“IT’S impossible to get into hospital and then to get out of it,” a councillor has said.

At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Social Service scrutiny committee on Thursday, November 18, councillors received a six-monthly update on the work of the Regional Partnership Board.

The board includes representatives from all social services departments of Gwent’s local authorities as well as representatives of the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.

Earlier in the meeting the council’s director of social services Damien McCann, had already told councillors about a crisis in care due to a lack of workers, he explained that this issue was also having a knock-on effect in hospitals.

In recent weeks queues of ambulances waiting at times for many hours, to deliver injured and sick people into hospital care have become commonplace, in Gwent and indeed the whole of the UK.

Mr McCann said: “This crisis is multi-faceted, with blockages in hospital because of no capacity in the domiciliary care market to meet new packages of care for those coming out of hospital.

“We believe that the difficulty of some people being able to obtain a GP appointment may have increased the demand at Accident and Emergency units.

“The shortages of beds and increased demand at Accident and Emergencies has resulted in ambulances waiting outside hospitals to discharge patients into hospital.”

He added that as well as the military being brought in to drive ambulances, freeing up paramedics to treat injured or sick people, police officers were now also taking patients from incidents to hospital.

This has resulted in police officers also being stuck in Accident and Emergency until patients have been seen by hospital staff.

Cllr Bob Summers said: “There are people dying who wouldn’t if they got proper care.”

Mr McCann said: “We would not want to be in this position but it’s what’s happening.”

Blaenau Gwent’s head of adult social services Alyson Hoskins told councillors that several meetings a week were taking place with health board executives.

These talks are about discharging patients as “rapidly” as possible.

Ms Hoskyns said:  “We are also offering overtime evening and weekend work to all of our existing staff so that we can hopefully try to alleviate some of the pressures in the system.

“Discharging people to a safe environment such as a care home if they are unable to go to their own home, is also considered.”

These decisions were being made so that people aren’t in hospital any “longer than they need to.”

Ms Hoskyns added that the offering extra work to their staff isn’t always a solution as “we can’t always get the staff to meet the demand.”

Cllr Derrick Bevan told the committee: “My neighbour broke a bone in her foot.

“She went to Ebbw Vale hospital; it took five hours but as they couldn’t do X-Rays she was transferred to The Grange where they said there was a bed ready.

“He son in law sat in the car for 17 hours and she was in a wheelchair for that time before anyone saw her.

“They then put a boot on her foot and sent her to Nevill Hall hospital.

“Her son in law and daughter lost a day’s work just sitting down there,

“It’s a catch-22 situation you can’t get into hospital, and you can’t get out.”

Mr McCann said: “The whole system is the problem it’s all interlinked and if you have a problem in one area it creates tensions in others.”

Mr McCann added that he had hoped that health board executives could come to a meeting to discuss issues with the councillors before Christmas.

But had been told that they would only be available to attend a meeting in February next year.