THE MAYOR, Dr Endaf Edwards, has performed his last official duty unveiling a commemorative plaque to Dr Peter Edwards.
Dr Endaf Edwards now hands over office to the new mayor Brendan Somers, for many years a popular landlord at Y Cwps (The Coopers Arms) on Northgate Road in Aberystwyth.
Dr Peter Edwards MBE was born just around the corner from Bronglais Hospital. He went on to have a distinguishe d career specialising in the treatment of Tuberculosis (TB). A bacterial infection spread by inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person, TB mainly affects the lungs. It can also develop in any part of the body, however, including in glands, bones and nervous system.
A former TB sufferer himself, Dr Peter Edwards adopted ground-breaking approaches to the treatment of this serious disease before the emergence of anti-biotics. He was also highly regarded for his egalitarian approach to his staff and patients.
Councillor Alun Williams said: ‘It is very appropriate that Dr Peter Edwards should be honoured with a plaque in the same corner of Aberystwyth where he was brought up. I’d particularly like to thank George Simpson, an Aberystwyth resident, who was under his care at the Joint Cheshire Sanatorium in Staffordshire.
Thanks to George for bringing the life and good works of Dr Edwards to everyone’s attention.’ George Simpson’s admiration for Dr Edwards featured in a story in the Aberystwyth EGO back in May 2015.
Before the discovery of penicillin, TB was a life threatening disease in the UK. Catching TB meant a patient would likely be sent away to a specialist sanatorium for a very long stay, sometimes stretching to years. Given the highly infectious nature of TB, patients had no choice about being sent away and isolated, often far from their homes and families.
In West Wales, TB persisted long after it had been eliminated in the rest of Wales. Its tenacity is partly explained by the reluctance of some health boards to sign up for the King Edward VII Fund, which fought against TB, due to the fear of losing local autonomy for the delivery of health services. In Pembrokeshire, in particular, TB remained a threat into the 1950’s.
Through the 1930s and 40s thousands of patients were sent to the Joint Cheshire Sanatorium in Loggerheads, Staffordshire. Dr Peter Edwards was the man in charge of this 300 bed sanatorium. Dr Edwards’ prescription was plenty of rest and plenty of fresh air.
Even when it snowed the patients’ beds would daily be wheeled outside and neatly lined up. Sandbags placed across patients’ chests were thought to challenge their lungs to work hard and recover. Dr Edwards had pine trees planted believing their scent would benefit his patients. If bracing air and a sandbag did not do the trick, Dr Edwards would consider surgery.
Although by today’s standards being a patient at the Joint Cheshire Sanatorium sounds like a nightmare, in its day the treatment was medically innovative. Many patients were indeed helped and important discoveries made along the way. Moreover, the standard of care was very high and the sanatorium had sporting facilities and even its own cinema.
When the sanatorium began to use penicillin in the form of streptomycin it proved a much more effective treatment for TB, though Dr Edwards did not completely abandon his prescription of fresh air. The sanatorium closed in 1969 and Dr Peter Edwards died in retirement in 1983.
TB IN BRITAIN TODAY
Despite widespread access to antibiotics, TB has not been eradicated in modern Britain.
In 2014, TB Alert recorded 6,520 cases of the disease in the UK. In some boroughs of London the rate of infection is higher than in parts of Rwanda, Iraq or Eritrea. Food poverty, cuts in health and social services, rising poverty and homelessness all create gateways for the disease.
Worldwide, TB remains one of the biggest killer diseases. The World Health Organisation estimate the disease caused 1.5 million deaths in 2014, making it a greater threat to life than HIV/AIDs. According to the Centre for the Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of the world’s population carries the disease in its latent form with around 10% developing the illness. So, TB is not an illness confined to Victorian times or the pre antibiotic days of Dr Edwards.
In fact, the threat of TB could be exacerbated by the over-prescription and misuse of antibiotics, not only in human beings but in animals which are in the human food chain.
With the emergence of drug resistant forms of TB, medical research is still needed today.
Ambulance delays as heart attack victims left waiting one hour 57 minutes
FREEDOM of Information requests reveal the worst ambulance delays out of 22 local authorities in Wales.
Postcode lottery revealed with patients in some areas waiting over double the amount of time for life-threatening calls
The average wait time for amber calls, which includes heart attack and stroke victims was 1 hour 57 minutes. In Swansea, it was 2 hours 33 minutes.
Shocking figures have unveiled the local areas in Wales with the longest ambulance delays, revealing a stark “postcode lottery” for response times to life-threatening calls.
Figures were provided by local authority giving a more local breakdown of the usual Health Board data.
Potential heart attack and stroke victims in the worst-hit areas are now waiting an average of one hour and 57 minutes for paramedics to arrive.
The figures, uncovered by the Liberal Democrats through Freedom of Information requests, reveal how patients whose lives are in immediate danger are waiting twice as long in some rural areas than urban ones. In Anglesey, patients waited an average of 12 minutes and 22 seconds for category 1 calls compared to 6 minutes 31 seconds in Newport.
However, the figures for amber calls painted a much starker picture with an average arrival time of 1 hour 57 minutes in Wales, with the worst in Swansea, where the average wait was 2 hours 33 minutes.
Overall, 13 out of the 22 local authorities in Wales had an average wait of over 2 hours for amber calls.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling for action on the social care crisis in order to free up hospital beds and stop ambulances waiting outside hospitals.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:
“These figures are heart-breaking, but not necessarily shocking to anyone who has had to call on an ambulance in recent months.
“Far too many people are being left to wait too long in an emergency across every region of Wales. The length of amber calls, which includes stroke and heart attack victims in particularly concerning.
“None of this is the fault of our hardworking ambulance staff who are doing their utmost in extremely difficult conditions.
“We must see an end to the postcode lottery in emergency care, it shouldn’t matter where you live, you should be able to get timely medical attention when you need it most.
“Every day we hear more and more devastating stories of pensioners left stranded for hours, or families watching a loved one die before a paramedic could reach them.
“This cannot continue, the Welsh Labour Government must bring forward extra support to get ambulance services through winter as well as a long-term strategy to ensure people can get emergency care when they need it. That means addressing workforce shortages, fixing the social care crisis and ending the shortage of hospital beds, all of which are leaving patients in ambulances stuck outside A&E for hours.”
Ceredigion MS’ back striking Uni staff
LOCAL Plaid Cymru politicians stood in solidarity with striking university staff at the Senedd this week, as over 70,000 staff from over 150 universities across the UK undertook three days of striking action over attacks on pay, working conditions and pensions.
The strike, organised by the University and Colleges Union (UCU), was the biggest in the history of higher education, and saw protestors gather en masse in London and Cardiff, as well as picket lines on university campuses, including in Aberystwyth and Lampeter.
The strikes come after UCU members overwhelmingly voted ‘yes’ to industrial action in September in two historic national ballots over attacks on pay and working conditions as well as pension cuts.
In September, Aberystwyth University, along with other employers, offered a standard three per cent pay increase. UCU’s demands, however, include a pay uplift of 12 per cent or Retail Price Index (RPI) plus two per cent, an agreed framework to eliminate insecure work practices such as zero hours contracts, and action to address dangerously high workloads.
The protest at the Senedd on Wednesday 30th November brought together a range of university staff, students and supporters, as well as many politicians.
Elin Jones, Member of the Senedd for Ceredigion said:
“I welcomed the opportunity to stand in solidarity with striking university staff. As the cost-of-living crisis intensifies, it’s clear that the current pay offer to university staff does not go far enough, and many will struggle financially over coming months.
Whilst staff in Aberystwyth and Lampeter are working hard to deliver an exceptional experience for their students, more and more are struggling as a result of falling pay, pension uncertainty and insecure work.”
Cefin Campbell, Member of the Senedd for Mid & West Wales concluded:
“Universities’ roles as vital employers across Mid & West Wales cannot be understated. No-one – including the university staff – wants industrial action, however the fact that the strike took place indicates the strength of feeling and frustration within the sector. At this time of growing financial hardship, I stand with the UCU staff and hope their demands will be met by universities.”
Children’s Commissioner for Wales helps deliver powerful messages from children
ENCOURAGING safeguarding professionals and practitioners to engage with and listen to children and young people was at the heart of an event hosted by the Mid and West Wales Regional Safeguarding Board for children, as part of its National Safeguarding Week activities and program for 2022.
The event which took place on 18 November 18 at Parc-y–Scarlets stadium in Llanelli, was attended by professionals who play a key role in safeguarding children, including police officers, nurses, social care staff and education professionals, and by children and young people from across the region, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Powys.
A safeguarding training resource and animation developed and created by the Regional Safeguarding Board’s Junior Group CADW, was officially launched as part of the event, by the Children’s Commissioner for Wales Rocio Cifuentes.
The training resource designed to be used in all mandatory multi-agency safeguarding training across the region, gives powerful messages to professionals about what is important to children and young people when practitioners and professionals may need to intervene in their lives to support or protect them.
Jan Coles, Head of Children’s Services at Carmarthenshire Council, which led and facilitated the event of behalf of the Mid and West Wales Safeguarding Board, said: “It is empowering and extremely inspiring for the children and young people from across our region to see so many safeguarding professionals and practitioners to support the fantastic work they have done.
“The messages in the animation are very powerful and we will take this forward as a regional safeguarding board and ensure they are embedded into core safeguarding practice.”
The resource as well as supplementary information and materials can be viewed here: www.cysur.wales/training/animation-training-resource/
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