HYWEL Dda University Health Board is urging residents in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire to use alternative healthcare services in the community wherever possible to reduce pressure on emergency departments.

During the recent festive period the board put additional medical and support staff in place to manage increased demand at this busy time of the year.

However, it is also urging anyone with a non-urgent medical complaint to help by making full use of alternative community services such as community pharmacists or by self care at home when appropriate, ensuring that the GP out of hours service and hospital A&E departments are used for urgent care only.

Dr Roger Diggle, deputy medical director at Hywel, said: “Our hospitals are currently seeing high volumes of very unwell patients and we are taking all action possible to ensure that they are provided with the care they need.”

GP practices in the area are also facing higher than normal requests for home visits and appointments and patients are also asked to consider whether they can get to the practice to be seen to help ensure that all patients can access the care that they need.

Infection prevention specialists are reminding people not to visit patients in hospitals and care homes if they have been feeling unwell, in order to limit the spread of conditions such as Norovirus and flu.