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Contact tracing in Wales extended until March 2022

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WALES’ successful test, trace, protect service, which has helped to reduce the spread of coronavirus, will be extended to next year, with a further injection of Welsh Government funding.

A further £32m will be invested to extend contact tracing to March 2022.

The latest figures show that almost a year after TTP was launched in Wales, contact tracers have reached 99.7% of the positive cases that were eligible for follow up.

They successfully contacted almost 95% of the close contacts that were eligible for follow up, and provided them with advice, or helped to resolve their cases.

And local authorities have also approved more than 12,500 self-isolation support payments to help people to stay at home and reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading in their local communities.

Health and Social Services Minister Eluned Morgan said:

“Test, Trace, Protect has been extremely effective at supporting people who have tested positive and their contacts to isolate and providing advice, guidance and support. It is critical to stopping the virus spreading in our communities.

“It’s a year since we set up Test, Trace, Protect from scratch – at what the Auditor General for Wales described as an extraordinary scale and at pace. A great deal of hard work across NHS Wales, local authorities, the voluntary sector and partner organisations has created a highly-effective programme to help us keep Wales safe. Everyone involved can be extremely proud of their efforts.

“I want to thank everyone involved, including Public Health Wales and Digital Health Care Wales. In particular I want to thank the contact tracers and those providing Protect services who have provided much-needed support to people at an extremely difficult time in their lives.

“They have done much more than their title suggests – they have identified vulnerable people and got them extra support, whether that be someone to chat to, a food parcel, or linking in with vital mental health services.

“As we seek to stop the spread of new variants of concern, experienced contact tracers are key to doing this effectively and we are continuing to invest in this work.”

Research has suggested that when coronavirus transmission was high before the firebreak last year, TTP reduced the R number from approximately 1.7 to 1.3. Using the more recent R number and improvements to monitoring, its impact may be to reduce R from 1.3 to 0.8.

Contact tracers and advisers working for the TTP service are now undertaking enhanced contact tracing to tackle variants of concern.

They also:

·  Manage and provide assurance to almost 18,000 travellers from amber list countries who must quarantine and take tests;

·  Take vaccination programme calls from the public, arrange bookings and follow up on those who do not attend;

·  Act as the contact centre for the Welsh Vaccination Certificate Service;

·  Contact large businesses and local employers to encourage them to take up the Welsh Government offer of asymptomatic lateral flow tests, (LFTs);

·  Contact local business, including licenced premises, hospitality and care homes, to establish correct contact details and establish if any support is needed in relation to COVID-19 measures, regulatory requirements and other public health issues;

·  Support community testing sites.

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Hywel Dda provides teaching equipment on infant feeding for over 100 midwives.

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Doll and knitted breast for midwifery

THANKS to donations, Hywel Dda Health Charities has been able to provide bags containing teaching equipment on infant feeding to over 100 midwives across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

Each bag contains a doll and knitted breast, so that the midwives can give advice to new mums and mums-to-be on breast-feeding, along with laminated cards with information.

All the community midwives across the three counties, plus the maternity units at Glangwili,

Bronglais and Withybush hospitals have received the bags.

Hywel Dda’s Infant Feeding Co-ordinator, Christena Phelan O’Riordan (pictured in the foreground with Health Care Support Worker Jan Jones), said the dolls and knitted breasts were proving to be extremely useful as teaching aids.

“It has made such a difference having these visual aids to give pregnant and post-natal mothers advice on breast-feeding,” she said.

“Whether face-to-face in hospital or at home, or virtually through WhatsApp calls, these aids are great props for when we are teaching about breast-feeding.”

Nicola Llewelyn, Head of Hywel Dda Health Charities, the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “Donations are making a real difference to the lives of patients, service-users and staff in the Hywel Dda University Health Board area.

“We are very grateful for all the support we receive from our local communities.”

For more details about the charity and how you can help support local NHS patients and staff, go to www.hywelddahealthcharities.org.uk.

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Recognition given to long-standing members of Council committee

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AT AN Ethics and Standards Committee (virtual) meeting held on 17 September 2021,  Rif Winfield and Hywel Wyn Jones were given recognition for their 10 years’ of service to the Committee between 2011 and 2021. A small plaque was presented to both.

Hywel was Chair of the Committee for 3 years.

In their place, two new independent members Alan Davies and Caryl Davies have been appointed.

Eifion Evans, Chief Executive of Ceredigion County Council said, “Ceredigion County Council has benefitted from a decade of advice and considerations provided by Rif & Hywel. We welcome the new members of the committee and their input to the function of the Committee will be greatly appreciated.”

Standards Committees of local authorities exist to do all that is possible to promote and safeguard the standards that the public rightly expect from their elected representatives.

Ceredigion County Council Chairman, Councillor Paul Hinge, said, “Our thanks go to Rif and Hywel who have given their time to contribute to the Committee and we welcome the new members.”

The Committee is made up of five independent members, two county councillors and two town/community councillors. Meeting quarterly, reports for the Ethics and Standards Committee including dispensation applications can be found on the Council website: www.ceredigion.gov.uk.

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Exciting new developments on the horizon for Lampeter Wellbeing Centre

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Architects have been appointed to oversee the project and work will now begin on the proposed layout for the facility

At a Cabinet meeting held on 01 December 2020, it was agreed that Lampeter Leisure Centre would become the location of the Council’s first Wellbeing Centre in the County.

A significant amount of work and investment is to be made at the Leisure Centre which will improve the facility and the resources for years to come.

Over the coming months, as we see the plans and proposals for Wellbeing Centre develop, they will be shared with service users and the residents of Ceredigion.

Architects have been appointed to oversee the project and work will now begin on the proposed layout for the facility. The layout will be a reconfiguration of the existing facility in order to provide a Wellbeing Centre that can provide an enhanced range of Through Age Services, including Leisure Services to the residents of Lampeter and the mid of the county. 

Councillor Catherine Hughes, Ceredigion County Council Cabinet Member, said: “We are looking forward to the development of the new Wellbeing Centre at Lampeter. This will provide a range of services to residents within their local community.

This development comes at a welcome time, as Ceredigion Public Service Board is carrying out an Assessment of Local Wellbeing, in order to find out about the wellbeing of local people and communities, now and in the future.”

Lampeter Leisure Centre will be closed during the building works, but during this period alternative provision will be made available for all service users and clubs.

We look forward to being able to share these alternative plans with you over the coming weeks, as soon as these arrangements have been finalised.

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