A general view of the main entrance at the Grange Hospital
A general view of the main entrance at the Grange Hospital Credit: LDRS

WALES’ newest hospital ran out of beds for the most critically ill patients during an overnight period this week. 

As a result bosses at the Grange Hospital, near Cwmbran, had to issue an urgent message asking people to stay away from the emergency department unless they were seriously injured or in a life-threatening situation. 

The alert was issued in the early hours of Monday morning, June 25 and Gwent’s Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said it was able to de-escalate the situation by 6am. 

A spokeswoman confirmed the message asking people to avoid attending at the hospital was issued due to a lack of specialist beds needed to treat patients who require resuscitation. 

The spokeswoman said the hospital had used the last of its “resus beds” which led to it asking people to avoid attending the hospital, which is known as a “state of business continuity”. 

A message shared, but since removed from the health board’s social media accounts, read its services were under “severe pressure” and “we’ve had to declare a state of ‘business continuity’.” 

The statement added: “We need to ask for your support and to only attend The Grange University Hospital if it is life threatening or you have a serious injury. Our Emergency Department is full of very poorly people and there are very long waits to see a doctor.” 

The health board spokeswoman said: “We declared business continuity status for a short period in the early hours of Monday, June 24 due to a lack of resuscitation capacity, in the context of significant pressures in Gwent and across other health board areas in Wales. 

“Fortunately, by 6am we were able to de-escalate the situation due to the availability of resuscitation capacity.” 

She added the hospital remains “busy” but the health board has returned to “business as usual” and thanked people for seeking alternatives to the emergency department such as the NHS 111 phone number and the board’s online guide to appropriate services. 

The 450-bed, £258 million Grange Hospital opened in 2020 and had been planned as a super hospital to care for the most sick and seriously injured patients in south east Wales. As a result traditional accident and emergency departments at Newport’s Royal Gwent and Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny were closed to centralise specialists at the Grange. 

However in September last year it was revealed there was no planning permission in place to function as a “walk-in” emergency department as health chiefs, who had spent more than 10 years planning the hospital, never imagined patients would take themselves there in the way they had traditionally used accident and emergency departments. 

As a result of people continuing to self-refer to the Grange, rather than only attending by ambulance or referral from health professionals, the Aneurin Bevan board applied to change its planning permission and was also granted permission for an two-storey extension to cope with additional demand from “walk-in” patients. 

Conservative candidate for Monmouthshire David Davies highlighted the emergency message in a post on his X, or Twitter, account. 

He posted: “A warning to all constituents. This is unacceptable but sadly a result of the closure of A&E units at Nevill Hall and the Royal Gwent Hospital.” 

The Aneurin Bevan spokeswoman defended the decision to centralise services at the Grange. She said: “The decision to move to one larger specialist acute facility at The Grange University Hospital including a centralised emergency department was carefully planned for many years to offer a more resilient and sustainable solution for the Gwent region.” 

Full list of candidates in Monmouthshire: 

  • Ioan Rhys Bellin, Plaid Cymru   
  • Ian Chandler, Green Party 
  • David Thomas Charles Davies, Welsh Conservative   
  • June Davies, True & Fair Party  
  • Catherine Ann Fookes 
  • Owen Lewis, Independent  
  • Emma Meredith, Heritage Party  
  • William Denston Powell, Welsh Liberal Democrats 
  • Max Windsor-Peplow Reform UK 

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