A&E too busy for patients; AMBULANCES TURNED AWAY FROM 'OVERSTRETCHED' UNIT.
Byline: SARAH HODGSON Daily Post Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
AMBULANCES had to be turned away from Wrexham Maelor hospital as medics struggled to cope with an influx of patients at A&e. Patients were diverted nearly 40 miles to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, Bodelwyddan, with some being sent on again to Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor - more than 70 miles from Wrexham.
Others in need of emergency treatment were sent to the Countess of Chester Hospital.
Maelor A&E (right) was effectively closed to new emergency admissions for a period of two and a half hours on Tuesday afternoon.
A Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board spokeswoman said it had to divert patients because the hospital had experienced "signifi-cant pressure" in A&e. But campaigner Mabon ap Gwynfor, from the North Wales Health Alliance, slammed the health board and said the latest setback showed it had failed to improve since it was put into special measures and overseen by the Welsh Government. He said: "This is what you get when you cut frontline services. We are still insistent community hospital beds should be reinstated as that is a significant part of the problem.
"There is also the political angle where the Government should be stepping in to make sure there are enough trained doctors and nurses to relieve pressures.
"Yesterday (Wednesday) was 100 days since Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board was put into special measures. It is quite ironic this should happen now as it shows we are not seeing improvements."
A health board spokeswoman said it had no choice but to divert patients: "Working with our ambulance colleagues, a decision was taken to divert patients to other hospitals for a short time, including to Glan Clwyd and the Countess of Chester. Some Glan Clwyd patients were also diverted to Ysbyty Gwynedd to assist."
Eight patients had to be diverted from the hospital's A&E because it had become "overstretched".
The spokeswoman added: "These arrangements follow an agreed protocol and whilst diverts to other hospitals are not a common occurrence, there are occasions when our A&E departments become overstretched and patients need to be diverted to other hospitals in order for them to receive timely treatment.
"Such diversions are always kept to a minimum. The department remained open to walk-in patients throughout, and Wrexham was able to accept ambulances some two and a half hours later."