With the festive season upon us, Hywel Dda University Health Board is urging people to help protect precious NHS resources and to not attend our busy A&E departments unless they have a critical, life-threatening emergency.

To ensure that patients can be treated appropriately, and to avoid ambulances queuing up outside A&Es or being diverted to other hospitals, the health board is asking people to choose their healthcare services very carefully, so that they are only seeing people with urgent or emergency care needs in A&E. 

If you have urgent care needs that can’t wait but are not 999 emergencies, dial 111 for NHS Direct Wales for health advice and support. The number is free to call and this service is available even when your GP surgery is open. 111 is also the number you need to access out-of-hours GP services across Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

Together with partners in local authorities, the third sector and Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust, the health board’s focus is on managing the capacity in its acute hospitals and busy emergency departments, while also reducing the amount of time patients need to spend in a hospital bed, by providing as much non-emergency and follow up care outside of the hospital environment as possible.

If you have a friend, family member or loved one who is medically well enough to be discharged from hospital, you are requested to help by coming to pick them up promptly. This will allow medical staff to free up beds faster for acutely unwell patients and keep the patient flow steady through local hospitals.

Andrew Carruthers, Executive Director of Operations at Hywel Dda, said:

“I would like firstly to say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to our clinical workforce for their relentless effort and determination to provide the best quality of care possible to our patients and communities often in the most difficult of circumstances. 

“They are the very embodiment of all that’s good about the NHS and what the health service stands for, and they should all be very proud.

“The challenges of accessing care and treatment, particularly in the post-Covid era, are well-documented nationally and sadly Hywel Dda is not immune to these.  The way that we try to manage the challenges we face is by adopting an approach, which brings together our acute hospitals, primary care and community services, ambulance service, local authorities and the third sector. We need everyone to play their part and help – and our public and patients are absolutely key to this.”

If you are unwell and unsure what to do, you can visit the online symptom checker to cross-check your symptoms against a number of common ailments and if directed call NHS 111 Wales.

If you need to talk to someone urgently about your mental health, or you’re concerned about a family member, call NHS 111 Wales and select option 2 to be placed in direct contact with a mental health professional in your area. The number is free to call from a landline or mobile, even if you have no credit left.

Only attend an Emergency Department if you have a life-threatening illness or serious injury, such as: 

  • Severe breathing difficulties 
  • Severe pain or bleeding 
  • Chest pain or a suspected stroke 
  • Serious trauma injuries (eg. from a car crash) 

If you have a less serious injury, then please visit one of our Minor Injury Units. They can treat adults and children over 12-months of age, with injuries such as:

  • Minor wounds 
  • Minor burns or scalds 
  • Insect bites 
  • Minor limb, head, or face injuries 
  • Foreign bodies in the nose or ear 

There are minor injury or walk-in services at Tenby Hospital (Monday - Friday 10am - 5pm including Bank Holidays) as well as at the main acute hospitals. For opening hours, check the website.

Many community pharmacies can also provide walk-in, common ailment or triage and treat services without an appointment. You can find out more here:

Hywel Dda UHB urges: “Your support not only helps your loved one, but it is a huge support to the NHS and social care services as well. Please help us to make our service safer by sharing this information with friends and family. Thank you for your continued support as always.”