The Chief Executive of the Welsh NHS, Andrew Goodall, advised in a press briefing today that Welsh health services were facing increasing pressure, with 2,870 Covid patients currently being treated in Welsh hospitals – more than double the previous peak seen last April.
Public Health Wales announced earlier today that a further 66 people have died in Wales, with 1533 new cases and high levels persisting in North Wales. Yesterday, it emerged that the pandemic has caused excess deaths in the UK to rise to their highest level since the Second World War.
Dr Goodall said: “My greatest concern at the moment, is the impact on critical care. Units are under enormous pressure as we continue to see people who are very sick with coronavirus admitted to critical care.
“There are now 150 people in critical care units with coronavirus. This is the highest level we have seen during the second wave. This is almost our entire non-pandemic critical care capacity.”
“The impact of the restrictions, including the lockdown measures, will take some weeks to be felt in the NHS,” he said.
Hospital staff ‘exhausted’
Dr. Goodall expressed concern for exhausted hospital staff who were also dealing with a 9% sickness absence rate, compared to an average of 5-6% for this time of year. Around half of this was, he said, due to COVID 19, both the virus itself and the need to self-isolate:
“Our NHS staff report, understandably so, that they are exhausted at the moment because this has been a constant treadmill.” He explained that wellbeing support has been created in each health board for individuals who are struggling.
Wider supplies of Jabs to be distributed from next week
Today’s statement follows an announcement by Health Minister Vaughan Gething yesterday that Health Boards in Wales are currently looking to set up 24 hour vaccination centres, and that supplies of the vaccine in Wales were set to increase after some GP practices raised concerns at the levels of vaccine they have received. Mr. Gething explained this was down to supply issues which the Government is currently addressing:
“People in all parts of Wales should take some assurance from the fact that we expect a much more significant supply to come into Wales and will then be delivered in Wales from the next week in particular.”