Despite efforts to tackle the problem the number of patients having to wait over four hours and even over 12 hours, in North Wales A & E departments has continued to rise.

In January 72.4% of patients were seen within four hours, slightly fewer than in the same month last year.

In the same period, however, the number of patients attending emergency departments rose from 16,155 in January, 2017, to 16,916, and the number seen within four hours rose from 12,285 to 12,311.

There has also been an increase in the numbers accessing urgent care through acute medical and surgical admission, which then affects the number of beds available.

In January this year 1,826 patients had to wait 12 hours of more, a rise of 356 on the December figure.

A report to Thursday’s meeting of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board also reveals that 1,598 patients had to wait at least an hour in ambulances outside the region’s three main hospitals. That is 300 more than in December.

Various measures are in hand to ease the problem and improve the flow of patients through emergency departments.

· The report to the Board by the Head of Operations Morag Olsen also reveals that the target of no more than 180 cases of the C-difficile infection during the year has been missed, with 203 cases recorded.

Twenty-nine cases were recorded in January, the highest number since last October.

“We are as an organisation working at pace to prevent further cases and, critically, to minimise the impact of c-difficile on our patients and their families,” says the report.