AN INTENSIVE care consultant at the Grange University Hospital has given an update on what it is like working on the NHS Wales frontline as staff absences due to Covid continue to rise.

Dr Ami Jones gave the update on the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board Facebook page following the news that nearly 1,500 staff members across the health board were currently off sick or isolating.

“Like everywhere in the UK at the moment, the system is really really busy, and that's all the way through the hospital,” she said.

“It's very busy and it's been made worse actually by the fact that about 10 per cent of our staff are off sick at the moment and a good proportion of that is people who are getting Covid.

“Unfortunately, when you do your lateral flow tests, it’s really short notice.

"I do my lateral flow test just before I come to work and if that’s positive, I then need to find cover for what I'm supposed to come in and do.

“So we’ve had lots and lots of instances of staff having to call in sick at the very last minute, which is really hard to cover.

“Our emergency department is particularly under stress. They've had the same thing happen, so they’ve had quite a lot of their night team call in sick as they've got Covid, so they’re really really stretched.

"They were very busy anyway, but now they're really understaffed.

“They are really short staffed and really busy. They've already got lots of ambulances outside.

"They are having to give patients treatment in ambulances that they'd rather give inside but there’s just no space. It’s getting pretty tense and difficult inside.”

When asked how staff are coping at the moment, Dr Jones said: “We all just feel like we're doing our job.

“We’re having to go a little bit above and beyond, particularly with short notice sick leave.

"That’s really tough, you think you've got plans, you think you've got something to do, and then suddenly one of your colleagues goes off sick and suddenly you're covering their shift.

“But all the staff here across the health board are working really really hard so I just want to say thanks to them - keep going guys, we will get through this.

“And to the people at home, thank you ever so much. I know that most people have been really sensible and they're getting tests if they feel poorly and they're doing lateral flow tests and thinking about what they're doing.

“I think everyone is doing their bit and we've just got to keep doing it, because we're still not quite at the peak of the wave - there’s a lot of omicron still going round.”

Dr Jones asked that people consider whether they need to attend A&E at the Grange.

“Obviously if you're sick, if you're super sick, please come, we will sort you out,” she said.

"Sick patients will get dealt with in a timely fashion.

“But people get treated on priority, so if you're not super sick it may take some time to get to you. So think of other places to seek help.”

Patients can attend minor injury units at the Royal Gwent Hospital, Nevill Hall Hospital, Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr in Ystrad Mynach or Ysbyty Aneurin Bevan in Ebbw Vale.

Alternatively, they can call 111, or contact their GP or a pharmacy.