A HEALTH Chief has shared his thoughts after looking back on the events of the last 12 months and what has changed as a result of the pandemic.

Geoff Ryall-Harvey, chief officer at the North Wales Community health Council, said people are now living "in a different world" from the one they did before the beginning of 2020.

He said: "At the very start of the pandemic there were lots of problems accessing pharmacies and GPs.

"Those, by and large, seem to have been resolved as people come to terms with the whole thing.

"We're in a different world - it no longer seems strange to stand outside the GP's room and have a consultation through a window.

"One of the great successes of covid has been video consultation; GPs got into that very quickly and it has become the norm now.

"The field hospitals have also been an absolute triumph. "To set up hospitals like that in such a short space of time was amazing. "For people who know what it takes to create a hospital, it's almost unbelievable that they did it.

"The vaccination programme has also been another great thing. "That's not to say there haven't been problems, but we're ahead.

"On the downside there have been various outbreaks and a backlog in operations and treatment.

"One of the worst things to happen was that about 1,700 mental health patients were discharged on-block across North Wales.

"The Community Health Council worked with the local Senedd members to highlight that and the policy was reversed.

"We have just done a series of engagements with mental health patients on Zoom and one of the things we have found is that communication and access to crisis care has been very difficult."

Mr Ryall-Harvey concluded: "NHS staff need the recognition of how hard they have worked. "A lot of them have continued to work right through the pandemic without a holiday.

"Particularly for those in the ITU, it has been a draining and stressful experience.

"It'll be an equally busy time for them when covid is gone because they will be dealing with the backlog of patients."