THE CHAIRMAN of Hywel Dda University Health board has issued an apology to patients who suffered cancelled operations at Withybush and three other hospitals earlier this year.

In January, the health board took the extraordinary decision to cancel all inpatient operations at Withybush, Aberystwyth’s Bronglais Hospital, Llanelli’s Prince Philip and Carmarthen’s Glangwili for several days due to winter pressure on the service.

Speaking at a meeting of the Hywel Dda University Health Board (HDUHB) on Thursday, January 30, chairman Maria Battle issued an apology to those affected.

“First and most important I would like to say sorry on behalf of the board and myself to our patients who had their operations postponed.

“We deeply regret the inconvenience this has caused our patients and their families and we are doing everything we can to reschedule those operations.

She added: “Just after the decision was made I made a visit to frontline staff in the A&E departments and all of them confirmed it was the right decision.

“It was the decision that helped keep patients safe.”

Ms Battle said that most emergency surgeries continued throughout the pressure.

Ms Battle went on to praise the staff at all the hospitals, calling it an “incredible and dedicated workforce across the board”.

She added: “Everyone is a team. Everyone is working their level best in the face of extraordinary demand and the care is exceptional and I know that will continue.”

HDUHB chief executive Steve Moore said they did not want to cancel operations but said it was necessary because the situation had reached the “highest level of escalation”.

Mr Moore added that pressures were returning to normal, but remained busy.