February went on record for the highest number of patients attending A&E departments across Wales during that month since records began in 2006.
That trend has continued in to March – with one day still to go more than 9,000 patients have attended A&E departments across the Cwm Taf area this month alone.
Kath McGrath, Assistant Director of Operations at Cwm Taf University Health Board said: “Our emergency care departments continue to face high levels of demand. This has been the case since January and has had a significant impact across all our clinical and social care settings.
“Our staff continue to work extremely hard to ensure those who need urgent care are prioritised and treated appropriately.
“We’re also asking the public to help us by only using A&E if they have a serious or life-threatening emergency.
“For everything else, there are other points of care including minor injuries, GPs, pharmacies, opticians, dentists, NHS Direct or even self care.”
People suffering with the winter vomiting bug norovirus are also being encouraged to avoid attending or visiting hospitals unless absolutely necessary.
Earlier this month Wales’ Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ruth Hussey, urged people to seek advice from the NHS Direct Wales telephone service (0845 46 47) about managing norovirus instead of attending accident and emergency departments.
Lynda Williams, Director of Nursing at Cwm Taf University Health Board said: “Over the past few weeks our hospitals across Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf have had to close a number of wards to prevent the spread of norovirus among vulnerable patients.
“Norovirus is a highly contagious community acquired virus which can spread rapidly, and some hospital patients could be particularly vulnerable.
“We are therefore asking people not to visit friends or relatives in hospital if they have experienced any sickness or diarrhoea in the last 48 hours.
“If someone has Norovirus, advice and information is available through NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or via local pharmacies.