Covid-related activity.

More than 80% of frontline Welsh Ambulance Service staff have also now had their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

He said: "It is pleasing to say that the effect of the lockdown here in Wales has now started to be seen.

"We're seeing less Covid patients in the community, we're seeing less Covid patients contacting us through the 111 or the 999 service and of course that's translating, thankfully, into less patients needing to be admitted to hospital."

"What is good at the moment is we are seeing less Covid-related activity across our service and indeed across Wales.

"So our people - our staff, our emergency medical technicians and our paramedics - are beginning to see that come through in the number of Covid-related patients they are responding to in the community."

The Welsh Ambulance Service has been forced to call on the help of the army during the pandemic Credit: PA Images

The Welsh Ambulance Service has lost four of its staff to Covid-19 over the course of the pandemic, something Mr Killen said was "very difficult" for its team.

A number of major incidents have been declared by the service in recent weeks.

In December, 90 soldiers had to be drafted in to help drive ambulances and emergency vehicles as the service faced immense pressure on its services.

Earlier that month, the service was forced to declare a "critical incident" and warned that some patients "may have to wait longer for help" due to high level of demand.

Despite the substantial fall in coronavirus pressure on the service, the head of the Welsh Ambulance Service warned the situation remained challenging.

"It's (coronavirus) still very much there," Mr Killen said.

"The virus doesn't respect Easter or other breaks, it's important that as we begin to ease cautiously the lockdown, which is the right thing to do, that the public continue to follow the rules that are in place so we don't let the virus run away with itself and hopefully this will be the last lockdown we end up enduring."

Read more: