Long waits to be seen by doctors has led to more patients walking out of two North Wales hospitals without being seen.

In the Wrexham Maelor Hospital, where the problem has consistently been worse than anywhere else, 854 patients – or 15.7% of the total – left the emergency department without being seen in July.

There was also a slight deterioration in Glan Clwyd Hospital but a slight improvement in Ysbyty Gwynedd.

In a report to this week’s meeting of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board head of operations Morag Olsen says the majority of those who left without being triaged did so within 30 minutes of arrival.

“The trend in the number of patients who leave the emergency departments without being seen by a clinician is reflected in the overall performance against the four-hour target,” she says. “When the overall performance improves , the percentage of patients who leave without being seen (LWBS) reduces.”

In July 77% of patients were seen within four hours, a slight drop from the June figure, though there was an improvement in Wrexham.

In the same month 1,095 patients waited more than 12 hours, 112 more than in June, with Ysbyty Gwynedd showing the best figures.

“Attention is being focussed upon the importance of ensuring patients are moved to their destination wards in a timely manner,” says the report. “The risks of harm to patients when they are delayed for long periods in emergency departments are being reiterated to all ED and ward staff.”

Of 4,825 patients taken to hospital by ambulance 713 had to wait at least an hour for handover to the hospital staff.

Meanwhile there are still vacancies for 207 registered nurses and 45 health care assistants across the region, and another recruitment drive in Portugal and the Philippines is being considered. A total of 121 registered nurses are being recruited, 61 of them from overseas.

Of those, four have passed their English language rest and will start work in the next two months, while another seven aware awaiting results, 21 are booked to re-sit their exams and 21 are yet to re-book.