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Glangwili improvements pledged

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GlangwiliSIGNIFICANT improvements to facilities for women, children and their families at Glangwili Hospital have been promised by Hywel Dda UHB.

A dedicated project group is working u p design plans that would see Phase Two improve neonatal (Special Care Baby Unit), labour ward and maternity theatres to the very best environment for healthcare provision in these areas. Phase Three, would follow this, and would improve gynaecology, postnatal and antenatal accommodation. It would also create a bigger footprint new build at the hospital for children’s services.

The Health Board declared its intentions to make further improvements two years ago when some changes were made to women and children’s hospital services in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire an independent expert report into the service change (by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health working with five other colleges) found the move had improved the health board’s ability to meet standards, and had not adversely affected patients’ clinical outcomes.

It called for the next stage of capital developments to be progressed as a matter of urgency.

NHS Wales has already earmarked £3m in its 2016/17 budget for preparatory work to support Phase Two. It is estimated that this project may see investment in excess of £10m into the hospital during Phase Two.

Chief Executive Steve Moore, who is the Senior Responsible Officer for the project explained: “We are continuing to make improvements to services for women and children across our area. In Pembrokeshire, we have extended the contract with the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust for the Dedicated Ambulance Vehicle (DAV) to the end of the financial year and discussions are on-going to place this service on a more permanent basis.

“The service has been used less than anticipated for emergency transfers between Withybush and Glangwili Hospital but it is a valued service and the paramedics have been integrated into the hospital’s medical emergency team and work across the professional boundaries when they are available.

“We are also progressing plans to move the Paediatric Ambulatory Care Unit at Withybush Hospital closer to the Emergency Department, which will improve access to dedicated paediatric specialists.

“Improvements are also being made at Glangwili for people across our area who use the hospital. We are pleased to have established a suitable and comfortable area for partners of labouring women to wait if they do not want to return home, for example.

“An important next step is progressing capital (building) improvements to accommodation for women and children’s service. The level of activity now being undertaken at the hospital, combined with feedback from the independent report and feedback from our staff and patients has built a strong case for large scale estate improvements needed in these areas.

“This is why we want to take the project through in two more phases rather than one. We want to create optimal environments to provide our women and children with the very best of care.”

Mr Moore said the health board was committed to both phases of improvements.

“We know it is frustrating, especially for services which are now scheduled in Phase Three, but we made this decision in conjunction with our clinicians and other staff as we did not want to be limited by the current footprint of the hospital, which we think needs to be bigger to do justice to these important services.

“At the same time, we could not wait for one large scale project as this will take time to deliver and there are urgent elements of improvements, particularly in the labour ward and Special Care Baby Unit, which we need to achieve for our patients with haste. We remain fully committed to all parts of this project and will start work on Phase Three as soon as Phase Two is complete.”

The two phased approach was approved by the Health Board’s Business Planning and Performance Committee at the end of March and will be reported to full Health Board for endorsement in its July meeting.

Seven staff user groups have been working to create draft schedules of accommodation to outline to designers what is needed in the development.

And the health board has been engaging with staff and users of the service on the schedules using Graffiti Boards in ward areas. Further engagement will follow in the coming weeks and it is hoped drawings will be available by mid-June.

Mr Moore said: “We know that this service change has not been easy, particularly for our Pembrokeshire community, but also our staff, which is why we are working hard to upgrade facilities at Glangwili Hospital and improve the staff and patient experience all round.”

The health board is progressing early engagement on Phase Three elements already by speaking to staff and users and also with a local charity Carmarthenshire’s Children’s Centre (the Bandi Appeal).

The charity and health board are considering if there would be benefits to combining plans to improve paediatric inpatient services with the charity’s aims of providing an integrated centre for outpatient, assessment and treatment of children and young people.

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Carmarthenshire’s sensory garden: why locals should embrace this wellness trend

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WITH ‘#sensorygarden’ 499.1k views on TikTok – locals have the advantage of experiencing a sensory garden on their doorstep at the National Botanic Garden of Wales. Wildlife experts explain why you should visit.

Wildlife expert Sean McMenemy shares how sensory gardens can do wonders for our wellness whilst providing a safe haven for wildlife and encourages Carmarthenshire locals to visit their local sensory garden this autumn.

A sensory garden is an outdoor space that stimulates the five senses of sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste, and can be created in your own garden. Sensory gardens at home remain relatively rare, but the trend is growing with the TikTok hashtag ‘#sensorygarden’ amassing 499.1k views*. 

Carmarthenshire, dubbed the Garden of Wales, has a huge array of beautiful green spaces to explore. It’s home to the National Botanic Garden of Wales which spans a huge 568 acres, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The stunning Great Glasshouse features a sensory trail that explores the largest single-span greenhouse in the world! From fluffy flowers from South Africa to a strongly scented Australian plant, it’ll engage all your senses. 

Having recently gifted King Charles with a beautiful oak sapling, the National Botanic Garden of Wales care deeply about the nation’s natural heritage. For those visiting the garden, the paths are wheelchair accessible with manual wheelchairs available on site. Open 10am – 6pm every day of the week.

Wildlife expert and founder of bird food provider Ark Wildlife, Sean McMenemy, explains the benefits of sensory gardening: “Sensory gardens provide a great deal of physical and mental benefits for different people and purposes. From getting vitamin D from sunlight to improving physical fitness by maintaining a garden, there are several physical benefits. Mentally, you can benefit from a mood boost and relaxation by spending time surrounded by calming stimulation.

“Sensory gardens can also have huge benefits for children, older people, those with learning disabilities and those who struggle with their physical and mental health. You can also create a sensory garden for your pets and garden wildlife!”

Top tips for creating your own sensory garden

If you do have the outdoor space, creating your own sensory garden is therapeutic in itself and doesn’t need to be a complicated process. The most important thing is to ensure that the garden engages all five senses. 

Melody Estes, landscape design gardening supervisor, says: “Whether you’re new to gardening or a seasoned pro, you can always improve your garden by adding some sensory elements.” 

Here are some tips from Melody for creating a sensory garden:

Sight – Plant colourful flowers that change with the seasons.

Sound – If you have a fountain or water feature on your property, consider adding some relaxing music to play alongside it. You could also place chimes near your front door to welcome people in.

Smell – Use scent. Consider planting scented flowers or herbs like lavender, rosemary and thyme that will give off a lovely aroma when they bloom.

Touch – Mix textures. The texture of plants can be as important as their colour and shape. Try using plants with soft leaves like ferns or grasses that are texturally different.

Taste – Planting herbs, fruits and vegetables not only provide tasty treats, but is a sustainable source of food.

Sean McMenemy adds: “Sensory gardens are an easy way to engage with wildlife and the outdoor environment. Growing your own plants and vegetables provides countless ways to learn about the natural world.

“You can bring your sensory garden to life by using bird feeders to attract beautiful feathered friends into your garden. They’ll bring the sound element to your sensory garden naturally. Fragrant flowers will attract colourful butterflies and other pollinators to your garden, giving you something to observe whilst helping nature to thrive.”

Some people may not have the time, money or space to create their own sensory garden. However, those with balconies and window ledges can still plant colourful, sweet-smelling flowers and edible plants. This mini sensory garden can still provide the benefits and satisfaction of an outdoor garden.

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Prince and Princess of Wales to visit Wales

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THE PRINCE and Princess of Wales have planned a trip to Wales to visit a variety of communities across the nation and learn about the work of key charitable organisations. 

The Prince and Princess have a deep affection for Wales, having made their first family home in Anglesey, and have thoroughly enjoyed their previous visits and the warmth and kindness shown by the Welsh people. 

Their Royal Highnesses are looking forward to spending more time in Wales over the next few years, they hope to strengthen their relationship with communities in all parts of Wales. 

During their first engagement, Their Royal Highnesses will visit the RNLI Holyhead Lifeboat Station, where they will meet crew, volunteers and some people who have been supported by their local unit.

Holyhead is one of the three oldest lifeboat stations on the Welsh coast and has a remarkable history of bravery, having received 70 awards for gallantry. 

Their Royal Highnesses will then take a short walk to the Holyhead Marine and Cafe Bar, where they will meet local people, including representatives of small businesses and organisations, including the Coastguard and Sea Cadets. 

In their second engagement, the Prince and Princess of Wales are expected to visit Swansea. 

Their Royal Highnesses will visit St Thomas Church, a re-developed church in Swansea which supports people in the local area and across the City and County of Swansea. 

Over the last two years the church has been transformed into a thriving community hub and is home to a vast array of services, including:

  • A foodbank which supports over 200 people per week
  • Swansea Baby Basics which distributes essential items for vulnerable mothers across the city, such as toiletries and clothes
  • Facilities for the homeless including food, showers and toilets
  • A not-for-profit cafe and community training kitchen
  • A surplus food distribution network which collects food from supermarkets at the end of each day and distributes it from the church to prevent food waste and to help end food poverty

As part of their visit, Their Royal Highnesses will meet those volunteering at the church across different initiatives including Baby Basics and the foodbank. Their Royal Highnesses will also spend some time meeting members of the public gathered outside the church. 

The Princess of Wales has previously worked with Baby Banks and the in summer of 2020 brought together 19 British brands and retailers to donate over 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks nationwide, operated by Baby Basics, Little Village and AberNecessities. 

Her Royal Highness has visited a number of baby banks across the UK, including in London, Sheffield and West Norfolk where she has spent time speaking with families about their experiences of using their local baby bank services, as well as helping unload donations. 

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Carmarthenshire farmer dies following attack by bull near Llandeilo

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A FARMER has died following an incident with a bull on a farm in Llandeilo.

The 58-year-old, named locally as Maldwyn Harrier, was attacked by the animal during a TB test on Friday morning.

Police have confirmed that they were called to a farm in the Penybanc area of Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, and are investigating alongside the Health and Safety Executive. 

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