​HEALTH care workers in North Wales are being encouraged to carry on working at home whenever possible, and risk assessments are being carried out for all staff.

In a report to this week’s meeting of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board on , Thursday, July 23, finance director Eric Gardiner details the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the finances and performance of the Board, stressing that the safety of the workforce is fundamental to the organisation.

“A risk assessment process is in place for all staff to ensure they are not placed at greater risk through their deployment in the organisation,” he said.

“This risk assessment reflects the additional risk factors for BAME and other vulnerable members of staff. This is particularly important as we move as a nation from formal shielding of clinically vulnerable people and the additional protections provided by ‘lockdown’ for those in other vulnerable groups e.g. over-70s, pregnant women etc.”

Staffing levels are being continually monitored and as many as possible being encouraged to work from home.

“Informed by this, we have taken the decision to continue to restrict the numbers of staff attending the workplace, particularly in healthcare settings, and have plans to continue to support staff who are able to undertake their role remotely, either in full or part, to do so,” Mr Gardiner added.

The report also outlines what plans are being drawn up for the expected “second peak” in Covid-19 cases which, it is feared, could coincide with the usual seasonal winter illnesses, increasing the pressure on GPs and hospitals.

Mr Gardiner said: “Specific work is underway to ensure that our flu vaccination programme this year, which will be challenging, is adequately resourced, since this will reduce the impact of surge activity for the rest of the year.”

With the Welsh Government expected to meet the additional £133.9m cost of the response to the pandemic, the Board is still facing a deficit of £40m this financial year.

Setting up the three temporary field hospitals in Llandudno, Bangor and Wrexham cost £59.1m, and decommissioning them is expected to cost an extra £2.2m.