Following recent stories of waiting times of up to 55 hours for emergency treatment and bad patient experiences that Gareth has raised in the Senedd with Health Minister, Eluned Morgan, former NHS worker for 11 years and local Member of the Senedd for the hospital area, Gareth Davies MS returned to the frontline to visit the Emergency Department at Glan Clwyd Hospital to see for himself what some of the biggest issues are currently and what the team are doing to reduce waiting times and create a better all round patient experience at the hospital.
Mr Davies met with Emergency Department Manager, Helen Demetrides, Hospital Director of Operations, Nicola Etherington, Assistant Director of Public Affairs and Partnership, Alan Morris, and Communications Officer, Jez Hemming.
The team showed Gareth around the department including the newly designed reception area which allows patients better privacy when talking to healthcare professionals and administration workers, they have also introduced a new triage room with a Healthcare Assistant in attendance to monitor basic readings in an attempt to increase the quality of patient flow and reduce waiting times in light of recent performances. In addition, there is the intention of a full time Mental Health Liaison Officer in the department, that will be able to triage mental health patients on presentation to the Emergency Department and seek the appropriate level of care.
Speaking after the visit, Gareth said, "I'm grateful to the staff at the Glan Clwyd Hospital Emergency Department for giving their time to showing me around the department in light of recent news surrounding high levels of waiting times and poor patient experience. Where I'm pleased to see improvements being made to the department in the way of greater privacy in the reconstructed reception area and enhanced triage service, I hope this goes some way to achieving the overall ambition of the Health Board to improve patient outcomes and achieve their waiting time targets of 4 hours set by the Welsh Government. Local residents in North Denbighshire need to be confident there are robust emergency health services for them locally and that we have a Welsh Government in Cardiff Bay that can recognise the local need and provide adequate funding for sustainable provision for local residents."
Where Gareth recognises the issues in the Emergency Department, as a former NHS worker for 11 years (2010-2021) he is keen to work with the Health Board in order to improve patient outcomes locally and is assured by the ambition of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to look for achievable solutions to local emergency healthcare provision despite the awaited formal commitment from Welsh Ministers in Cardiff Bay to finding an answer through community based projects in the North of Denbighshire.
Commenting on this matter Gareth said, "having worked in the NHS for 11 years I fully understand the pressures in local health services and I want to engage productively with the Health Board to work on solutions to some of the biggest issues facing our local residents in Denbighshire. A solution that everybody agrees on is to build North Denbighshire Community Hospital at the Royal Alexandra in Rhyl which would enable the use of a Minor Injuries Unit and other community services to take pressure away from Glan Clwyd Hospital, the local residents of Rhyl, Prestatyn and surrounding areas have been promised this facility for over a decade with no progress being made, it's time the Welsh Government wake up to this reality and fund this project, we've waited far too long and local people need answers and solutions."