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Health board releases advice as staff absences start to impact on care provision

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The health board have today released a statement regarding staff absences due to Covid-19, and how to access care. We publish their press release, as requested, in full:

Our staff are working tirelessly each day in the face of unparalleled pressures and challenge. They continue to go above and beyond to prioritise the care and treatment of urgent and emergency patients. We are immensely proud of the collective effort that our whole workforce continues to make. Unfortunately, we can confirm that the current wave of Covid-19 infections is beginning to have a serious negative impact, with significantly higher than usual staff absences across hospitals, community services and primary care, including GP surgeries. This means you may have to wait longer than usual, but all services continue to prioritise according to clinical need. We are asking our communities, patients, visitors and members of the public to follow the guidance below:

  • Our community pharmacists can provide some walk-in care, and treatments for common ailments, find your nearest service here: https://hduhb.nhs.wales/healthcare/services-and-teams/pharmacy/; as well as our minor injury units: https://hduhb.nhs.wales/healthcare/hospitals-and-centres/minor-injuries-units/
  • If you have a serious, life threatening emergency please continue to call 999.
  • If it’s urgent (but not an emergency), visit the NHS111 Wales symptom checker, dial 111, or seek urgent care through your GP.
  • If you have a relative or loved one in hospital who is medically fit but is waiting to be discharged, you may be able to help us by providing short term care or considering interim placements in care homes.
  • Our vaccination programmes for both COVID-19 and flu continue at an unprecedented scale and remain a key part of our defence against these viruses.  All our mass vaccination centres are now offering drop-ins for COVID-19 first, second, third and booster vaccines for those eligible – please attend for yours if you have not already. For information on eligibility and opening times, visit https://hduhb.nhs.wales/healthcare/covid-19-information/covid-19-vaccination-programme/
  • Follow Welsh Government and local guidance.
  • Work from home whenever you can if appropriate.
  • Be vigilant with good hygiene practices to avoid spreading infection in our communities.
  • Good ventilation is important if indoors and remember outdoors is safer where possible.
  • Keep a safe distance.
  • Carry out LFD self-tests particularly before going into higher risk situations, such as spending time in crowded or enclosed spaces; visiting people who are at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, or travelling to other areas of Wales or the UK.
  • Lateral flow self-test kits can be obtained by ordering online for home delivery https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests or by collecting locally from most community pharmacies: Check here for participating pharmacies near you https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/ Please remember to report your test results, negative or positive, on the UK Government portal here https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result/ If it’s positive, don’t go out. Self-isolate and arrange for a PCR test – book here https://gov.wales/get-tested-coronavirus-covid-19 or call 119NB we are aware there is national unprecedented demand for PCR and LFT tests. At times to support distribution and remain within the capacity at the laboratories, there may be temporary pauses in ordering and you may not be able to access the tests you need from gov.uk. The Government is advising you keep checking every few hours as more PCR and LFD tests become available every day.

If you need to come into our hospitals at any time, you must:

  • Carry out a lateral flow device (LFD) test at home and have a negative result from that test prior to travelling to the hospital.
  • Wear a mask before entering the hospital;
  • Ensure you maintain a two metres distance from others;
  • Wash your hands regularly;

If you need to visit someone in hospital, please remember this must be pre-booked with the charge nurse or ward sister. More information about hospital visiting is available on our website though please note this is subject to change at short notice.

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Health

Bereavement books to support children at Bronglais Hospital

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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

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Health

NHS Dental Treatment in Wales Still 55% Lower Than Pre-Pandemic Levels

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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.”

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Health

Local Businesses help raise astonishing £10,000 for Cardio-Respiratory Ward at Bronglais Hospital

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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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