Waiting times at a Welsh hospital's accident and emergency department were so long on at least one day this week that some people were leaving before seeing a doctor. People were said to be facing severe delays to be seen after turning up at Morriston Hospital's A&E in Swansea.

On Monday, March 18, patients reported a more than nine-hour delay and still more than 80 people waiting to be seen at 2pm. There was said to be a similar issue on Saturday, March 16, when people were waiting for seven hours. Swansea Bay University Health Board said the hospital's emergency department was experiencing very high demand, adding that staff were "working tirelessly" to help those in need.

One patient waiting for treatment said: "Triage staff were weeding out the less serious cases and these were treated by nursing staff. There were regular announcements that only one person could stay with a patient because there was no empty seating available for the sick and injured. Tempers frayed at times, but on the whole those waiting for treatment were quietly accepting of the situation." For the latest health news, sign up to our newsletter here.

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A spokeswoman for Swansea Bay University Health Board said: "Morriston Hospital’s emergency department (ED) is continuing to experience very high demand, which means waits for some people are much longer than we would like them to be. We understand this is frustrating and would like to thank the public for their continued patience and support.

"A number of factors affect waiting times, with the most significant being the high number of extremely unwell patients we are treating and bed availability in the wider hospital. We are facing challenges with both at the moment, as is the wider NHS across Wales. However, staff are working tirelessly across the health board and with partners to ensure those patients who have completed their acute care are moved to a more appropriate setting, such as a step-down bed in a care home or in one of our eight virtual wards in the community. This will help us to free up the beds needed for our seriously ill patients who are waiting.

"Patients are always triaged following their arrival in ED and it is normal practice for nurses with the appropriate skills to see those patients who do not need to be seen by a doctor. And, as we are so busy, it’s vital we maximise the space available for patient care and that chairs are available for patients who are waiting, so we kindly ask that patients have no more than one person with them for support.

"The public can help us by using alternatives to the ED, such as the Minor Injury Unit at Neath Port Talbot Hospital, which can treat anyone aged one and over with minor injuries to the body such as sprains, cuts, minor burns, bites, broken bones, dislocations of the shoulder, fingers and toes and head and facial injuries with no loss of consciousness. However, it cannot treat patients with chest pains, breathing difficulties or strokes. For more general advice and an online symptom checker, go to NHS 111 online. Pharmacists are also experts in medicine and are trained to give advice on treatments for a number of minor ailments." Join our WhatsApp news community here for the latest breaking news.