WQ86364 (e) Tabled on 21/10/2022

Will the Minister make a statement on the frequency of emergency department black alerts and how the Government plans to reduce them?

Answered by Minister for Health and Social Services | Answered on 01/11/2022

On Monday 3 October, the health and social care system was under extreme pressure which led to three acute hospital sites declaring a ‘black alert /business continuity incident’. These were Prince Charles Hospital, Merthyr Tydfil; Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend; and Morriston Hospital, Swansea. All three sites deescalated to escalation status level 4 within 24 hours following actions taken in line with the national escalation and de-escalation framework.

The declaration of such alerts in Wales is extremely rare. However, you will be aware peaks in extreme pressure and declarations of business continuity or major incidents are not unique to Wales with several Trusts in England having declared such alerts in recent days and weeks.

In support of delivery by Health Boards of resilient urgent and emergency care services, the Welsh Government has invested an additional £25m in recurrent funding. A further £3m has been allocated to the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust for 100 additional frontline staff, all of which will become operational this Winter. A national programme has also been established to support Health Boards deliver safe, effective and timely urgent and emergency care safe services in line with our six policy goals for these essential services.