EVEN though restrictions are being eased, COVID-19 has not gone away and we all have a reason to keep our communities safe reminds Hywel Dda University Health Board.
With COVID-19 cases rising across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, everyone is asked to remember what we can do to protect ourselves and each other.
As at 26 August, the rolling weekly rate per 100,000 saw an increase in all three counties, with Carmarthenshire increasing to 287, Ceredigion to 271 and Pembrokeshire 396. The overall rate for Hywel Dda increased this week to 319 per 100,000.
The number of tests carried out in Hywel Dda UHB area has also increased for the same period, with results showing an increase in positivity to 17% (11% the previous week).
While the most significant increase is amongst the under 30s, there are still positive cases among the over 70s.
Even if vaccinated, following these simple steps can keep us safe, and remember that some rules are different in Wales.
– Work from home whenever we can
– Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms, even if mild
– Meet outside, it is safer than inside
– Limit our social contacts and keep a distance when possible
– Wear a mask, especially in crowded places
– Wash our hands regularly and thoroughly
We can do this to keep ourselves, our friends and family safe, and to protect our frontline services to serve our communities when you need us most.
Ros Jervis, Director of Public Health at Hywel Dda UHB, said: “We are still very much in this pandemic which continues to disrupt our everyday lives. I’m proud of how much effort people have put into staying safe since it began. The rise in cases shows that, whilst hospital admissions are not as high as in previous waves, COVID-19 remains a risk to our health and our health service.
“I’m appealing to everyone to continue doing our bit by sticking with the ‘keep safe’ behaviours that have almost become second nature. Without your help, we will struggle to contain further spread of coronavirus here in west Wales.”
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, including cold and flu-like symptoms, must self-isolate and book a test via the UK portal (opens in new tab) or by calling 119 as soon as possible. By doing this, you can help to reduce the risk of further spread of the virus across our communities.
You must continue to self-isolate until you receive your test result, which will usually be within 24 hours of the test. If your result is negative, you can end your self-isolation, when you feel well enough to do so.
If your result is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 days from the date your symptoms started. A contact tracer will be in touch with you and will only contact you from 02921 961133. If you miss the call, don’t worry, they’ll call you back.
Why it’s important to speak to a contact tracer? By sharing information on recent contacts, tracers can ask those who may have caught the virus to self-isolate to help stop further spread. It’s important that people answer the contract tracer’s call so they can help you, especially if you or your contacts need extra support. Information you share with them will be kept safe and treated confidentially, as with all health information.
Together we can keep Hywel Dda safe.
Possible super-hospital plans released as Pembrokeshire site ruled out
HYWEL Dda Health Board have reduced the number of potential sites for the new “super-hospital” in West Wales from five to three.
The new site has been narrowed down to two possible locations in Whitland or one in St Clears.
According to the plans provided in Hywel Dda’s technical appraisal reports, all sites will include a main building divided into planned and urgent care, as well as a separate facility for mental health services. Parking, administrative facilities, and a helipad are also planned.
The potential Narberth site is no longer being considered, meaning that the new hospital would be built outside of Pembrokeshire.
Hywel Dda presented the findings of a “transport infrastructure analysis,” stating that both sites had bus services that are “infrequent” and “short,” making shift work difficult.
For Whitland, it noted that there was an approximate 750m walking distance from the train station to the hospital site, with recommended walking distance of 400m, and that local roads do ‘not appear’ to suffer from significant congestion during a typical weekday.
In St Clears, the report highlighted the impact a planned new railway station – expected to open in 2024 – could have on the town, saying it would be a ‘major boost’ to the area providing viable alternative car travel, with it being understood there is a commitment to increase the frequency of services at some stations along the west Wales line from two hourly to hourly.
After it was announced that Narberth would not be the site of the new hospital, Hywel Dda University Health Board Chair, Maria Battle, assured the residents of Pembrokeshire that their concerns would be taken into account.
“Our programme business case to the Welsh Government is seeking the greatest investment west Wales will have ever seen,” said Ms Battle.
“We have listened to and continue to listen to the fears and voices of the public we serve and our staff who understand the frontline challenges of trying to deliver services across so many sites and spread so thinly.
“Recognising the fragility of our services and the risk this poses every day, we do not intend to make changes at Glangwili or Withybush hospitals before a new hospital is built. And afterwards, they will continue to provide valuable health services to our communities.”
Give blood and help save lives in Ceredigion
LOCAL residents are being called upon to help patients in need by giving blood with the Welsh Blood Service.
Donations are still needed daily by hospitals to treat patients with a range of conditions, including mothers and babies during childbirth; cancer patients receiving chemotherapy as part of their treatment; and by patients involved in emergencies.
The Welsh Blood Service has also experienced a sustained period of high demand from hospitals as they continue to reintroduce services such as routine operations that require blood products. This increase means more blood donors are needed to help meet these additional needs.
One donation has multiple uses as it can be split into three products: red cells, platelets and fresh-frozen plasma, meaning one donation can save or improve up to three adults or six babies’ lives.
Across Ceredigion, over 200 donations of blood and blood products are needed each month to provide care to patients at Bronglais General Hospital.
Appointments are available at four locations in Ceredigion – Teifi Leisure Centre Sports Hall Cardigan, Newcastle Emlyn Rugby Club, Aberaeron Memorial Hall and Ysgol Bro Teifi, Llandysul.
Alan Prosser, Welsh Blood Service Director, said: “Every day around 350 donations are needed to help the 20 hospitals in Wales we supply, including Bronglais.
“We’ve always had great support from our donors in the area but we’re urging more residents to consider becoming blood donors and supporting patients in need. We’ve managed to increase our capacity in the area and we’re hoping this will help make it easier for people to donate.
“We are particularly calling on existing O negative, O positive and A positive donors to come forward but if you are a new donor and don’t know your blood type don’t worry, please sign up and we’ll do that bit for you.
“Last month, 304 potentially life saving donations were made in Ceredigion.
“As a Service, we rely on the generosity of people living in Wales to provide vital donations to patients.
“By giving up just one hour of your time, you have a unique opportunity to make a difference to people in your community and beyond.
Additional safety measures are in place at all our donation sessions, all staff wear face masks and every item is cleaned between use.
Alan continued: “If you’ve never donated before, why not try something incredible this week – sign up to donate at one of the sessions in your local area and become a lifesaver.”
Book a lifesaving donation at: welshblood.org.uk or call 0800 252 266 today.
Werndale Hospital recognised for outstanding patient care in national award
STAFF at Werndale Hospital near Carmarthen have been recognised for the quality of their patient care.
The prestigious ‘Private Hospital Group of the Year’ award is presented to an organisation that has shown excellence in its delivery of care, commitment to the community and innovation within healthcare.
Werndale Hospital was also recognised for their initiatives to support staff in their career progression and wellbeing.
The latest statistics show, 98% of patients at Werndale Hospital were satisfied with their overall level of care, 98% of patients would recommend their care to family and friends, and 98% of patients rated the nursing staff as excellent or very good.
In addition, independent analysis of Circle hospitals’ hip and knee procedure outcomes of health improvement shows that Circle scored 8.4 versus an independent sector average of 7.8 in the hip category, and a score of 15.4 versus an independent sector average of 13.9 in the knee category.
The award presented to Circle Health Group, owners of Werndale Hospital, in London in June, also noted the extraordinary contribution the teams at the hospital had made to the community.
In 2021 alone, Werndale Hospital partnered with Air Ambulance Wales and raised £1,205 to support the charity’s work in the community.
In addition to the charitable work, Werndale Hospital was recognised for it’s commitment to support staff through a series of wellbeing initiatives and career development opportunities. The judges were particularly impressed with the launch of the ‘Be Heard’ survey at the hospital.
The survey looks to empower staff to feedback on everything from the working environment at the hospital through to their own career ambitions. Building directly on the feedback from this survey, the ‘Grow Your Own’ campaign was launched which supported staff to work towards specific qualifications from nursing degrees with partnered universities through to bespoke management programmes and MBA qualifications.
As a direct result of this support for staff at what is a challenging time for healthcare workers, Werndale Hospital and Circle Heath Group were recognised as being a Top 20 Best Large Company to work for.
At the heart of Werndale Hospital’s approach to treating patients is a commitment to the community they serve.
Paolo Pieri, CEO of Circle Health Group, said: “The award is a testament to what an amazing year 2021 was for Werndale Hospital with considerable investment into the facilities and services on offer to patients in west Wales. I couldn’t be prouder of what our staff and doctors have achieved.”
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