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Opinion piece - Welsh Health Service looking sicker by the day.

March 28, 2013 11:04 PM

It appears that not a day goes by lately without more bad news about the Health Service in Wales, and today was no different. This time it was a warning from A7E consultants that the service is in "meltdown."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-21962453

As reported by the BBC "almost half of the Wales' A&E consultants have signed a joint letter to new Health Minister Mark Drakeford."

It warns that a lack of beds means serious overcrowding is a daily occurrence.

The letter, sent by the College of Emergency Medicine, reads: "Our emergency departments are at the point of meltdown. Most days, they are seriously overcrowded."

"This jeopardises safety and puts patients at risk: there is clear evidence that death rates go up if patients requiring admission remain in emergency departments for hours whilst they wait for ward beds to become available.

"Each of us has seen standards of care slipping in our departments, as we struggle to look after a dozen or more patients stuck in the emergency departments whilst waiting for ward beds, in addition to our normal workload."

The knock on effects are obvious. If there are no beds to move patients out of A&E departments then the system becomes log jammed. Ambulances are left queuing outside unable to discharge their patients, and so are not available to answer emergency calls.

The Welsh Labour Government have it seems done nothing at all to address these problems which have been on-going for far too long. A succession of Ministers have taken a more than laid back approach to the job. The Tories answer is to throw more money at the service, but the Health Service in Wales already has more per head spent on it than in England. It is a question of spending money more wisely.

We can only hope that the new Health Minister has a few ideas as to how to improve things. We deserve better.

Karen Roberts

Campaign Manager RCT Welsh Liberal Democrats.