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Change to Aberystwyth COVID-19 testing location

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AS part of the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hywel Dda University Health Board and Ceredigion County Council have continued to work together to put in place and closely monitor arrangements to test people who are showing symptoms of the virus.

To make sure testing can continue to take place safely and effectively, the testing facility in Aberystwyth is moving from its current temporary venue (Plascrug Leisure Centre) to Canolfan Rheidol as a drive-through facility (through a booked appointment) for people displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

This change will come into effect on Wednesday 26 August 2020.

In addition, a multi-use facility inside Plascrug Leisure Centre will be used by the health board for testing asymptomatic patients (someone who does not have symptoms of COVID-19) who are coming into hospital for an operation or procedure, as well as some antibody testing, phlebotomy, vaccination and a one-stop clinic for pre-chemotherapy patients.

Alison Shakeshaft, Director of Therapies & Health Science at Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “We are sincerely grateful to the local community and our partners for helping to protect and support each other during this challenging time.

“This change is part of the health board and Ceredigion County Council’s ongoing efforts to ensure that the testing arrangements we have in place are safe and appropriate, as well as being fit for purpose as we approach the winter months.

“We wish to thank local people for their understanding and co-operation and we will provide further updates as and when arrangements change.”

Eifion Evans, Ceredigion County Council’s Chief Executive, said: “Ceredigion County Council has committed all available resources to the partnership in an attempt to ensure the citizens of Ceredigion can access all Covid-19 related support locally. These facilities will provide the same level of provision and support as any other region in Wales.”

People are urged to remain vigilant and not to relax the measures already in place, such as maintaining social distancing and hand hygiene, to help us live and work alongside the virus whilst containing its spread.

Anyone who has symptoms of the virus (a new persistent cough, high temperature or loss/change of taste or smell) can book a test online at www.gov.wales/coronavirus or by calling the free number 119 (between 7am-11pm). People with hearing or speech difficulties can call 18001 119.

Critical workers, such as those in health and social care, local authorities, police, fire, education, food, retail, transport, public services, and unpaid carers, can book a test if they have symptoms by contacting the local Covid Enquiries team direct on 0300 303 8322 or by emailing CovidEnquiries.hdd@wales.nhs.uk (please note this is for critical workers only, not members of the public).

Please do not turn up without booking first as it will not be possible to accommodate you without an appointment.

Alongside the testing arrangements, the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect service is now well underway across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire to track the virus and will give extra protection to our communities. Hywel Dda University Health Board and all three local authorities are working extremely hard together to help our local communities continue to live and work alongside the virus whilst containing its spread.

Anyone who has been in contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19 may be contacted as part of this and asked to self-isolate for up to 14 days, and to request a test if they show any symptoms of the virus. A contact advisor will get in touch with the individual to provide advice and support.

Members of the public are reminded that official information and advice about coronavirus is available from https://phw.nhs.wales/coronavirus

If you feel you have COVID-19 symptoms and cannot cope at home or if your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after seven days, use the 111 online coronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call 111. In a medical emergency, dial 999.

For the latest news and updates from Hywel Dda University Health Board visit www.hduhb.wales.nhs.uk

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Changes to bus services in Ceredigion confirmed by local authority

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THERE will be changes to local bus services in Ceredigion from Tuesday 3 January 2023.

The tenders received as part of a procurement process for operating several services have shown significant cost increases. This has resulted in substantial increases in subsidy levels being requested at a time when public finances are under tremendous pressure. The higher costs are largely reflective of particular challenges affecting the bus industry currently which includes considerable increased operating costs, lack of qualified and available drivers, uncertainty around future funding mechanisms as well as declining passenger numbers and changing travel behaviours.

Bus passenger numbers have been in decline across Wales and essentially halved in the period between 1982, where there were 181 million passenger journeys and 2019/20 where there were 91 million passenger journeys. This has been severely compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw a drop to 26 million passenger journeys in 2020/21, that has further impacted on the viability of local bus services.

The 22T (Aberystwyth-Devil’s Bridge), 27T (Penrhyncoch-Penbontrhydybeddau) and T29 (Tregaron Circular) demand responsive services will stop at the end of December 2022. This is due to the significant costs associated with providing them and the very low level of usage, which equate to unviable levels of public subsidy per passenger journey.

There will be changes to the timetables on the 525 (Aberystwyth-Ponterwyd), 526 (Aberystwyth-Penrhyncoch) and 585 (Aberystwyth-Tregaron-Lampeter) services. The timetables for these services, subject to submission by the operators and approval by the Traffic Commissioner, are attached. These timetables are based on proposals provided by the local bus operators and reflect what is operationally deliverable with the resources available, in terms of buses and drivers, at this time.

The T21 (Aberystwyth-Llanafan-Tregaron) and 552 Cardi Bach (New Quay-Cardigan) services will continue as currently.

All these contracts have been awarded on a 6 month basis to allow for a wider review.

Councillor Keith Henson, Cabinet Member for Highways and Environmental Services and Carbon Management said: “I would like to thank the local bus companies for their ongoing engagement in what is very challenging operating environment. We continue to work with them and in partnership with the other key stakeholders including the Welsh Government and Transport for Wales, seeking possible solutions and a way forward. Bus services and networks are dynamic and subject to change. Further changes are likely as the reality is that, in addition to the sparsity of resources, the amount of subsidy now required to provide the services is unaffordable, unjustifiable and unsustainable in the current financial climate.”

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Urgent police appeal for missing Ceredigion man

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POLICE in Ceredigion are appealing for help to find Dyfed who is missing from the Talybont area.

He was last seen at his home address in the Ceredigion village at around 10.30pm or 11pm on Saturday, 3 December.

Dyfed is described as being 5ft 10ins, of medium build, with short mousey brown hair with short ginger beard, and was wearing grey waterproof trousers over jeans, a blue-check padded shirt and woolly hat and wellies.

Have you seen Dyfed, or do you have info that might help us find him? Please, let us know:

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New Rural Health Economics Professor builds on University healthcare provision

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AN ACADEMIC who played a key role in decision-making in the adoption of medicines in NHS Wales and NHS England has been appointed as Professor of Rural Health Economics at Aberystwyth University.

Professor Murray Smith, an expert in the use of economics and statistics to predict outcomes in health and health-related behaviours, joins Aberystwyth Business School.

His recent research has centred on the quality of use of pharmaceutical medicine, with one project exploring the use of an inhaled analgesic for acute pre-hospital trauma pain, and others on topics that have spanned medicine use across a number of chronic disease areas.

After beginning his career in Australia, Professor Smith moved to the United Kingdom in 2007 and has worked at the universities of Aberdeen, Nottingham and Lincoln.

Professor Smith said: “I am delighted to join Aberystwyth Business School. Health economics is a vital subject because it provides methods and tools to help decision makers in the choices they face when trying to deliver high quality healthcare in a modern resource-limited economy.

“I am excited about adding to Aberystwyth Business School’s existing portfolio of expertise in research and to being given the opportunity to continue to use my skills to help the NHS to identify and deliver cost-effective healthcare and services to the people of mid Wales.”

Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University said: “It is vital as a society that we continue to innovate in our approaches to healthcare and Aberystwyth University is stepping up to the challenge with the launch of our first ever nursing degrees in September 2022 and through interdisciplinary research into combating diseases, using artificial intelligence to improve patients’ health, and exploring new techniques to improve human health through diet.

“The appointment of Professor Smith demonstrates our continuing commitment to developing and delivering high quality healthcare education and research at Aberystwyth. His expertise will focus on the economic aspects of healthcare, and his teaching and research will benefit our students and beyond.”

Professor Smith’s appointment coincides with the awarding of Honorary Professorships to three executives from Hywel Dda University Health Board, further strengthening Aberystwyth University’s expertise in healthcare as well as building on its partnership with the local health board.

Dr Helen Munro, Consultant in Community Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare at the Board; Dr Leighton Phillips, the Board’s Director of Research, Innovation and University Partnerships, and Huw Thomas, its Director of Finance collectively have decades of expertise in the health sector in the United Kingdom.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda University Health Board, added: “On behalf of the Board I would like to offer my warmest congratulations to Helen, Leighton and Huw on their appointment as Honorary Professors at Aberystwyth University. Our partnership with Aberystwyth University continues to go from strength to strength and we look forward to continuing our vital work together in the future.”
Professor Elizabeth Treasure added: “I am delighted to welcome our new Honorary Professors, who together will bring decades of experience to our research and teaching. Their expertise will further contribute to the role we have to play as a University in helping improve healthcare provision for everyone.”

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