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‘Once in a lifetime’ reorganisation planned by Health Board

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THE LOCAL Health Board is embarking on a ‘once in a lifetime’ reorganisational plan which is looking at all potential options to ‘change the status quo and focus on improving health’ of locals.

This will involve, a press release has revealed, transferring more hospital services into the community where appropriate.

This is part of a strategy that the Health Board is looking into, to help solve an acute recruitment problem which is putting a great deal of pressure on the way that the Heath Board operates – and is leading to an untenable level of use of costly temporary staff to plug gaps and services.

In the summer of 2017, the Health Board embarked in an engagement with the public called ‘The Big Conversation’ which involved public workshops and drop-ins being held across the three counties of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

The Health Board now says the it has independently analysed opinions of the general public and has been using that data to explore, challenge and test different scenarios.

It is yet to be seen what these changes will mean for end service users.

The Herald understands it is likely to mean hospital services being reduced or cut, and replaced with community alternatives.

The Health Board has said it will not make any changes, unless it can guarantee the safety of the people which it serves.

The Health Board has insisted that no preferred option for change has yet been determined, and nothing has been signed off or agreed at this stage.

Medical Director Dr Philip Kloer said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our health service and community to work together to design an NHS which is fit for our generation and beyond. It has been acknowledged for some time across the UK that healthcare services are challenged like never before and we need significant change. Indeed this has been recognised in the recently published ‘Parliamentary Review of Health & Social Care’ here in Wales.

“We need to develop more proactive, resilient and better resourced local community services to support and improve people’s health and wellbeing, and avoid deterioration where possible. This will involve closer working with our partners, particularly colleagues in social care. We are also looking at ways of providing the most modern clinical practice, using the latest digital, technological, and new scientific developments, in fit for purpose facilities to provide better patient outcomes and experience.

“A number of our services are fragile and dependent on significant numbers of temporary staff, which can lead to poorer quality care. For us specifically in Hywel Dda, the geography we cover is large, with many scattered communities that are getting older, needing more holistic health and social care treatment and support. Because of this, we need to better resource our community based care, which is where most of our patient contact is, and help people manage their health conditions. We also need to evolve traditional ways of working and provide a more proactive approach. This should give patients – young, older and frail and everyone in between – the services they need when the need it, so people do not have to wait too long.

“This will mean changing hospital-based care, as well as community care, and we appreciate the attachment local people and our own staff have for their local hospitals. They have been cared for in them, or work in them, and they also play an important role in our wider communities. The options may propose change to a local hospital; however this is about more than the buildings. This is about investing in our communities, attracting doctors, nurses and therapists by operating a modern healthcare system and keeping hospitals for those who really need hospital care.

“We will not put in place any change that isn’t safe for our patients and population. And we will look at all the impacts from ensuring services are safer with better patient outcomes, to considering the wider impact on people, including the most vulnerable.”

Dr Kloer added: “The potential options are evolving, with changes to them on almost a daily basis. Many will never even reach public consultation, for a variety of reasons including safety, accessibility and affordability, or will change significantly as they are tested against population needs and healthcare standards.

“We will be coming back to the public in the spring with fewer options that have been more rigorously tested and we will open and honest about what we think our preferred option is and why. We would not, and cannot, propose something that would not be safe for our population.

“We live in this community, use our NHS and work for our NHS and we want to work with our patients, staff, partners and public to ensure it is the best it can be.”

Meanwhile, Elin Jones, Ceredigion’s Assembly Member, has called for urgency in the implementation of electronic records for NHS patients in Wales, following the publication of a report by the Wales Audit Office, ‘Informatics systems in NHS Wales’.

The report outlines several of the opportunities that electronic patient records can bring to patients and health boards, as well as the current obstacles to achieving this goal.

Elin Jones, who has long-called for a paperless NHS has welcomed the report, saying: “This is an important step in the development of health services in Wales, which is long-overdue. It would make our NHS more sustainable and more flexible to every patient’s needs.

“I have heard of many instances where patients have turned up to appointments in Llanelli, Swansea or Cardiff, only to find that their medical records have not arrived. These are people who have, in some cases, had to wait a long time for a specialist appointment, and have had to travel long distances, sometimes leaving very early in the morning or have arranged overnight accommodation in order to get to a 9 am appointment.

“Being turned away because their paper record has not arrived is a failure in the current system, and would be addressed directly by electronic records.

“The technology is available, it’s just a case of putting the funding in place.

“With the proper investment into the Welsh NHS by the Welsh Government, electronic patient records can help the NHS to deliver better outcomes for patients and to make more efficient and effective use of scarce financial and human resources.”

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Cardigan Classic Car Club returns with 3-Counties Run

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Cardigan Classic Car Club will be holding it’s annual 3-Counties Run on Sunday (Aug 26).

There will be an excellent display of classic post war cars, plus a few dating from before the war. Cars will be gathering between 10.00 and 11.00am on The Strand, Cardigan, that stretch of road between the castle and the river for those who would like to go along to view the cars and have a chat. If you have a suitable car, why not join in?

For those who would like to pop along to see the cars as they travel through, they will start by driving through Cardigan at 11.00am, and their route will take them up the by-pass and onto the Fishguard road.

They will turn right onto the Nevern road at the 5-ways junction, arriving in Nevern circa 11.20am.

They will then turn back towards Eglwyswrw on the A487, and travel towards Boncath and Cenarth, arriving there about Midday.

A few minutes later they will pass through Newcastle Emlyn heading for Ffostrasol, then down the A486 to Horeb where they turn left on the Lampeter road to Prengwyn heading for their lunch stop at Talgarreg.

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World War 2 ordnance found on beach

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AN unexploded World War Two bomb was found on Ynyslas and had to be removed by Borth Coastguard yesterday (Aug 14).

There was a controlled detonation of the ordnance.

Borth Coastguard posted on Facebook saying: “Call out today with reports of ordnance. Borth Coastguard Rescue Team assisted the EODU with the safe removal of the item with a controlled detonation.

“Unexploded bombs from WWII are regularly found along this stretch of coastline, as Ynyslas used to be an MoD testing site.

“If you find anything you suspect could be ordnance, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard. Do not move the object.”

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Academy of Robotics closes funding after six hours

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WALES-BASED electric autonomous vehicle company, the Academy of Robotics, has closed its latest funding round in under six hours.

Investment came in so quickly that founder William Sachiti turned down an additional £500,000 that was offered.

The Academy of Robotics, which was initially set up at the University of Aberystwyth and now also has offices in Cardiff, is currently developing Kar-Go, the autonomous delivery vehicle. Kar-Go hopes to shake-up the delivery market by removing 90% of the costs involved in making a delivery – helping to increase profits for logistics companies and decrease costs for consumers.

By using a combination of advanced robotics and driverless vehicle technology, Kar-Go is designed to autonomously drive on unmarked roads such as residential areas. Unlike many driverless vehicles that are best-suited to main roads and highways, Kar-Go is specifically designed with small, residential side-streets in mind.

The company recently announced it hired award winning designer Paul Burgess who left his role at McLaren to become chief designer at the Academy of Robotics.

The company has developed its own vehicle chassis and proprietary software, and has filed several patents around autonomous vehicle technology and autonomous delivery for more complex logistics environments.

The Academy of Robotics is partnered with UK car manufacturer Pilgrim Motorsports with whom they are working to build the street legal versions of their autonomous vehicles at Pilgrim’s production facility in the UK.

The founder of the Academy of Robotics, William Sachiti said: “It has been 10 months since we closed our last funding round, as costs constantly change, there was a need to raise an additional 70K to take us through production. We reached out to our existing investors and showed them our progress to date and then simply asked them to help close the funding gap. In under six hours we had pledges for over 100K from half a dozen investors. Within 24 hours, pledges reached nearly half a million.“

“Half the formula for a winning start-up is having great investors aligned with it, who react decisively to funding rounds and requests for investment. We are very lucky to have great investors on board who fit into this category. My job is to steer the company in the right direction while also looking after the interests of the existing investors, which is why I only accepted 100K and turned down the rest.

“I am not keen on taking a bunch of money and then subsequently diluting our existing shareholders. In terms of fundraising, we will soon raise a larger round as we roll out and begin trials but there is value in waiting until our prototype is complete. After the prototype is complete, we will be able to raise at a bigger valuation which is much better for the shareholders we have currently.

“Working on Kar-Go has been an incredible collaborative journey between people in four countries, national retailers, logistics companies and our tech partner NVIDIA. We are on the final stretch and can’t wait to show the world what we have all been working on.”

The company was recently mentioned by Richard Branson when asked who he thought might be among the first to put autonomous cars on the UK’s roads. Branson also linked to Kar-Go on his Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.

For more information about Kar-Go see: www.academyofrobotics.co.uk and https://youtu.be/9tSSPhGvYKE

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