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Saturday 24th August 2019

NHS pressure could be made worse by change

14th March 2013

A health academic has warned hospital emergency departments could be put under even more pressure than at present under NHS reforms.

A&E departments across Wales have faced huge rises in demand with some hospitals treating more patients than ever and ambulances hit by delays in handing over patients.

But Professor Marcus Longley, director of the Welsh Institute for Health and Social Care at the University of Glamorgan, says the problems will get worse with the proposed closures of some A&E units.

He said: “It could certainly increase some hot spots, because if it’s a 10 minute journey to the A&E department, in the future it will be 20 minutes. That’s an ambulance that’s tied up for that much longer if the call was unnecessary.”

He said it was crucial to get key parts of the system right.

Health boards have drawn up plans to reform the way services are delivered amid warnings from First Minister Carwyn Jones that the health service would “collapse” without reform.

Health boards have reported exceptionally high demand in recent days with more than 450 patients seen at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, on Monday, a quarter more than expected with almost half needing high level care.

On the same day the A&E department at Morriston Hospital in Swansea saw 300 patients, which was a new high for the unit.

Elsewhere in Wales, operations have been postponed because of the high number of hospital admissions.


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