NON-URGENT operations, procedures, and outpatient appointments have been postponed by the health board.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has made the decision to focus resources on an expected increase in Covid-19 patients who need hospital care.

Postponements across North Wales will began on Thursday, March 19 and the Health Board will contact every patient whose planned care procedure or appointment has been postponed.

Simon Dean, Interim Chief Executive, said: “As part of our preparations to care for an anticipated increase in the number of patients with Covid-19, we have made the very difficult decision to start postponing non-urgent surgery and outpatient appointments. This is in line with national guidance."

Patients are advised not contact hospitals or departments to find out if their procedure has been postponed to ensure staff can focus on preparations.

However, the health board will be prioritising those patients across North Wales who are in need of the most urgent care, for example people in need of cancer treatment.

Dr David Fearnley, Executive Medical Director said: “We know that there are many people expecting to undergo a procedure or examination over the coming weeks, who in some cases have already waited a long time. We are extremely sorry for any disruption, anxiety or discomfort this decision may cause.

“We will be doing all we can to prioritise patients in the most urgent need of care.

“I want to thank people across North Wales for their continued support and understanding of the unprecedented challenges we face in tackling Covid-19.

“We would ask you to please continue to follow the national advice and guidance provided by Public Health Wales, as well as checking local information about service availability provided by the Health Board.”