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Staff at Bronglais Hospital’s Chemotherapy Day Unit say thanks for the
support of the local communities

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The Bronglais Chemo Appeal has passed its £500,000 target in just 10 months! And the team at Bronglais Hospital’s Chemotherapy Day Unit is today sending a big thank you to fundraisers and supporters in local communities.

The Bronglais Chemo Appeal launched on 30th November 2021 with the aim of raising the remaining £500,000 needed to transform the current chemotherapy day unit at Bronglais General Hospital into a modern, fit-for-the-future facility.

Since its launch, our local communities have thoroughly embraced the Appeal, with fundraisers walking, cycling, golfing, gardening, holding a summer ball, and even staging an Elvis tribute event to raise money… and the list goes on!

Bridget Harpwood, Fundraising Officer for Hywel Dda Health Charities, said: “We’ve been genuinely blown away by the support from our local communities, it has entirely exceeded our expectations.

“What’s become clear is how passionate people are about their local NHS – and how creative they are when it comes to fundraising!”

Moondance Foundation provides boost

In addition to the funds raised locally, the Appeal has received a substantial donation from the Moondance Foundation.

Diane Briere de l’Isle Engelhardt, founder and chair of the Moondance Foundation, said: “We are delighted to have supported this Appeal to transform the chemotherapy day unit at Bronglais Hospital for the local community.”

Making a difference

Bettina Vance, Chemotherapy Clinical Nurse Specialist, said: “On behalf of staff at the unit and Bronglais Hospital, I’d like to say how grateful we are to everyone who has made the Appeal such a success.

“Your contribution, no matter how big or small, will make a huge difference to the experiences of patients, families and staff at the chemotherapy day unit. We are now looking forward to the next steps and turning our dream of providing a purpose-built unit for our patients into reality.”

Peter Skitt, Hywel Dda University Health Board’s County Director for Ceredigion and project director for the development of the new unit, said: “I would like to thank everyone who has supported the Appeal, including the Moondance Foundation, for recognising how important a new chemotherapy day unit is for Bronglais Hospital.

“The new unit will provide an improved experience for patients in a modern, fit-for-the-future facility that is tailored to their needs at different stages of cancer, offering more comfort, privacy and dignity.

“The technical design stage of the project has already begun, and we anticipate construction work starting in summer 2023. The target is for the new chemotherapy unit to go live in summer 2024.

“The total raised by the Bronglais Chemo Appeal stands today at £591,316. Every penny raised, including future donations, will go directly to the Appeal fund, with any surplus funds used to support those affected by cancer across mid Wales. With the current economic climate, we predict that construction costs will increase over the coming months. Therefore, to have exceeded the original target will be of great benefit to the project.”

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Health

Ambulance delays as heart attack victims left waiting one hour 57 minutes

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FREEDOM of Information requests reveal the worst ambulance delays out of 22 local authorities in Wales.

Postcode lottery revealed with patients in some areas waiting over double the amount of time for life-threatening calls

The average wait time for amber calls, which includes heart attack and stroke victims was 1 hour 57 minutes. In Swansea, it was 2 hours 33 minutes.

Shocking figures have unveiled the local areas in Wales with the longest ambulance delays, revealing a stark “postcode lottery” for response times to life-threatening calls.

Figures were provided by local authority giving a more local breakdown of the usual Health Board data.

Potential heart attack and stroke victims in the worst-hit areas are now waiting an average of one hour and 57 minutes for paramedics to arrive.

The figures, uncovered by the Liberal Democrats through Freedom of Information requests, reveal how patients whose lives are in immediate danger are waiting twice as long in some rural areas than urban ones. In Anglesey, patients waited an average of 12 minutes and 22 seconds for category 1 calls compared to 6 minutes 31 seconds in Newport.

However, the figures for amber calls painted a much starker picture with an average arrival time of 1 hour 57 minutes in Wales, with the worst in Swansea, where the average wait was 2 hours 33 minutes.

Overall, 13 out of the 22 local authorities in Wales had an average wait of over 2 hours for amber calls.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling for action on the social care crisis in order to free up hospital beds and stop ambulances waiting outside hospitals.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

“These figures are heart-breaking, but not necessarily shocking to anyone who has had to call on an ambulance in recent months.

“Far too many people are being left to wait too long in an emergency across every region of Wales. The length of amber calls, which includes stroke and heart attack victims in particularly concerning.

“None of this is the fault of our hardworking ambulance staff who are doing their utmost in extremely difficult conditions.

“We must see an end to the postcode lottery in emergency care, it shouldn’t matter where you live, you should be able to get timely medical attention when you need it most.

“Every day we hear more and more devastating stories of pensioners left stranded for hours, or families watching a loved one die before a paramedic could reach them.

“This cannot continue, the Welsh Labour Government must bring forward extra support to get ambulance services through winter as well as a long-term strategy to ensure people can get emergency care when they need it. That means addressing workforce shortages, fixing the social care crisis and ending the shortage of hospital beds, all of which are leaving patients in ambulances stuck outside A&E for hours.”

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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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