THE health board for Gwent has urged people to avoid its emergency department this evening unless their condition is life-threatening.

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board says it is under sustained and unprecedented pressure and has declared a state of ‘business continuity’.

In a social media post, the health board said its emergency department at The Grange hospital is extremely busy and that bed space was in short supply.

“We have seen a record number of attendances, and waits to see a doctor, in some cases, are greater than 14 hours where the patients condition isn’t life threatening,” the statement reads.

“We have very few beds available across our hospitals to accommodate patients requiring admission.

“We need to ask for your support and to only attend The Grange hospital if it is a life threatening or you have a serious injury.

“Only attend the emergency department if you have severe breathing difficulties, severe chest pain or bleeding, chest pain or a suspected stroke, serious trauma injuries.

“If you have a less serious injury then please visit one of our minor injury units in Newport, Abergavenny or Ystrad Mynach.

“If you have a loved one in hospital who is deemed medically fit to be discharged, please consider taking them home and caring for them.

"If your loved one is medically fit to be discharged, then hospital is not the best place for them to be – they will recover better at home. If your loved one is medically fit for discharge, our staff will contact you to discuss the next steps.

"We are asking families to help in this way because it is best for their loved one and will free up hospital beds for sick patients who need to be admitted to hospital.

"Please help us to make our service safer by sharing this information with friends and family."