DOCTORS in Gwent have warned increasing Covid case numbers could “tip the balance” for stretched hospital services this winter.

Having recently delivered their 100,000th autumn booster jab, experts at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) have warned there is “still a way to go”.

They are urging residents who have been offered a Covid-19 autumn booster, as well as a flu vaccination, to “come forward without delay” in order to protect themselves and those around them who may be vulnerable.

Dr Ami Jones, intensive care consultant at ABUHB, has emphasised the impact of increasing Covid-19 and flu cases on services in Gwent.

“Our hospitals are busy and have been all summer,” she said. “As we head into winter, people getting seriously sick with flu or Covid could really tip the balance and cause immense pressure to our hospitals.

Free Press Series: Dr Ami Jones, intensive care consultant, said Covid could cause 'immense pressure' to hospitals in

“Whether it is our staff or our communities, if you are eligible for flu and Covid vaccinations, take it now.”

Against a backdrop of growing deficits, operational pressures and long waiting lists, Welsh health and social services minister Eluned Morgan MS bumped ABUHB up to “enhanced monitoring” for planning and finance this September.

From Monday, August 21, to Sunday, November 19, ABUHB reported 73 Covid hospital admissions, 56 of whom were aged 60 or over.

From January 3, 2020, to October 27, 2023, the health board registered 2,359 deaths with Covid-19 mentioned on the death certificate. Wales reported 12,236 Covid deaths in that time.

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ABUHB deputy medical director Dr Liam Taylor has thanked staff after getting his own autumn booster at the Newport Vaccination Centre.

Dr Taylor said: “Thank you to everyone who has taken up the offer of a vaccination so far and to the amazing staff who have worked tirelessly to roll out our Winter Vaccination Programme this year.

“You have all played a vital role in keeping Gwent protected over winter.

“For people who are eligible for autumn booster or flu vaccinations but have yet to receive them – we would really urge you to take the opportunity now.”

For more information on Covid-19 Autumn Boosters and Flu vaccinations, including eligibility, visit