PATIENTS waiting at Newport’s Royal Gwent Hospital accident and emergency department this week were turned away because of a lack of doctors.

A woman, who did not want to be named, visited the emergency room on the advice of police after a car accident on Monday, suffering from a swollen wrist and pain in her knees, back, neck and hips.

She was seen by a triage nurse around 3.30pm who told her she needed to see a doctor.

But she said around 8pm she and around 25 others in the waiting room were addressed by a nurse practitioner who apologised that no doctors were available because they had been called to the ‘majors’ unit to deal with more serious cases.

The nurse explained she could treat those only with very minor injuries and all others would have to return in the morning or wait to be treated - but admitted she had no idea what time that would be.

As a result the injured woman went home without seeing anyone and had to make her own neck brace.

She said: "I was shocked, I totally appreciate that if a major accident come in and the majors team are busy that they need to doctors to see people, but I would have thought that in this day and age a hospital would have enough doctors."

A spokesman for the Aneurin Bevan Health Board said doctors were on duty on Monday night but said the health board, along with others in south east Wales had experienced "exceptional demand".

He added: "Depending on the nature and volume of patients attending, doctors are sometimes relocated from our minor injuries department to our 'majors' emergency department on the site when the volume and acuity of patients require this.

"During periods of extreme pressure, our staff do make patients aware of the potential for a prolonged wait and where appropriate they are made aware of the availability of alternative services."