A&E waiting times on the rise at Swansea's Morriston Hospital and Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend
PATIENTS are having to wait longer than before to be seen at a Swansea A&E department.
Worried staff have been raising major concerns following the worsening figures at both the Morriston Hospital unit, along with the department at Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.
Latest figures released by the Welsh Government show only 80.1 per cent of patients were seen in November within four hours compared to 81.3 per cent in October.
Meanwhile, the figures against the waiting time target stood at 81.6 per cent for Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, compared to the October figure of 84.7 per cent.
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One Morriston Hospital worker, who did not want to be named, claimed the continuing problems were a direct knock-on effect from the change to acute medical services at Neath Port Talbot Hospital.
But an Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board spokeswoman said the changes were driven by a doctor shortage, which meant the service would not be safe to continue.
She added that rising cases of sickness and diarrhoea had sparked ward closures and led to a reduction of beds.
The hospital worker said: "The A&E performance following the closure of the acute medical intake in Neath has led to a deterioration in Morriston Hospital and Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.
"They are among the worst performers in Wales — only 80.1 per cent of patients at Morriston Hospital are seen within four hours.
"And in Princess of Wales, Bridgend, 81.6 per cent of patients were seen in four hours.
"It's like the bad old days at Morriston, but it's never been so bad in Bridgend.
"The number of patients attending University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff is double that at Morriston and they achieved 90 per cent.
"It's fairly disastrous."
However, an Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board spokeswoman said: "The urgent change to the acute medicine service at Neath Port Talbot Hospital was driven by a shortage of doctors, which meant it would have been unsafe for the service to continue. This was the view of our most senior doctors, and it would have been irresponsible for ABMU to have ignored it.
"There are many factors which influence waiting times in our departments. This month in particular we have seen an increase in the number of cases of sickness and diarrhoea meaning we have had to take action to close wards, which has reduced our available beds."