Responding to the latest Welsh Government press conference and the announcement of additional funding towards easing winter pressures, Darren Hughes, director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, said:
“We welcome the announcement of further funding to support health and care organisations during a time of unprecedented pressures.
“The issues in social care have not gone away but have been exacerbated by the latest wave of the virus. Health and care services continue to work together in innovative ways to both help prevent hospital admissions and support the discharge of as many medically fit patients as is possible, given the constraints.
“It’s important we recognise that all parts of the system are experiencing extreme levels of demand at a time of record high staff absences: not just in our hospitals but in GP surgeries, pharmacies and the community, too. Although Covid hospitalisations aren’t at the highest they’ve been throughout the pandemic, in part thanks to the vaccination programme, GPs are absorbing much of this demand as many patients turn to them for support with Covid symptoms.
“The coming weeks will be some of the most challenging in the NHS’ history as it seeks to absorb the pressure of the Omicron wave amid huge demand and the challenge of significant staff absences.
“This is why the NHS needs you to access services in the right place at the right time, to make sure emergency health services are available for those who need life-saving care. You can:
- speak to community pharmacists for minor issues such as a sore throat, where you will be able to access free medication and advice
- plan ahead by ordering repeat prescriptions at least seven days in advance
- check symptoms online rather than calling your GP, using the NHS 111 online symptom checker
- use your local Minor Injuries Unit for injuries such as wounds, minor burns and broken bones
- call 999 only in life-threatening and serious emergencies such as choking, cardiac arrest or severe blood loss.”