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Assurances sought over health board review




Mark Tierny: “I will play an active role”

Mark Tierny: “I will play an active role”

A LABOUR Assembly candidate has written to Hywel Dda seeking assurances over the transparency of an upcoming review.

Marc Tierney, who will be standing in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire has contacted the Hywel Dda Chief Executive Steve Moore after an independent evaluation of the changes in women and children’s healthcare in west Wales was announced at a meeting in Withybush Hospital last Thursday (May 28).

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) are due to undertake an independent evaluation. Hywel Dda has said that the review will ‘provide an impartial and expert evaluation, including representation from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, plus a midwifery, paediatric and neonatal nursing view, and a lay representative.’

The evaluation was commissioned by Hywel Dda University Health Board following a request by the Welsh Government Health Minister in January 2014 for a formal evaluation after 12 months of the service change on the ‘the impact of the revised neonatal service on newborn outcomes and patient experience’.

Changes to neonatal and maternity services were made in August 2014, when the University Health Board created a single site Special Care Baby Unit at Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen, and established a Midwife Led Unit in Withybush Hospital, with all high risk pregnancies being scheduled for birth, or transferred as necessary, to a Consultant Led Unit at Glangwili Hospital.

In October, the Universiaty Health Board also made changes to paediatric services, establishing a Paediatric Ambulatory Care Unit (or assessment unit) in Withybush Hospital, open 10am-10pm seven days a week, and a PACU and inpatient paediatric ward at Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen.

Marc Tierney, who was present for the announcement of the review at the Health Board meeting last Thursday, said he believed it was important that the process is both transparent and understandable by staff and patients.

“The decision and subsequent removal of services last year was difficult and many of us shared our deep concerns about the process and implementation. The new management has listened to those concerns.

“But I want to be absolutely sure that the review’s terms of reference currently being written will be made public so that patients and staff fully understand the shape of the review and what potential outcomes are possible. The health service needs to prove it can once again be trusted with the way it makes these big decisions.

“To make that a reality, I hope that the Community Health Council (CHC) will play an active role in this review and that local residents who accessed women and children’s services since last August at either Withybush or Glangwili will take part. The health service must open to listening to those patient experiences, and I urge the public to come forward – either to the CHC or the Health Board so that their views are counted.”

The evaluation, scheduled to begin imminently, will assess the services against the benefit criteria identified in ‘Your Health Your Future,’ review the impact and outcomes of the neonatal service change, and determine how the current services meet recognised Royal College standards.

Speaking last week about the review, Mr Moore said: “We acknowledge that there has been significant public concern over the changes we made to some women and children’s services last year, particularly for our population in Pembrokeshire. For this reason, as well as assurance for us as a Board and our patients, an independent expert evaluation is essential.”

Anyone wishing to share their experience as a patient, or family member/carer, can visit myexperience and fill in a survey. You can also pick one up from the main reception at hospital or request one by calling 01554 899 056.

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How Wales created 19 new field hospitals in less than 8 weeks…




Across Wales the Welsh Government is supporting the NHS to create new field hospitals and rapidly increase bed capacity.
Health boards have repurposed existing buildings, including the Principality Stadium, a holiday park and even a television studio to provide an additional 6,000 beds.Field hospitals are designed to support the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic by providing extra bed capacity but they will also help normal hospital services be restarted and support social care services.Last month, the first patients were admitted to Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig at the Principality Stadium, in Cardiff.

Four to six weeks

Here is how Wales almost doubled its bed capacity in less than eight weeks…The time it has taken to nearly double hospital bed capacity in Wales, creating field hospitals across the nation.

19 field hospitals in Wales
This includes the repurposing of Bluestone Holiday Park and Parc y Scarlets in west Wales and Venue Cymru in north Wales.

1,500 beds at the Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig
Making it one of the largest field hospitals in the UK.

Five days
The length of time it took to plan Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig, which overlapped with the build phase.

The number of planning hours, involving more than 20 different disciplines, it took to plan Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig.

Welsh Government funding for the set up, construction and equipment for field hospitals in Wales.

The number of pieces of equipment have been provided to help support field hospitals, including beds, imaging equipment, syringe drivers and medicines.

Three North Wales field hospitals have the name Enfys
Meaning rainbow – the symbol of hope and thank you to the NHS during the pandemic.
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7-year-old Mattie from Pembrey takes on home Pen y Fan-tastic challenge for Action for Children




Plucky Mattie Denman will climb the equivalent of Pen y Fan in the drive at her family home in Pembrey on Friday 22nd May to raise funds for Action for Children.

Mattie (7), has always wanted to climb the highest mountain in South Wales and is unable to currently because of the coronavirus pandemic.  As the family exercise at home every day, she decided she wanted to do the 6-mile equivalent journey there while she waits for the chance to do it for real.  Mattie chose Action for Children as her mother, Sian, works for the charity in Carmarthenshire.

Mattie said: ‘My Mammy works for Action for Children and I want to help as well because lots of families need help.  My older brother and sister help Action for Children, so I asked Mammy if I could do something. We exercise everyday walking up and down the drive and I have always wanted to climb Pen y Fan, but we have never done it.

‘Mammy said I could pretend I am walking it and people will give money to the charity. I said brilliant, that is what I am going to do and I am super excited to do it. I will use mammy’s step counter and I hope I can help children that need support especially because it is so hard for some families because of coronavirus.’

Proud mum and family support practitioner for Action for Children, Sian, added: ‘Mattie has a lovely heart and really wanted to do something and I’m very proud she chose Pen y Fan as her home challenge.  Action for Children has been going the extra mile during the coronavirus pandemic continuing to support vulnerable families through phone and video sessions as well as food and help with the basics from our Emergency Appeal Fund. 

‘It is a tremendously challenging time for our families and every bit of money will directly help those in our communities who need it most.  I hope as many people as possible will donate to Mattie’s brilliant fundraising effort, it’ll make it even more special when we finally get to climb Pen y Fan for real.’

If you want to support Mattie’s Pen y Fan challenge please go to:

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Housebuilder launches Coronavirus move in package




A South Wales housebuilder has launched new incentives which mean homes are ‘ready to move into’ during the Covid-19 crisis – without the need for tradespeople or delivery people.

People in Wales are allowed to move into new build houses during the lockdown – and many people have successfully done so.

However, the limitations of social distancing can add extra stress when it comes to having things like dishwashers, washing machines and turf installed in the new property.

That’s why Persimmon Homes West Wales has launched a new incentive package which gives purchasers the chance to buy a house with white goods and flooring already in place.

Sharon Bouhali, sales director at Persimmon Homes West Wales, said: “Our sales advisors have done a terrific job in talking with customers and guiding them through the buying process remotely, without the need of face-to-face meetings.

“It’s been a huge challenge, but we’ve risen to it – and Persimmon has sold more than 120 properties in South Wales during the lockdown period. We have customers moving into their new homes every week.

“But, understandably, some people are cautious about having too many tradespeople and contractors enter their home, even if they are doing their utmost to abide by social distancing rules.

“That’s why we have launched these new packages which mean people can turn the key, unpack and get on with enjoying their new home.”

The package includes carpets and vinyl throughout, turf in the back garden, sliding wardrobes, integrated fridge freezer, integrated washer/dryer, integrated dishwasher and £500 discount towards removal fees.

The deal is on offer at Glas Y Felin in Bridgend, Parc Yr Onnen in Carmarthen, The Bridles in Llanelli, Peterson Park in Pontyclun, Parc Brynderi in Llanelli and Allt Y Celyn in Rhos.

Persimmon’s marketing suites in Wales remain closed for the time being. Visit or call 01792 229800 for details of homes available.

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