FOLLOWING the postponement of planned inpatient operations across our four hospital sites earlier this week, we are beginning to see some improvements with around half of our planned procedures being carried out across the health board in the last 48 hours. We would like to reiterate our apologies to those patients that have been affected and provide our assurance that we will look to rearrange operations as soon as possible.

The actions taken in line with our integrated Winter resilience plan have helped us to reduce the extreme pressures experienced at the beginning of the week, and as of today (Friday 10 January) all hospital sites are operating below peak escalation status. However, our services remain under pressure and we are anticipating another busy weekend ahead across our hospital A&E departments, Out of Hours and community GP services, and we would continue to urge patients to seek alternatives if you can.

If you or a loved one are unwell or injured, there may be other services that can provide the care that you need:

• Online symptom checker: Check your symptoms online at NHS Direct Wales here https://www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk/selfassessments/
• Self care – A lot of illnesses can be treated in your home by using over the counter medicine and getting plenty of rest. Keep a well prepared first aid kit at home: Bandages, plasters, thermometer, antiseptic, eyewash solution, sterile dressings, medical tape, and tweezers.
• Pharmacies – your local pharmacy can to do much more than dispense medication and could save a trip to your GP or hospital. For free confidential NHS advice and treatment for a range of common ailments eye infections and chicken pox, your pharmacist can help. Find out what services are available at your local pharmacy by visiting www.hywelddahb.wales.nhs.uk/communitypharmacy
• NHS Direct Wales / Out of Hours services – telephone 111 if your need is urgent and you can’t wait to make an appointment with your usual GP
• Minor Injury Units (MIUs) – To find out the opening times of our MIUs please visit http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/862/page/52065

Please do not attend an emergency department or GP practice if you have symptoms of an infectious illness such diarrhoea, vomiting, fever or symptoms of flu. Flu and norovirus are circulating and for the majority of people these can be treated safely at home. However, if you are vulnerable (very young, frail elderly, living with long term or chronic conditions) or your symptoms worsen, please seek medical advice.

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