Hywel Dda University Health Board is strongly advising residents living in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire to use alternative healthcare services in the community wherever possible due to significant pressures currently being experienced across our Emergency Departments.

During the recent festive period the Health Board put additional medical and support staff in place to manage increased demand at this busy time of the year; however, we are also urging anyone with a non-urgent medical complaint to support us by making full use of alternative community services such as your Community Pharmacist or by self care at home when appropriate, ensuring that the GP Out of Hours service and A&E are used for urgent care only.

Dr Roger Diggle, Deputy Medical Director at Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “Our hospitals are currently seeing high volumes of very unwell patients and we are taking all action possible to ensure that they are provided with the care they need.

“To manage the increased demand on services that we experience every winter we have a plan in place to ensure that services continue to run as smoothly as possible while ensuring that patient’s needs continue to be met 24 hours a day.”

With GP practices in the area facing higher than normal requests for home visits and appointments, patients are also asked to consider whether they can get to the practice to be seen to help ensure that all patients can access the care that they need.

The Health Board has worked with the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust, local authorities and the third sector to prepare for the busy period ahead with a winter plan. This is available on the health board’s website and sets out how the organisation is preparing to run services as smoothly as possible to ensure patients’ needs continue to be met 24 hours a day.

This year the health board is signposting people towards community pharmacies,which can see and treat people with minor ailments and avoid them having to go to their GP or A&E department.

The Common Ailments Service covers 26 conditions whereby a pharmacist can assess and provide medication at no charge, if suitable, without the need for a prescription.  The service allows patients to seek advice or treatment from a participating community pharmacy, rather than their GP, for a defined list of ailments.

Patients in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire are also being urged to use the health board’s Triage and Treat service in participating community pharmacies if they have a low-level injury or illness, in a bid to free up pressure on busy A&E departments this winter.

Health professionals across Wales are also urging all those eligible to have their flu vaccine as soon as possible, to help them and our hospitals stay flu-free throughout the winter.

And infection prevention specialists are reminding people not to visit patients in hospitals and care homes if they have been feeling unwell, in order to limit the spread of conditions such as Norovirus and flu.

For more information on the health board’s winter plans and advice on how you can help visit:

www.hywelddahb.wales.nhs.uk/winterwise

www.hywelddahb.wales.nhs.uk/choosewell

www.hywelddahb.wales.nhs.uk/outofhours

 

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