Posted: Tue 4th Aug 2020

Updated: Tue 4th Aug

“12 deaths in Wrexham Maelor hospital in just the past five days” says North Wales MS questioning infection control methods for people living in or visiting the wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Aug 4th, 2020

A North Wales MS has said Health Board management updates given to him say there have been 12 coronavirus deaths in the local hospital in the last week.

The detail was given in a statement issued after several questions were put via a letter to the Health Board co-signed by the Plaid Cymru group on Wrexham Council, one query refers to a claim ‘staff were sent back to work on clean wards without being tested’ and another states “A&E” admissions were ‘put on wards before test results were in’. The letter observes, “BCUHB guidelines … have not percolated down to ward level”.

North Wales Plaid Cymru MS Llyr Gruffydd said: “Covid-19 updates from Betsi Cadwaladr health board’s management over the past week show that there have been 12 deaths in Wrexham Maelor hospital in just the past five days.”

“Questions by Plaid Cymru in the wake of the worrying rise in cases at the hospital have now been answered. They reveal that NHS staff who had been working on Covid-19 wards were not tested before returning to non-Covid-19 wards and it took some days for a regime of testing all patients to be introduced despite the rising number of cases.”

“The need to separate and isolate all patients either suspected or confirmed as having Covid-19 would seem a fairly basic requirement but the answers suggest that only patients with symptoms were being isolated. This is despite plenty of evidence that many cases will be asymptomatic and therefore capable of transmitting the disease. It seems a safety first approach has been slow in being adopted, despite the Maelor being the focus for the rise in cases in Wales over the past week or two. Why was there not a more radical approach taken to deal with this emerging problem when it was first identified?”

The Health Board reply to the first query in the letter to the Health Board is below:

The Health Board response to the question over ‘A&E’ admissions being placed on wards before tests known was, “Patients who are symptomatic and suspicious of COVID-19 are segregated from non-symptomatic patients. Symptomatic patients are swabbed using a rapid test and placed on the appropriate ward that accepts suspected patients until their results are available. If a patient is negative they move to a general ward, if a patient is positive they remain on a COVID-19 cohort ward. As of the 24th July, routine testing for all admissions via A&E commenced on the Maelor site.”

Minister for International Relations and Welsh Language, Eluned Morgan taking the briefing today.

We asked the Minister for International Relations and Welsh Language, Eluned Morgan two questions at today’s lunchtime briefing, firstly noting the response given above pointing to Public Health Wales guidance on testing. We pointed to the claim NHS staff who had been working on Covid-19 wards in Wrexham were not tested before returning to non-Covid-19 wards and asked for clarity on that point. With the topic area outside of her portfolio we asked the Minister for her personal view if NHS staff working on, or who have recently worked on Covid-19 wards should have regular tests.

The Minister replied, “Anybody who works in a hospital and certainly people who are moving from one part of the hospital to another will have to comply with the rules that have been set up by the Health Board. That means that they have to comply with rules on PPE, which means that they would have to go completely change their PPE protection if they were moving from one part of the hospital to another. So I think those measures are in place, and certainly as I say there has been an increase in testing in the Wrexham area.” has had separate sight of internal updates from the Health Board on the situation at the Maelor Hospital, that noted a week ago one read: “One COVID-19 positive patient discharged”.

On Friday the First Minister said action would be taken if rules were not followed by the public, and referred to people whose behaviour “becomes a threat to other people’s health”. Today the Minister gave a firm warning to businesses who do not comply to new rules, saying “we will take action to enforce the rules in Wales”. We asked the Minister if the Welsh Government warnings also cover health boards who discharge people with Covid-19 into the community.

The Minister replied, “Certainly we would take a very dim view of health boards who would not be ensuring that people when they are released are not, that it is important they are not carrying the virus. And therefore yes, we would take a very dim view on health boards that don’t comply with that.”

The internal updates also reference a range of work being carried out including “significant progress has been undertaken regards decluttering on the site” and “additional screens are being sourced to mitigate transmission”. We have asked the Health Board how decluttering is only now taking place, and also when the additional screens were requested, if they have turned up, and again how this is only taking place now.

The internal updates also refer to “additional surge capacity in line with our Covid-19 response plans is being actively explored, including the use of the temporary Enfys/Rainbow hospitals”, with the Daily Post asking if they will be used.

The Minister said, “We’re not in a situation yet where we need to use the field hospitals in that area but of course we are keeping an eye on the situation.”

You can view the full briefing and Q&A session below:


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