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16 April 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

People with serious non-coronavirus conditions may be avoiding A&E, NHS Wales warns

By Samuel Horti

The chief executive of NHS Wales has expressed concern that people who need urgent treatement in A&E for ilnesses unrelated to Covid-19 are instead staying home.

A&E attendance figures are at 60 per cent of this time last year, and the number of patients attending GP surgeries is down between 20 and 25 per cent. Andrew Goodall warned that people “may be waiting too long to seek urgent assessment and treatment”.

His comments mirror minutes of a meeting of A&E chiefs in London, obtained by the Guardian. “People don’t want to go near hospital,” the document said. “As a result salvageable conditions are not being treated.”

Goodall said that nearly half of hospital beds in Wales were empty, and that a field hospital set up at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium had not treated any patients because existing NHS hospitals were coping.

Asked whether Wales had reached the peak of coronavirus, Goodall said there were “encouraging signs”.

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“We hope it’s possible we may be seeing some stabilisation soon but I think it’s too early to call whether that is the peak of the curve and whether there may be some other times during the course of the year where we may see some of this curve up here again.”

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