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AM views digital innovation in Morriston Hospital

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INNOVATIVE use of digital technology at Morriston Hospital has come under the spotlight as part of a Wales-wide review.

Llanelli AM Lee Waters is leading a digital panel into public service transformation on behalf of the Welsh Government.

He visited Morriston Hospital where the renal unit has made pioneering advances in the use of digital technology.

This has not only improved the way care is delivered but also how people with kidney disease can access it. Mr Waters saw the system in action and was given a presentation explaining how these improvements have been made over the years – and how clinical and IT staff came together to identify issues and find their own solutions.

Mr Waters said: “It’s not just consultant-led or IT-led. It was the whole team coming together and saying, how can we make what we do simpler and how do we develop new processes to make it smoother, for the benefit of patients?
“It’s a simple idea but devilishly complex to do. Yet they’ve been able to do it in Morriston, so if they can do it, others can do it too.

“What’s stopping that from happening is what the panel I’m leading is considering so we can make recommendations to the Welsh Government, hopefully in the next few weeks, of how to bring about change to the whole of Wales.”

Mr Waters met the team that made this happen: Renal Consultant James Chess, Consultant Renal Pharmacist Chris Brown, Senior Renal Pharmacy Technician Dafydd James, Renal IT Engineer Mike Wakelyn, and Renal Sister Debbie Hopkins.

Digital healthcare is vitally important because Morriston provides a regional renal service for thousands of patients across South West Wales. This includes people needing dialysis or who have had a transplant, all of whom require complex and lifelong medication.

The renal unit has its own dedicated Renal Medicines Service, a specialist pharmacy team working with the nephrologists, nurses and the multi-disciplinary renal team to manage these treatments.

Consultant Renal Pharmacist Chris Brown said the scale and complexity of the operation was astonishing, adding: “Making our service digital is key to making high quality care possible. Digital tools are key to making our service and care records accessible to patients.”

The unit electronically prescribes and manages medicines through a module housed within a renal electronic patient record. This e-record integrates every aspect of a patient’s care on a single platform, allowing for a highly efficient medicines management process. It also puts patients at the centre of their own care, allowing them to make decisions about their treatments by giving them digital access to their information through their smartphone or computer.

The most recent development is an Electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration (EPMA) system. This will digitise the region’s hospital-based dialysis units in Swansea, Aberystwyth, Carmarthen and Haverfordwest. Each week thousands of drugs and dialysis treatments are given in these units. The renal EPMA is fully integrated into the e-record. This allows electronic prescribing and electronic recording of the administration of treatments in a single digital system – placing everything needed to deliver care at the fingertips of health professionals.

Renal Consultant James Chess said: “The renal EPMA was designed in-house. This was not just a lower-cost option than buying a commercial system but also meant it could be developed specifically to meet the renal service’s requirements.”

Understanding what the entire clinical team needed ensured the EPMA met their requirements and was user-friendly – such as incorporating touch-screen technology so nurses can access it quickly at the bedside.

Mr Waters said: “The impressive thing about it is, it comes from the whole team; it has been an organic change driven locally.

“It isn’t some government minister saying I want you to do this.

“This is the people working on the front line saying, we think there’s a better way of doing this and we are going to show, locally, how that can be done.

“It’s real innovation in practice, overcoming all the barriers locally and showing there’s an alternative way to do it.”

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Swansea Bay City Deal leaders are supporting Neath Port Talbot Council’s proposals for changes

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SWANSEA Bay City Deal leaders are supporting Neath Port Talbot Council’s proposal to amend some of their projects due to be part-funded by the £1.3 billion investment programme.

Any amended or enhanced projects, they say, will be progressed through City Deal governance and approval processes before submission to the Welsh Government and UK Government for consideration.

This follows on from the City Deal’s Joint Committee accepting all recommendations arising from two reviews into the City Deal, which included enabling flexibility in the investment programme to bring new projects in if they’re beneficial to the region.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Bay City Deal Joint Committee Chairman, says a Neath Port Talbot Council call for the City Deal to change approach is also being put in place.

Cllr Stewart said: “As a Joint Committee, we have accepted all recommendations from the City Deal reviews, and work is ongoing to implement them as soon as possible.

“These include the appointment of an independent programme director to manage the City Deal, as well as flexibility to amend or enhance projects forming part of the investment programme if they’re good for the region.

“The City Deal is still at an early stage of its development, but we’re doing all we can to make governance and project approval processes more efficient to speed up the investment programme’s delivery.

“It would be too great a risk for communities and businesses in Neath Port Talbot to miss out on City Deal investment, so we stand ready to help Neath Port Talbot Council move their projects forward.

“All City Deal partners remain committed to delivery. It’s widely recognised that the City Deal presents a once in a generation opportunity to create considerable economic growth and well-paid jobs across the region as a whole.”

The independent review into the City Deal commissioned by both governments recommended immediate approval for two City Deal projects – the ‘Yr Egin’ creative sector development in Carmarthen, and the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District.

Cllr Stewart said: “We expect funds to be released for these projects imminently.

“We also welcome Neath Port Talbot Council’s continued commitment to the regional Homes as Power Stations project, which will help people save money on their energy bills by introducing cutting-edge energy-efficient technology to both new houses and existing buildings throughout South West Wales.”

The Swansea Bay City Deal investment programme is due to be funded by the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public sector and the private sector. It’s being led by the four regional councils – Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea – in partnership with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea University, Hywel Dda University Health Board and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board.

The City Deal is projected to create over 9,000 high-quality jobs and give the regional economy a £1.8 billion boost in coming years.

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A476: Lorry fire closes LLannon to Tumble road

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Emergency services dealt with a lorry fire on the A476, Llannon to Tumble road, Carmarthenshire

The incident took place on Tuesday afternoon (Apr 16)

The road was closed for a short time whilst the fire was extinguished.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown.

No one was reported injured in the fire.

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Almost 100 jobs to go at Calsonic Llanelli

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A MAJOR Llanelli employer is to shed almost a quarter of its employees following what it describes as a ‘significant drop-off in sales’.

Calsonic Kansei, based says that continuing political and economic uncertainty have contributed to its decision to lay off 95 workers at its Lleithri Road factory on the outskirts of the town.

Calsonic were offered £4.4m from the Welsh Government to create 88 jobs at the plant late last year.

Llanelli’s local AM, Lee Waters, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for the Economy and Nia Griffith MP issued a joint statement about the jobs blow.

Lee Waters AM said “Nia Griffith and I will be doing what we can to work with the company, trade unions and other employers in the area to help the workers directly affected. And the Welsh Government will be extending the taskforce helping workers at Schaeffler to offer practical support.”

“Calsonic were offered significant Welsh Government help to develop new products at the end of last year, and we will continue to do what we can to help create a sustainable future for the site, through what is clearly a troubling period.”

Nia Griffith MP said “The next month will be a difficult period for the workers and their families at Calsonic, both Lee and I are ready to do whatever we can to help anyone affected. Alongside working directly with the factory staff and the trade unions, I’ll be using my voice in Parliament to ask the UK Government to match Welsh Government’s ongoing commitment to the plant and the workforce.”

Calsonic’s vice-president of HR for Europe, Neil O’ Brien, said: “The automotive industry is at a transitional stage, as well as being at a key point in several major vehicle ‘life cycles’, with car manufacturers developing their technologies to satisfy the ever demanding environmental legislation and moving towards autonomous and electric vehicles.

“During this period of transition, the added pressures of market instability caused by the political and economic conditions have affected our customers’ volumes and, consequently, Calsonic Kansei’s sales have seen a significant drop.

“The company intends to do everything reasonably possible to reduce the impact of this proposal on its employees.”

In January Schaeffler announced plans to close its plant in Leave-voting Llanelli with a loss of 200 skilled jobs.

Schaeffler also cited uncertainty about the UK’s economic and political future as being partially responsible for its decision.

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