THE crucial and often lifesaving role played by critical care units in Wales in the battle against coronavirus is best illustrated in numbers.

NHS staff working in such units in hospitals across Wales - including at the Royal Gwent in Newport and Nevill Hall in Abergavenny - are specialists in their field, providing round-the-clock expert care to very sick and injured people.

During the coronavirus crisis they have been working flat out to deal with an unprecedented situation, and the figures below give an idea of the demand faced in the past couple of months:

  • 506 - the number of people who have been treated in critical care for coronavirus in Wales since the beginning of the pandemic, to May 27;
  • 42 - the number of people currently being treated in critical care who have coronavirus. The majority of people being treated in critical care do not have coronavirus, as of May 27;
  • 75 per cent of people with coronavirus who are admitted to critical care are mechanically ventilated within first 24 hours;
  • 11 days - the average length of time that someone with coronavirus needs respiratory support in critical care;
  • 85 per cent of people with coronavirus who needed respiratory support in critical care received advanced support and 44 per cent received basic respiratory support.
  • Nearly 5,500 - the number of people who have been discharged from hospital, including critical care, after receiving treatment for coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, as of May 27.


Some predictions about the effect of coronavirus have not been realised:

  • Fewer than 10 per cent of people admitted to hospital with coronavirus are admitted to critical care. Initial projections at the start of the pandemic were that this figure would be much higher;
  • 56 - the average age of someone with coronavirus being treated in critical care. It was thought that this would be considerably higher.

The peak of infections has passed in Wales - though cases and deaths continue to occur - and this, along with the extra critical care capacity that has been created, means that:

  • 354 critical care beds are open and available in hospitals in Wales as of May 27;
  • 62 per cent of NHS Wales critical care beds are currently empty and available for use if required, as of May 27.

“Critical care staff have been at the sharp end of the pandemic and I want to thank them all for their exceptional efforts and for the care they have provided - not just at the peak of the pandemic, but every day to all those people whose lives depend on it,” said Dr Andrew Goodall, chief executive of NHS Wales.