Emergency medicine consultants from across Wales have written to the first minister to warn that safety is being compromised in their departments.
Forty-six doctors from six health boards have signed the letter – representing three quarters of Welsh consultants in the specialty.
A similar letter was written to the prime minister by doctors in England and Wales last week.
They write: ‘The letter sent to the prime minister mentioned the many reports in the media of how appalling the situation has become in many departments.
‘The emergency departments in Wales are no exception – indeed, in some ways the situation is even worse.
‘The four-hour target figures for best-performing hospitals are similar to those from some of the worst performing hospitals in England.’
The doctors apologise to patients in the letter for being unable to provide a safe and efficient emergency service.
They also say there are not enough ward beds meaning patients are often stuck in emergency medicine and that staff are often reduced to tears.
The letter says: ‘We feel compelled, as our colleagues in England did, to speak out in support of our hardworking and dedicated nursing, medical and allied health professional colleagues, and to share the very serious concerns we have for the safety of our patients.
‘Safety is currently compromised in all of our departments to an unacceptable degree. This is despite the enormous efforts made by our staff to keep patients safe in extremely challenging circumstances.’
Health secretary Vaughan Gething said: ‘Our NHS has continued to perform under exceptional pressure in delivering emergency and scheduled care.’
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