UPDATED STORY ...
All routine planned non-emergency surgery across North Wales has been suspended due to what has been described as "increased pressure".
The Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said the move affects Wrexham Maelor hospital, Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor and Glan Clwyd in Bodelwyddan.
For more details on the story see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-25830185
* Commenting on the announcement, Aled Roberts, Assembly Member for North Wales, said:
“This announcement is very worrying. The Welsh Labour Government had previously said that it was confident that winter plans were in place. However, these plans are not holding up well at all.
“This is yet further evidence that Betsi Cadwaladr health board is under an immense amount of pressure and that it is really struggling.
“Recent figures have shown that Betsi Cadwaladr is the worst performing health board in Wales with regards to patient waiting times. Many patients are already waiting too long until they receive treatment, it’s therefore a concern that many will now have to wait even longer.
“This announcement has been very sudden. It is essential that if the health board is considering extending the suspension of services beyond next Monday, then patients are informed as soon as possible.
“Not only is Betsi Cadwaladr the worst performing health board on waiting times, but this is a problem that has been growing every month since March of last year - there has been a 7% increase in those waiting for more than 6 months and a 4% increase for those waiting over 9 months in the most recent figures released last week for November 2013.
“With over 4,330 patients waiting more than 9 months until treatment in the Betsi Cadwaladr area, which is roughly 30% of the figure for the whole of Wales, there clearly is a major problem in the North which can only grow significantly after the cancellation of all non-emergency operations this week.
“There seems little chance of meeting the Welsh Government’s target of having just 5% waiting more than six months for treatment and nobody waiting over 9 months.”
* Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM Llyr Gruffydd said: “This announcement of opera tions being cancelled will do nothing to ease the growing sense of crisis at Betsi Cadwaladr and the NHS in the North. The recent tragic case of Mr Fred Pring highlighted yet again the delays ambulances are encountering in trying to get patients into hospitals.
“Plaid Cymru made it clear that last year’s closure of community hospital beds would put more and more pressure on the main three hospitals and we now see that Glan Clwyd, Bangor and Wrexham are unable to cope with increased seasonal demand and a growing ageing population. The message to GPs confirms that prolonged hospital admissions are causing bed blocking. How many of these patients could and should be moving out to community hospital beds?
“This latest cancellation of surgery just postpones the problem and creates further backlog. I don’t know to what extent this is a knee-jerk reaction to Mr Pring but it’s high time that the Welsh Health Minister got a grip of the situation here in North Wales.