Creating extra community capacity a huge focus for health and care leaders

Welsh NHS Confederation assistant director Nesta Lloyd-Jones responds to the Welsh Government announcement on extra community care beds this winter.

16 December 2022

Responding to the Welsh Government’s announcement of 500 extra step-down beds and community care packages this winter, Nesta Lloyd-Jones, assistant director of the Welsh NHS Confederation said: 

“We all know demand on the health and care system is relentlessly high and as we move further into the winter months, keeps rising further. This has not been helped by recent adverse weather conditions and high levels of winter respiratory illnesses circulating. For example, Sunday saw an increase of 300 per cent in calls to NHS 111 Wales (10,000, the highest on record) and more than 2,000 emergency calls made to 999. 

“Patient flow through the system is key to being able to treat as many people as possible. As we’ve seen in recent months, the inability to discharge medically fit patients back into the community is having a huge impact on system capacity, from primary care and planned care to emergency departments and ambulance services. This has reached boiling point and we’re starting to see some really serious consequences. 

“That’s why NHS leaders in Wales have been working closely with local authority and social care partners to try and create as much extra capacity in the community as possible. This has been a huge focus for health and care leaders in recent months and should help more people get care closer to home this winter, freeing up much-needed hospital beds. 

“However, this is a short-term solution to what is a long-term problem. Without a long-term plan to transform the health and care system and increased investment in social care in particular, there is only so far initiatives such as these can go.”