The NHS in Wales “continues to be under extreme pressure” due to the coronavirus pandemic, a senior health figure has said.
Nesta Lloyd-Jones, assistant director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, warned “the number of people in our hospitals suffering from coronavirus, many of them in critical care, is significant”.
What is the Welsh NHS Confederation?
The Welsh NHS Confederation is a body made up of the seven health boards and three NHS trusts in Wales, as well as Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW).
According to its website, the Welsh NHS Confederation “support[s] our members to improve health and wellbeing by working with them to deliver high standards of care for patients and best value for taxpayers’ money.
“We act as a driving force for positive change through strong representation and our policy, influencing and engagement work.”
According to statistics released by Public Health Wales, 549 people known to have Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals in Wales during the week beginning December 21.
A further 2,140 people were tested on admission, with 208 testing positive for the virus.
In the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board area, which Caerphilly is part of, 153 people known to have coronavirus were admitted to hospital during that same time period, with 60 of the 379 patients tested on admission testing positive.
Ms Lloyd-Jones said: “It is vitally important that we bring the number of cases in our communities down, which will in turn have a positive effect on the number of people in our hospitals and the number of people who are tragically dying with coronavirus.
“Today [January 4], the Health Minister [Vaughan Gething] showed some encouraging signs of case levels dropping in Wales, but it is yet to be seen whether these gains are going to be sustained over the next couple of weeks.”
She added: “There is some light at the end of the tunnel with the approval of the Oxford Vaccine and the NHS in Wales stands ready to deliver the biggest vaccination programme we’ve ever undertaken.
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“However, we cannot underestimate the scale of that challenge, particularly in the face of a high number of cases and hospitalisations in Wales.
“Staff are continuing to work around the clock to provide care for people in Wales. Their continued dedication throughout such a long period of time and in extremely difficult circumstances is nothing short of remarkable.”
The rollout of the second coronavirus vaccine has been described as a “game changer” by Wales’ Health Minister, Vaughan Gething.
It follows the rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which was approved for use in the UK in December.
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