After experiencing its most difficult period of the entire Covid-19 pandemic in December, the boss of Welsh Ambulance Service says they are still under “extreme pressure”.
At one stage, 400 staff – 12% of all workers – were sick or self-isolating.
Jason Killens said this was exacerbated by high call numbers and “significant delays” handing patients to hospitals.
The chief executive said it meant “patients with less serious conditions waited much longer than we would like”.
Mr Killens said the pressure is now “palpably less” compared to last month, but admitted difficult weeks lie ahead.
“December was probably the most pressurised period during the whole pandemic for a number of reasons,” he said.
“Staff that were symptomatic or isolating, that’s been at its peak in December.
“We’ve seen more work both in the 111 and 999 service, that is patients contacting us with Covid-related symptoms, and of course because of the pressure on the rest of the NHS, we’ve seen extended handover at some of our emergency departments and what that’s meant regrettably is some less serious patients have waited a lot longer in the community than I would have expected.”