THE WELSH GOVERNMENT is to loan four million lateral flow tests to the NHS in England due to a shortage in supplies.
Record numbers of Covid infections, driven by the Omicron variant have led to a surge in demand for the rapid self-test kits.
People are also being encouraged to use LFD’s before attending gatherings or meeting vulnerable relatives.
The test kits have repeatedly been unavailable on the UK government website over the last few days and many pharmacies are struggling to secure stocks of them.
Demand for the tests has been compounded by a change in quarantine rules that allows people in England to come out of self-isolation after seven days instead of 10, as long as they carry out two negative lateral flow tests. In Wales that change comes into effect on Friday, 31 December.
In a letter to MPs, UK government Health Minister Sajid Javid said the supply of lateral flow tests (LFD) was being tripled in January and February from a pre-Omicron plan of 100 million to 300 million per month.
“To respond to anticipated demand over the coming few weeks we are buying hundreds of millions more LFD tests, bringing new products on board and accelerating their deployment to the public,” he said.
But “in light of the huge demand for LFDs seen over the last three weeks, we expect to need to constrain the system at certain points over the next two weeks to manage supply over the course of each day, with new tranches of supply released regularly throughout each day.”
Four million LFD’s will now be loaned to England that is in addition to 6 million which were loaned earlier in the pandemic.
In a statement, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Wales has a significant stock of lateral flow tests, sufficient to meet our needs over the weeks ahead.”
“The Health Minister has agreed today to loan a further four million such tests to the English NHS, bringing that mutual aid to 10 million lateral flow tests.”
“Distribution of lateral flow test kits through home delivery and pharmacies remains the responsibility of the UK Government and we are working with it, as it increases the capacity of the system.”
“Wales moved to alert level two on Boxing Day. The public health situation remains very volatile and the Christmas period is always one when collecting and analysing data is challenging.”
PCR tests – which are used to confirm new cases of Covid – have also been unavailable in many parts of England for the last two days, it has led to large queues forming at the Deeside Industrial Estate testing site.
Bereavement books to support children at Bronglais Hospital
THANKS to donations, Hywel Dda Health Charities has purchased a collection of children’s books on bereavement for the Meurig oncology ward at Bronglais Hospital.
The books help families to support children when there has been a terminal cancer diagnosis.
Ellen Masters, Meurig Ward Administrator, said: “By having these books on the ward we are able to guide and support children and young people dealing with bad news and bereavement.
“Using stories and activities can be a really good way to discuss issues with a child who has been bereaved, helping them to explore feelings and emotions around loss.
“Parents also appreciate having something they can read to children which deals sensitively with the issues.”
Pictured with some of the books is Senior Ward Sister Alaw Ciornei.
Nicola Llewelyn, Head of Hywel Dda Health Charities, the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “The support of our local communities enables us to provide services over and above what the NHS can provide in the three counties of Hywel Dda and we are extremely grateful for every donation we receive.”
For more details about the charity and how you can help support local NHS patients and staff, go to www.hywelddahealthcharities.org.uk
NHS Dental Treatment in Wales Still 55% Lower Than Pre-Pandemic Levels
RESPONDING to figures released this week showing that the number of courses of NHS dental treatment are still 55.1% lower than the year prior to the pandemic, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have reiterated their calls for the use of dental hygienists and dental nurses to be increased to help clear backlogs.
Overall, there was a decrease of 35.5% (539,959 patients) in the total number of patients treated, and the percentage of the total population treated decreased by 17.0 percentage points. This is the largest decrease for both adults and children since the series began in the 24-month period ending March 2006.
The figures also show a worrying decline in the number of children treated decreased with a reduction of 33.6% (125,246 patients).
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS told The Ceredigion Herald: “The figures we see today are very concerning. An inability to access an NHS dentist continues to be one of the main concerns I hear from my constituents.
“Just over the course of this summer, the largest town in Powys lost two out of four of its dental practices and the picture is similar across much of Wales.
“Everyone understands the challenges faced by dentistry following the pandemic. However, there are actions the Welsh Government can take both in the here and now and in the longer term to help clear backlogs and get NHS dentistry back on track.
“When I’ve spoken to industry experts over the summer they have all said the same thing, increasing the number of dental nurses and dental hygienists, as well as broadening the work they are allowed to do will help clear backlogs.
“I will continue to press Labour to make these changes as soon as possible.”
Local Businesses help raise astonishing £10,000 for Cardio-Respiratory Ward at Bronglais Hospital
THE ORGANISERS of the 2021 Aberystwyth Businesspersons’ Lunch have donated the £10,000 proceeds to the Cardio-Respiratory Ward at Bronglais Hospital.
Consultant Cardiologist Dr Donogh McKeogh; Aled and Rose Rowlands;
John Davies’ widow Ann; Frank Bridle; John’s daughter and son, Angharad
and Rhodri; and Iestyn Leyshon
The lunch last December was in memory of well-known local businessman, jeweller and musician John Davies, who had helped organise the annual lunch for many years but sadly passed away just a few months before.
“John was such a lovely man, a pillar of the town and so well thought of, that we decided it was fitting that the lunch should be in his memory and that the proceeds should go to the cardiac unit where he had been treated for so many years,” said Aled Rowlands, who organised the lunch along with Frank Bridle, Layla Mangan, Gary Pemberthy, Huw Bates and Iestyn Leyshon.
“It was a very successful day, with nearly 200 people enjoying a lunch, comedian, band, auction and raffle. It was a fitting tribute to John who was such a big part of the town.”
John Davies joined his parents’ business at T J Davies at the age of 16 where he worked for 64 years after leaving Llandaff Cathedral School. He passed away in August 2021, at the age of 80.
John’s wife Ann and children Angharad and Rhodri said: “We were delighted at the generous amount that was raised in his memory at the Businesspersons Christmas lunch.
“Charity work was important to John, through his membership of the Lions Club and it is fitting that the money raised went to a department where he personally received such care and attention from Dr McKeogh and his team.
“John will be remembered not only as a businessman but also as a keen and talented trumpeter, playing with Aberystwyth Town Band, Aber Jazz and Philomusica, to name but a few, as well as playing carols with the Town Band every Christmas Day around Bronglais Hospital wards and care homes in the town.”
Pictured at the cheque presentation at Bronglais Hospital are (from left) Consultant Cardiologist Dr Donogh McKeogh; Aled and Rose Rowlands; John Davies’ widow Ann; Frank Bridle; John’s daughter and son, Angharad and Rhodri; and Iestyn Leyshon.
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