STATISTICS show that Omicron continues to have a huge impact on the Welsh NHS, with extreme pressure currently being felt across the system.

The average time spent in emergency departments in December was the second longest on record and saw the seventh consecutive month, where over 100 immediately life-threatening calls were made to the ambulance service each day.

Continuing demand and decreased staffing levels have put considerable pressure on our healthcare workers and the NHS’s ability to deliver care.

BMA Cymru’s most recent survey showed that 84 per cent of respondents said they were extremely or very concerned about the NHS’s ability to deliver urgent and acute care to non-covid patients, whilst 66 per cent said clinical colleagues had recently taken sick leave or isolated due to Omicron, with significant or moderate impact on patient care.

Healthcare workers are exhausted, and the task ahead in tackling the backlog in the system is monumental.

The figures show there is some light in the Omicron tunnel. Covid related admissions are falling and the number of patients completing their treatment was the highest since the start of the pandemic.

We must do all we can to ensure Covid rates continue to fall – wearing masks, distancing and importantly, getting vaccinated.

Welsh Government must do all it can to keep the service running – and must reconsider its position on PPE for those on the frontline.

We must ensure healthcare workers are fully protected and issued with FFP2 grade masks as a minimum standard and FFP3 for those treating Covid.

Staff must be given appropriate protection so they can deliver the care our patients need.

Dr David Bailey,

Chair, BMA Welsh Council

Via email