- • Increase in beds planned
• Hospitals ‘safe for most patients’
• Call for COVID-free sites
THE HEAD of the Welsh NHS, Dr Andrew Goodall, delivered a sobering assessment of the nation’s capacity to handle any sharp increase in the number of patients requiring critical care.
He also said any benefits from the Welsh Government’s ‘firebreak’ lockdown would not filter through the system for several weeks.
Speaking at a press conference at Tuesday lunchtime (Nov 2), Dr Goodall said although Welsh hospitals were well-prepared for the usual winter pressures, cases of coronavirus meant they faced challenges to maintain services over the coming months.
Andrew Goodall said all of Wales’ critical care beds were now occupied.
Coronavirus patients occupy a third of critical care beds. The balance of critical care beds is occupied by the normal number of patients needing critical care.
Dr Goodall said an increase in critical care beds was possible to absorb a rise in coronavirus cases.
He will know, however, that any increase in critical care beds will run into the problem of finding suitably-qualified and experienced staff to attend patients occupying them.
Diverting existing staff to critical care units from other specialisms within the Welsh NHS will have a knock-on effect on other NHS services.
Macmillan Cancer Support has already expressed its concerns about cancer patients falling through the cracks in NHS staffing caused by the coronavirus.
In a report on COVID-19’S effects on cancer treatment, the charity says: ‘The NHS must ringfence the capacity needed to keep COVID-protected cancer services running, with no redeployment of staffing or repurposing of resources’.
Andrew Goodall also revealed that around one in forty of all cases reported nationally were attributable to patients contracting coronavirus while in hospital. The NHS identified 192 likely cases of transmission in hospitals during the previous week.
He added the prevalence of COVID in the wider population meant excluding from closed clinical settings was all-but impossible.
Dr Goodall stressed the spread of the virus in hospitals was nothing to do with poor infection control but reflected COVID’s infectiousness. It can be passed in its pre-symptomatic, asymptomatic, and symptomatic stages.
Dr Goodall emphasised that hospital care is safe.
Everyone admitted to hospital is tested. Six percent of those admitted to hospital test positive for COVID, regardless of whether they attend for treatment for the virus or not. Even the worst-affected area of Wales (Rhondda Cynon Taf) only three percent of hospital admissions are directly related to coronavirus infection. Over eighty-five percent of available NHS beds in Wales do not have coronavirus patients.
Plaid Cymru’s Rhun ap Iorwerth said: “People must have confidence that the Government is doing all it can to urgently provide ‘Green’ COVID-free, or ‘COVID-light’ sites for diagnosis and treatment.
“Given how quickly the virus can spread when it gets into health and care settings, they must have confidence also in steps taken to keep the virus out in the first place. I don’t want people who may need treatment deciding to stay away, shoring up more serious problems for themselves and the health service.”
Jail after heroin worth £45,000 seized
AN ABERYSTYWYTH woman has been jailed, and an organised crime gang disrupted, after heroin worth £45,000 was found at her home.
Dyfed-Powys Police found more than 400g of the class A drug during a warrant at Susan Marie Proffitt’s home – resulting in one of the force’s largest single seizures of heroin in Ceredigion.
The result has disrupted an active organised crime gang supplying class A drugs to the area.
Sergeant Steven Jones said: “This swift and thorough investigation involved officers and staff from departments across the division, who worked together to secure this result.
“The defendant had a huge amount of heroin at her home, with efforts taken to conceal bags of the drug around the property.
“There is no doubt that in taking Proffitt out of the supply chain we will have disrupted an organised crime gang which she was a trusted part of in supplying heroin into the division.”
Officers carried out a warrant at the 52-year-old’s home in South Road on August 30, 2020.
On searching the property, a box containing 408g of heroin was found concealed in a vent under the staircase, and two further wraps were found in a shower head bracket. Fingerprint marks matching those of Proffitt were found on these items.
Four mobile phones were also seized from the property.
Sgt Jones said: “The quantity of heroin recovered is far in excess of what he would expect to see someone who is simply a user to be in possession of for their own use.
“Given the value of the heroin recovered and the financial circumstances of the defendant, we were confident it was unlikely she would be able to fund a purchase of such a quantity of heroin without being involved in the supply of drugs.
“The only realistic reason for possessing this quantity of heroin was for supply onto others.”
Proffitt was charged with possession with intent to supply, and pleaded guilty. She was sentenced to 57 months in prison when she appeared at Swansea Crown Court on Thursday, November 26.
New permanent walk-in test centre opens in Aberystwyth
PEOPLE in Aberystwyth with symptoms of COVID-19 now have access to a permanent walk-in testing facility.
Hywel Dda University Health Board has arranged for a Local Testing Site (LTS) to be located inside the former Padarn Nursery building, (behind, but not connected to, Padarn Surgery), on Penglais Road.
Local people should avoid using the nearby nursery car park, leaving it free for those people accessing tests to park there. People who attend the walk-in centre must wear a face covering.
Meanwhile, the drive-through facility at Canolfan Rheidol has now been relocated to Cardigan in response to a rise in cases in that area. Residents of Aberystwyth will not be impacted by this move as there is plenty of testing capacity at the LTS.
Alison Shakeshaft, Director of Therapies & Health Science at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We are very pleased to have secured this LTS for the people of Aberystwyth. Many residents in the town, including students, do not have their own private vehicle in order to access drive-through testing facilities, so the option of a walk-in facility is very important.
“This is a challenging time and I urge everyone to remain vigilant and follow the rules, including wearing face coverings where required, maintain social distancing, washing hands regularly, or using a hand sanitiser if hand washing is not possible.”
Anyone who has symptoms of the virus (a new persistent cough, high temperature or loss/change of taste or smell) must book a test as soon as possible. This can be done through the online UK portal at www.gov.wales/coronavirus.
University students with COVID-19 symptoms, when booking a test, are required to provide their local address in Aberystwyth.
Please do not book a test if you do not have COVID-19 symptoms and do not attend testing centres without booking first as you will not be seen without an appointment.
Please follow the latest self-isolation guidelines which can be found here.
For the latest news and updated from Hywel Dda University Health Board visit https://hduhb.nhs.wales/
Improvements required at a pub in Devil’s Bridge
A HOSPITALITY business in Devil’s Bridge has been required to make improvements to safeguard the public’s health and well-being as part of the coronavirus regulations.
A Premises Improvement Notice has been served to The Hafod, Devil’s Bridge, Aberystwyth by Ceredigion County Council’s Public Protection Officers due to non-compliance with The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 4) (Wales) Regulations 2020.
As part of the Premises Improvement Notice, the Premises must ensure that a distance of 2 metres is maintained between any persons on the premises, and put measures in place which limit close face to face interaction and maintain hygiene.
These measures will need to be implemented by 17:00 on November 27, 2020. The full notice can be seen on the Council’s website under Improvement and Closure Notices.
Information for businesses is available on the Council’s website under Supporting Ceredigion’s Economy.
Any business who is unsure of their responsibilities is urged to check the Welsh Government website.
Any business that requires further information or guidance can contact the council’s Licensing Team on 01545 570881 or email@example.com.
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