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Glangwili hospital receive fabric to make laundry bags

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Pictured with some of the laundry bags and squares are Nurse Louise McGee and Health Care Support Worker Abi Jones.

THANKS to donations, Hywel Dda Health Charities has provided fabric to make laundry bags and bonding squares for the Special Care Baby Unit at Glangwili Hospital.

Health Care Support Worker Louise Hughes said: “The laundry bags help parents to be involved in their baby’s care and the fabric squares help in the bonding between mother and baby.

“The laundry bags are placed at the end of each baby’s cot, providing a place to store soiled clothes, ready to be taken home to be washed.

“The laundry bags and squares are made for us by the mother of one of our members of staff, and we would like to thank for her kindness and time in making these.”

Louise added: “Parents tell us they find the bags very useful and have said they look homely which is nice to see when you are sat in a clinical area, and the bonding squares help them feel connected with their baby.”

Hywel Dda Health Charities is the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board. 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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Possible super-hospital plans released as Pembrokeshire site ruled out

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HYWEL Dda Health Board have reduced the number of potential sites for the new “super-hospital” in West Wales from five to three. 

The new site has been narrowed down to two possible locations in Whitland or one in St Clears.

According to the plans provided in Hywel Dda’s technical appraisal reports, all sites will include a main building divided into planned and urgent care, as well as a separate facility for mental health services. Parking, administrative facilities, and a helipad are also planned.

Site 12 in Whitland
Travel time analysis for population to site 12

The potential Narberth site is no longer being considered, meaning that the new hospital would be built outside of Pembrokeshire.

Hywel Dda presented the findings of a “transport infrastructure analysis,” stating that both sites had bus services that are “infrequent” and “short,” making shift work difficult.

Plan for ‘site C’ in Whitland
Travel time analysis for population to ‘site C’

For Whitland, it noted that there was an approximate 750m walking distance from the train station to the hospital site, with recommended walking distance of 400m, and that local roads do ‘not appear’ to suffer from significant congestion during a typical weekday. 

In St Clears, the report highlighted the impact a planned new railway station – expected to open in 2024 – could have on the town, saying it would be a ‘major boost’ to the area providing viable alternative car travel, with it being understood there is a commitment to increase the frequency of services at some stations along the west Wales line from two hourly to hourly.

Plans for ‘site 17’ in St Clears
Travel time analysis for population ‘site 17’ in St Clears

After it was announced that Narberth would not be the site of the new hospital, Hywel Dda University Health Board Chair, Maria Battle, assured the residents of Pembrokeshire that their concerns would be taken into account.

“Our programme business case to the Welsh Government is seeking the greatest investment west Wales will have ever seen,” said Ms Battle.

Ambulance times to Whitland, Bronglais Hospital and Morriston Hospital (Welsh Ambulance Service travel time analysis June 2022)
Ambulance times to St Clears, Bronglais Hospital and Morriston Hospital (Welsh Ambulance Service travel time analysis June 2022)

“We have listened to and continue to listen to the fears and voices of the public we serve and our staff who understand the frontline challenges of trying to deliver services across so many sites and spread so thinly.

“Recognising the fragility of our services and the risk this poses every day, we do not intend to make changes at Glangwili or Withybush hospitals before a new hospital is built. And afterwards, they will continue to provide valuable health services to our communities.”

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Glangwili Hospital is first in Wales to administer new osteoporosis medication

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GLANDWILI HOSPITAL has become the first in Wales to administer a new medication that will help patients suffering from osteoporosis. It was approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and it the first new osteoporosis drug treatment of its kind for over a decade.

The new treatment – Romosozumab – is now available in Wales for preventing future fractures in patients suffering from osteoporosis.

The bone-building drug is given as a simple injection under the skin. It is highly effective for preventing fractures by the way it acts on bone cells, particularly in postmenopausal women with severe osteoporosis. It is one of only two treatments that help to promote bone formation, and the first to reduce bone loss at the same time.

On Thursday 21 July Carole Bevan became the first patient in Wales to receive the medication at Glangwili General Hospital, Carmarthen.

She said: “I am very fortunate to be the first patient in Wales and quite pleased at being considered and offered this treatment. I did not feel the needle at all and I’m happy to self-administer the injection monthly for the next 12 months.”

Dr Abhaya Gupta, Consultant Physician at Glangwili Hospital, added: “The availability of this drug in Wales is an additional option for treating patients with osteoporosis, many of whom suffer devastating consequences from hip fractures, spine and wrist fractures.

“By its novel mechanism of action this treatment has the potential to revolutionise our approach to treating those people with severe disease who are at very high risk of fracture, especially when it is used as their initial treatment.

“With increasing numbers of elderly patients with osteoporosis, this injection is an additional drug available to specialists to treat these patients, helping to reduce disability and health and social care costs in the long term.”

Catrin Beddoe, a pharmacist at Glangwili Hospital, added: “This is a simple injection given once a month for one year to appropriate elderly female patients suffering from the devastating consequences of fractures, and I am pleased to be part of the specialist osteoporosis team involved in this exciting work.”

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Carmarthenshire Council in ‘cloud cuckoo land’ over care home fees

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A SOCIAL care champion has accused Carmarthenshire Council of trying to “defend the indefensible” over care home fees.

Cabinet member Jane Tremlett was unhappy after the authority was named and shamed by Care Forum Wales after they compiled a table that revealed massive discrepancies between the fees paid by different councils.

In the case of Carmarthenshire, it showed that the council pays £8,700 less per person, per year for Nursing EMI care than Torfaen Council in Gwent – for exactly the same level of care.

For a care home with 40 residents that adds up to a difference of more than £350,000 per year.

Cllr Tremlett had hit out after Care Forum Wales published a table highlighting the post code lottery of fees in Wales in which Carmarthenshire was seventh from bottom.

She claimed that the organisation, which represents nearly 500 independent social care providers, was causing division.

Mario Kreft, the chair of Care Forum Wales who was made an MBE for his contribution to social care, said: “Carmarthenshire Council clearly do not like being confronted with the truth because in their response they are trying to defend the indefensible.

“If they think it is fair that Carmarthenshire pays £8,765 per person, per year less than Torfaen in Gwent for Nursing EMI care for providing exactly the same level of service, they are living in cloud cuckoo land.

“This issue was laid bare once and for all by Merthyr Council a couple of months ago when councillors were given legal advice that it was unlawful not to pay fees that reflected the legitimate current and future costs of providing care, as well as the factors affecting those costs.

“They were warned the fees set needed to be adequate to enable providers to meet the specifications set by the commissioners, together with regulatory requirements.

“As a result, members in Merthyr voted for increases of up to 22 per cent and now we’ve seen two councils in North Wales, Gwynedd and Anglesey, following suit with increases of up to 25 per cent.

“The table we have compiled has highlighted the grossly unfair post code lottery of fees in Wales, with massive discrepancies between the top of the bottom – up to £11,000 per person, per year in some places

“Carmarthenshire Council are clearly upset about being named and shamed – but it’s their own fault.

“After years of campaigning for fair fees, the tide is turning and the momentum is heading one direction so this has come as a reality check for Carmarthenshire Council.

“Unfortunately, the council is trying to keep the true facts hidden from the good people of Carmarthenshire.

“It’s about time the cabinet member was honest and up front with the electorate about why they do not properly value the care provided for the most vulnerable people in our society.

“Contrary to what Cllr Tremlett suggests, this is actually all about seeing the big picture because she appears to be blinded to facts of the matter.

“Back in the 1990s Care Forum Wales campaigned for the introduction of national standards of care to be overseen by a national inspectorate and that came about 22 years ago.

“We’re now about see a new ratings systems introduced for social care with Care Inspectorate Wales applying the same criteria in different parts of Wales.

“It won’t take into account that a home in Torfaen receives £350,000 more than a home in Carmarthenshire which is grossly unfair.

“Some local authorities – notably Torfaen, Merthyr, Gwynedd and Anglesey – are really stepping up to the plate and should be applauded but it’s clear that there are others who cannot be trusted to do the right thing.

“This is why, as a matter of urgency, we need a complete overhaul of the system so that we have a national framework to ensure fair minimum fee levels.

“Without fair fees, the only way that care homes can remain viable is by charging top of fees so that they can meet those additional costs.

“Inevitably, those councillors are placing the burden on honest, hard-working families and it all adds up to a stealth tax on them at a time when the cost of living is going through the roof.”

Care Forum Wales, the organisation responsible for representing Welsh independent care providers, has come under attack from the council.

Care Forum Wales’ claims have been branded as unfair by Carmarthenshire cabinet member Jane Tremlett.

“We are repeatedly having to state that the language used by Care Forum Wales, even though it generates a headline, creates division when we should be presenting a united front across local authorities and providers to find long-term solution to funding social care,” she said.

“In Carmarthenshire we’re proud of the support we’ve offered the sector in general but particularly the support we provided throughout the covid crisis . But naturally the costs of running residential care can vary significantly area by area and our rate reflects this; this year Carmarthenshire’s above-inflation rise to the older persons sector has been generally well supported and we’ve made a commitment to our providers to review our Cost of Care model in this financial year, by working with the whole sector in the West Wales region to rebase our model, and update where required.

“Again, this crude league table fails to see the bigger picture and consequentially is not entirely accurate or helpful. We remain committed to continuing to engage with the sector as we have done for many years.”

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