PLANNED operations are now believed to be running as normal at hospitals across North Wales.

Earlier this month, the Journal reported that elective surgical procedures had been temporarily postponed at Abergele Hospital as staff had been temporarily relocated to Glan Clwyd Hospital to help.

Patients - due to undergo routine operations at Glan Clwyd Hospital, Wrexham Maelor and Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor - also saw their operations postponed last week. Cancellations were due to pressures in emergency departments

A spokesperson from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB), which has been in special measures since 2015, said: "At the moment, no operations are being postponed in our three acute hospitals due to pressures in our Emergency Departments.

"Due to high emergency demand over the Christmas and New Year period, we temporarily relocated some of our staff from Abergele Hospital to Glan Clwyd Hospital. As a result, a small number of elective surgical procedures which were due to take place at Abergele Hospital were postponed.

"We can confirm planned operations are now running as normal at Abergele Hospital.

"We know that the post-Christmas period is always one of high demand and pressure on our services, which is why we have robust plans in place to manage this, such as scheduling fewer operations.

"Our staff are dealing with extraordinary levels of pressure on a daily basis and are doing the best they can to provide safe care in very challenging circumstances. We thank them wholeheartedly for their efforts."

The spokesperson added: "There are many non-clinical reasons for cancelling operations in hospitals, such as no beds available on the ward, no critical care beds available or an emergency case had to take priority in the operating theatre."

Darren Millar, AM for Clwyd West, said: "Common sense dictates – and history shows – that with harsh weather comes increased demand.

"All Health Boards are fully aware of this and should be properly prepared to deal with it, yet there is chaos within our hospitals at this time of year, every year."

Mr Millar sent a letter to BCUHB before Christmas after being contacted by a concerned clinicians. He has received a response from Gary Doherty, chief executive of the heath board.

It states: "We are not restricting the surgical bed capacity. We are however adjusting the balance of inpatient admissions and day cases for our planned surgical activity, and restricting the number of inpatient surgical bookings to five patients per day with the most time-critical conditions, which includes those patients with cancer.

“It is predictable that in the first two weeks of January demand for medical inpatient beds will exceed the allocated capacity for these specialities, and some medical patients will need to be nursed in surgical wards.

"By reducing the number of patients scheduled for planned inpatient surgical admissions during this period, we can reduce the likelihood of these patients being subjected to multiple cancellations if the beds are needed for emergency medical admissions, while prioritising inpatient surgical care for those patients who need it the most. At the same time, by planning to focus on day cases we aim to maximise surgical activity over this period."

Information on the best source of treatment can be found by calling NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47. Further advice on where to seek medical attention can be found on the Choose Well website (www.choosewellwales.org.uk) or through the free Choose Well Wales app.