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Ysbyty Enfys Caerfyrddin provides care for patients

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CARMARTHEN’S field hospital Ysbyty Enfys Caerfyrddin has welcomed its first patients, providing care and support for those who no longer need medical input but still need some care prior to going home.

A small number of patients (non-COVID) have been moved from Glangwili Hospital to Ysbyty Enfys Caerfyrddin where they will be cared for by an experienced team of nurses, therapists and a resident consultant.

*Please note Ysbyty Enfys Caerfyrddin does not have an emergency department or any other walk-in service and should not be accessed by members of our community. Visiting is restricted as per all other hospitals but health care staff can help connect patients and their families, carers and friends.

Field hospitals have been established in each of the three counties of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire as a precautionary measure to enable to NHS to respond to the current COVID pandemic. This is the first time one of the hospitals has been used for patient care.

Dr Meinir Jones, clinical lead for the field hospitals and transformation, explained: “Whilst the number of COVID patients in our hospitals is currently reducing, our hospitals are getting busier with other medical activity and we are seeing more people. This activity has reached the level at which we agreed we would need additional capacity from the field hospitals. This level was set according to several considerations including the need to have the capacity to admit COVID patients to the main acute hospitals in line with demand, being able to have the right number of patients to adhere to current infection prevention measures and new clinical guidelines, and to safely reinstate some other urgent and critical planned procedures for our patients.”

Staffing for Ysbty Enfys Caerfyrddin has been made possible thanks to the flexibility of current health care staff in Hywel Dda, some of whom are temporarily working in different roles or increased hours; as well previous members of staff returning to work and additional recruitment.

The patient experience team will also be closely involved in the project to monitor and ensure the patient experience in the field hospitals is positive and supportive to their recovery.

Dr Jones said: “Opening up Ysbyty Enfys Caerfyrddin will release some capacity in Glangwili Hospital and support the reinstating of other urgent planned procedures. We are acutely aware of the impact postponements have had on patients and their quality of life.”

Other field hospitals in the three counties are available to respond quickly and flexibly should there be another peak in COVID cases that place demand on our services. The decision to open the Carmarthen facility, based at the leisure centre, was based on it being geographically central to more Hywel Dda residents than other sites.

Acute hospitals due to their intensive care capacity, access to theatres and supplies such as oxygen, and the support network around the hospital, are best placed to deal with patients who need more acute medical intervention and so will continue to be the primary sites for acutely unwell patients (both COVID and non-COVID).

As well as the field hospitals, additional bed capacity is also available in our community hospitals where there are beds. The intention is to continue to use these facilities for non-COVID patients. Should we see any rise in COVID cases, the field hospitals would care for COVID patients exclusively or be safely split to care for both COVID and non-COVID patients.

Currently due to the nature of demand, Ysbyty Enfys Caerfyrddin will be used for ‘step down’ from hospital – those who need a supported discharge back home or through support from social services – and potentially step up if there is concern that patients based in the community need additional support.

Other field hospitals are currently not in use (‘hibernating’) but could be stood up if necessary. Their use will be continually reviewed according to NHS need but also potential changes of restrictions in Wales.

Andrew Carruthers, Director of Operations at Hywel Dda UHB said: “Central to our development of the field hospitals has been the flexibility they could allow us to be able to manage capacity and demand throughout this pandemic.

“COVID unfortunately is not going to simply go away, and so we need to base our plans not just on how we manage COVID patients, but also how we can restart other services and provide continuity of care across the system during the next 12 months or longer.

“Both our planning and delivery is and will continue to be based on national and local clinical advice and with the ultimate objective of keeping our population as safe as possible when they need to access our services for care.

“We are extremely grateful to these patients and their families for working with us and allowing us to protect our acute hospital beds, while also providing high quality care in these new settings.”

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Carmarthenshire hometown heroes & lockdown legends sought for 2020 National Lottery Awards

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The National Lottery Awards 2019 winners on stage, including Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson from Wales, the first ever recipient of The National Lottery's Lifetime Achievement Award.

THE National Lottery is searching for your ‘hometown hero’ or ‘lockdown legend’ as part of the 2020 National Lottery Awards.

This year the annual search for the UK’s most popular National Lottery funded projects will, for the first time, honour individuals who have made an extraordinary impact in their community, especially those who have adapted during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

New figures reveal more than £3.2 million of National Lottery funding has been invested in good causes in Carmarthenshire in 2018/19 alone.

A total of 158 National Lottery grants were awarded in the region during the previous financial year, providing vital support to arts, sports, heritage and community projects.

From today, The National Lottery are calling for nominations of people who have done amazing things with the help of National Lottery funding and are an inspiration to us all.

Winners in each category will receive a £3,000 cash prize for their organisation and a coveted National Lottery Awards trophy.

Jonathan Tuchner from The National Lottery is encouraging the people of Carmarthenshire to make their nominations.

He said: “The National Lottery continues to have a positive impact on life across the UK. Thanks to National Lottery players thousands of projects are making an incredible difference to their local communities.

Now, more than ever, people have rallied together, and individuals are performing inspirational acts and extraordinary endeavors to help in cities, towns and villages up and down the country.

Thanks to National Lottery players, up to £600 million has been made available to support communities throughout the UK amid the coronavirus crisis. People have used National Lottery funding in amazing ways during these challenging times. We want to honour them as part of this year’s National Lottery Awards and recognise their selfless dedication and thank them for their fantastic work.”

Encompassing all aspects of National Lottery good causes funding, the 2020 National Lottery Awards are seeking to recognise outstanding individuals in the following sectors:

And there will be a special Young Hero Award for someone under the age of 18 who has gone that extra mile in their organisation. All nominees must work or act for a National Lottery funded organisation or have received National Lottery funding.

To make your nomination for this year’s National Lottery Awards, tweet @LottoGoodCauses with your suggestions or complete an entry form through our website www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards . Entries must be received by midnight on 19th August 2020.

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Chancellors economic update includes VAT cut for hospitality sector, and customer discounts

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The Chancellor had set out his coronavirus recovery package today.

Rishi Sunak set out the measures in his summer economic update in the House of Commons on Wednesday (Jun 8), as he faces pressure to assist those who are most vulnerable to the financial crisis.

The Chancellor said he will cut VAT from 20% to 5% for food if people eat out to help those businesses which he said had been hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The chancellor announced discount to encourage people to eat out in August.

He says restaurants, pubs, bars and hotels as well as other attractions will be able to claim the money back within five days. It had been reported he was considering giving all UK adults a £500 voucher to spent with companies hit by coronavirus, but the Chancellor has decided not to go ahead with that proposal.

Instead Sunak announced a discount worth up to £10 per head for eating out in August. He said his final measure has never been tried in this country. It is an “eat out to help out scheme”, offering customers as discount worth up to £10 per head when they eat out from Monday to Wednesday in August.

Speaking in the Commons today, he said: “Our plan has clear goals, to protect, support and retain jobs.”

Regards furlough scheme, he said it must wind down, adding: “flexibly and gradually supporting people through to October” but that he is introducing a bonus for employers who bring staff back from furlough.

Employers who bring someone back from furlough and employ them through to January, paying them a minimum of £520 a month, will receive a £1,000 bonus.

He says that “in total we have provided £49bn to support public services since the pandemic began”.

He added: “No nationalist can ignore that this help has only been possible because we are a United Kingdom.”

Mr Sunak says the UK economy has already shrunk by 25% – the same amount it grew in the previous 18 years.

He also announced:

A £2bn kickstart scheme paying employers to take on unemployed 16 to 24 year olds for a minimum of 25 hours a week – he says the Treasury will pay those wages for six months plus a sum for overheads. He says there is no cap. This will apply in England and Wales.

VAT on food from restaurants, cafes, pubs and hotels will be cut until January 12 from 20% to 5%
Funding for apprenticeships and traineeships in England, there will be a separate announcement for Wales.

£1bn for the DWP to support millions of people back to work through Job Centres. A £2bn green homes grant in England to cover two thirds of the cost, up to £5,000, for energy efficient home improvements. Again the Welsh Government will have their own proposals on this given time.

A temporary cut to stamp duty in England and Northern Ireland.

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Calls for Amman Valley rail line to be mothballed

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CARMARTHENSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL today passed a motion tabled to investigate the opportunity to mothball the Amman Valley rail line until a Metro for the region can be established.

With the Amman Valley Railway line coal transportation coming to the end of its life, Carmarthenshire Council agreed there should be a feasibility study of the railway line, to see if we could do a modern environmentally-friendly green railway. The modern rail bus would connect the Amman Valley and the Gwendrarth Valley with Llanelli and Swansea.

This motion follows on from a motion tabled by Carmarthenshire Council nearly three years ago on the need for sustainable, environmentally-friendly and cheap public transport within Carmarthenshire, under the umbrella of a Swansea Bay Metro.

As part of the discussion, it was revealed that a feasibility study into the Swansea Bay Metro has now moved to Transport for Wales for competition after a delay in its competition.

Cllr Rob James, Leader of Carmarthenshire Labour, stated: “Like many communities in Carmarthenshire, residents in the Amman Valleys are unable to catch a bus a lot of time, when they do they realise the costs of ticket and it’s our town centres that are suffering as a result.

“There is a need arising with opencast mining ceasing in the near future to mothball the Amman Valley railway line until plans can be furthered on the Swansea Bay Metro proposal.

“We know from experience that attempting to bring lines back into use after years of neglect is extremely costly and as a result, makes infrastructure projects, such as this, less desirable for Governments.

“We cannot afford to sit on our hands and hope others will pick up the slack if we are to sort out public transport in Carmarthenshire.”

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