ALL ROUTINE surgery in North Wales’ three major hospitals has been postponed after a “sustained increase in demand”.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said emergency departments at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Glan Clwyd and Wrexham Maelor are under “significant pressure”.
All planned routine surgical operations were cancelled as a result.
The health board said a rise in the number of patients with complex multiple health problems, the elderly and frail admitted to hospital has raised the risk of delays in emergency care.
A health board spokesperson said: “As part of our normal escalation procedures for dealing with such pressures, the health board has therefore decided to reduce routine planned surgery at the three hospitals for this week.
“Urgent operations, such as those for patients with cancer, will still go ahead as will eye surgery and orthopaedic surgery at Abergele Hospital and day case procedures.”
The health board said the situation is being reviewed on a daily basis.
Matt Makin, Medical Director and Director of Clinical Services at the health board, said: “This is not a decision that we have taken lightly.
“I know that people have to make special arrangements so that they can come into hospital for an operation and I am sorry for the difficulties and disruption that this will cause
“However, we have to make sure that we are able to provide safe services for people who need emergency care, and at the moment our hospitals are facing very severe pressures.
“I want to apologise to every patient who will be inconvenienced by this decision.”
Mr Makin said patients will be re-booked for appointments as soon as possible.
Mabon ap Gwynfor, spokesman for the North Wales Health Alliance, said: "The North Wales Health Alliance was formed last year in part to oppose the closure of community hospitals across the North.
"We warned then that the loss of more than 50 beds would put extra pressure on our district general hospitals.
“Since then we’ve had a new health minister, a new chief executive and a new chairman of Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board.
"But we’re still facing the same problems because none of them have so far tackled the underlying problems within the health service in the North.”
Aled Roberts, Assembly Member for North Wales, said: “This announcement is very worrying.
“This is yet further evidence that Betsi Cadwaladr health board is under an immense amount of pressure and that it is really struggling."