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MS team make life easier for patients

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Morriston-HospitalA TEAM based at Morriston Hospital has tapped into technology to allow patients to ‘attend’ clinics without leaving home.

Getting to hospital for appointments is not always easy for anyone living in rural areas – and even more so for those with multiple sclerosis.

Now the regional MS team has won a prestigious award for making access much easier through the use of smart phones and tablets.

The team may be based in Morriston but it covers the ABMU and Hywel Dda areas, looking after people living as far north as Ceredigion.

Video conferencing facilities have been used for many years to allow Morriston staff to hold clinics in Bronglais Hospital in Aberystwyth.

This was increased in 2012 with the support of the MS Society, reducing traveling time and costs for the clinicians – but with no additional benefit to patients as they still had to get to Bronglais.

Last year, with the support of a pharmaceutical company, the team piloted the use of iPads for patients to have a consultation from either their home or their place of work.

Lead MS specialist nurse Helen Owen said: “When people with MS first start on disease modifying therapy they need to be seen regularly for blood monitoring. We also need to be sure their injection sites are okay and that they are tolerating their treatment well. They are seen one month after they start, then eight weeks after that and then three months so it’s a big commitment to make. We run clinics in Bronglais Hospital and have outreach clinics in other locations but that still means the patient has to travel. If they live in rural areas the condition of the roads could make attendance difficult, then there is their disability to consider.”

The pharmaceutical company’s support meant the team was able to buy iPads, which can be used to link with the patient’s tablet or phone.

Helen said: “Patients go to their local hospital or GP to have their bloods taken. We can then use the iPads to have a chat with them. If they are having problems with their injection sites, for example, they can show us. It’s much easier for them. One patient who is in work was able to have her review using the iPad from her office so she didn’t even have to take any time off.”

The service is available to patients in both ABMU and Hywel Dda health board areas. Surveys have confirmed they were all either satisfied or very satisfied with their experience.

Nicola Jones, from Llanelli, said: “It was great to not have the hassle of driving to clinic and find parking. Also, I had my consultation while I was at work so there was very little down time.”

The MS team has now won the best poster award at the national MS Trust Conference for its work developing the iPad clinics.

Dr Owen Pearson, consultant neurologist and clinical lead, said: “This is an important advance in developing both a patient centred and responsive service, as well as improving efficacy. The recent MS society report My MS, My Needs raised the difficulties people with MS living in rural areas face in accessing specialist services. The introduction of modern technology into clinical practice has improved this access.”

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Baroness visits New Quay RNLI

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ON Friday afternoon (4 October) Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist paid a special visit to New Quay Lifeboat Station to meet key crew members and to see the workings of the all-weather lifeboat station.

Having recently been appointed as the House of Lords’ spokesperson for the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales, Baroness Bloomfield was keen to visit the lifeboat station while passing through Ceredigion.

Baroness Bloomfield said, “The RNLI is a shining example of a voluntary organisation that goes above and beyond to save lives, serving as an inspiration to us all.

“It was an honour to meet the brave crew and lifeguards and those working behind the scenes at the New Quay RNLI Lifeboat Station. Their work to educate, supervise and rescue anyone at risk at sea across the UK and internationally is truly priceless.”

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager added, “It was great to show the Baroness around the station and chat about our operations here in Cardigan Bay. We hope she can visit again soon.”

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Aberystwyth University hosts debate on the Constitution Reform Group’s Act of Union Bill

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WITH Halloween and Britain’s impending departure from the EU looming, and with it a potential constitutional crisis between the four nations of the UK, a proposed new constitutional settlement for the UK will be the focus for debate at Aberystwyth University on Thursday 24 October 2019.

Joining leading constitutional expert Sir Paul Silk to discuss The Constitution Reform Group’s Act of Union Bill will be former Labour Ministers Lord Hain and Gisela Stuart and former First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones AM.

The Bill has been described by The Times journalist Iain Martin as “the first attempt to devise a coherent plan for what happens after many powers return from the European Union”.

It proposes a new federal structure for the UK and establishes the principle of self-determination for the nations and parts of the United Kingdom.

It also makes the case for radical reform and possible abolition of the House of Lords as well as a fairer distribution of tax collected by the centre.

Hosted by the University’s Centre for Welsh Politics and Society and chaired by Professor Emyr Lewis, Head of the Department of Law and Criminology, the debate takes place at Old College and runs from 6 until 8pm.

For more information, see attached news release or go online: https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/news/archive/2019/10/title-226343-en.html

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New Young Ambassador leaders trained

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104 new young Ambassadors attended training at three different venues across Ceredigion to begin their Young Ambassador leadership pathway.

The Young Ambassador leadership pathway is implemented across all schools in Ceredigion and begins at Bronze level, which starts in years five and six at primary school and progresses in secondary school with the levels of Sports Crew, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

The Young Ambassador programme, delivered by Ceredigion Actif, aims to empower and inspire young people to become leaders through sport and help encourage their peers to become hooked on keeping fit.

Aberystwyth Bronze Young Ambassadors, Lampeter Bronze Young Ambassadors, Bro Sion Cwilt Bronze Young Ambassadors

During the training days, they prepare their ‘pledges’ for the year ahead and these action plans are announced to the rest of the school’s pupils and their parents. They then return to school and start organising activities and events to encourage more children to get active.

The training includes information on picking teams, how to encourage everyone to get involved, Disability Inclusion and Ceredigion Actif programmes such as Fit in 5 and the QR Codes which encourage skill development in early years.

All Bronze Young Ambassadors are tasked with arranging sports and skills for other year 5 & 6 pupils at sports festivals held around the county. Autumn term festivals are for years 5 & 6, Spring term festivals are for years 3 & 4 and Summer term festivals are for foundation phase children. They are also required to run lunchtime and after school clubs back at their schools.

Alwyn Davies is Active Young People Manager for Ceredigion County Council. He said “We’re really excited with this new group of young leaders. Now that they’ve attended the training days, they are ready to start delivering opportunities back at their schools. They will mostly lead lunchtime and after school clubs with the aim of getting more children active, creating an interest in health and wellbeing and improving children’s confidence to try a wide range of activities.

“In their first month, we will be asking them to work with us to provide a range of activities at our multi sports festival. This will be a useful way of mentoring them slowly as they start to achieve results. They have received their polo shirts and are eager to start on the leadership ladder.”

Councillor Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member responsible for Leisure Services. She said, “I’m very impressed to see the vast amount of young people interested in being Young Ambassadors. Fitness and well-being are key to the development of young people, and these new young Bronze Ambassadors will be role models in Ceredigion schools. I wish them the very best.”

For more information, or to learn more about opportunities that are available to you, go over to Ceredigion Actif’s Facebook and Twitter pages or visit their website on www.ceredigionactif.org.uk. You can also contact Alwyn Davies, Active Young People Manager on 01970 633 695 or by e-mail on Alwyn.Davies@ceredigion.gov.uk.

 

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