Mark Drakeford says there is 'resilience' in A&E departments days after 'extraordinary incident'

The First Minister has been questioned on how he is going to fix "reoccurring problems" within the Welsh NHS.

It comes after the service declared an "extraordinary incident" across the country, with one ambulance waiting 28 hours to hand over its patient to a hospital.

Mark Drakeford told Senedd members there are "signs of resilience in the emergency departments in Wales" during First Minister's Questions on Tuesday.

Leader of the Welsh Conservatives Andrew RT Davies said "he hadn't heard any answers" from the Welsh Government on how they were going to ease pressure on the health service.

A few days after handover delays at hospitals across Wales caused the Welsh Ambulance to declare an 'extraordinary incident', the First Minister faced questions on how he was going to fix the issue.

When asked by Mr Davies what lessons had been learnt from last winter, Mr Drakeford said: "The Welsh Government announced £425 million for the health service only last week.

Andrew RT Davies, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives asked Mr Drakeford what lessons had been learnt from last winter.

"There are lessons from previous winters that the service is always trying to absorb and to put into practice and planning for the winter begins far, far earlier in the year than now.

"There are more people working for the Welsh Ambulance Service than ever before and it involves extra capacity in the health service.

"There are signs of some resilience in the emergency departments in Wales. None of that is to take away from the sustained pressures that the system is facing and will undoubtedly face in the winter."

Mr Davies repeated that he still had not receiced any answers on how to "alleviate" the pressure on the health service during the busy winter months.

He said: "We've seen that with the 20mph speed limit across Wales...government when it faces issues it wants to solve, can solve those issues, but when it comes to the ambulance service, regrettably there are reoccurring problems happening.

"Give us the confidence that when our constituents come to us we can give them the assurances that when they dial for an ambulance, that ambulance will come and help them in their hour of need."

Although nationwide, the "extraordinary incident" related particularly to the Swansea Bay area.

The issue was the length of time ambulance crews had to wait before handing patients over once they arrive at hospital.

A spokesperson for the service said: "We experienced exceptionally high levels of demand with very sick patients over the weekend and we were at full capacity.

"This resulted in long delays to ambulance handovers which, in turn, affected the availability of ambulances in the community."

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