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Ambulance service criticised

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Ambulance serviceA FIRE SERVICE professional has criticised the Welsh Ambulance service after it took five hours for assistance to reach his disabled daughter.

Former fire service-worker Jo Mayne, 66, who now works as a fire officer on Valero oil refinery, told the Herald that his daughter Joanne suffered nerve damage following an operation and has limited mobility. She had recently married and moved to Ammanford.

Mr Mayne, a resident of Milford Haven, said that on Friday (May 22) morning, Joanne phoned him at 11.30, saying that she had suffered a fall. She couldn’t get up, and was bleeding from her leg. Her husband, who is also disabled, was at work.

After receiving the call, Mr Mayne phoned for an ambulance. He clearly stated that Joanne was disabled, was unable to get up, was alone in the house, and didn’t know anyone in the area who could physically help her.

He then phoned his daughter, and asked her to keep him informed about which hospital she was taken to.

However, at 1.30pm, his daughter phoned again. “She was in tears, saying the ambulance still hadn’t arrived,” he remembered.

Joanne’s 85-year-old father in law, who lives nearby, visited Joanne and did his best to make her comfortable. However, he was caring for his seriously ill wife, and was unable to stay.

After hearing this, Mr Mayne went to Milford Haven Fire Station, and asked if MAWWFS could offer any assistance. While he was in the fire station, an ambulance driver came in and told him that an ambulance had just been dispatched from Withybush.

He left Milford Haven with his wife, and arrived at his daughter’s house at the same time as the ambulance – around 4.20pm.

It transpired that the ambulance that had been sent was a St Johns ambulance. “They’re usually used for patient transfer,” Mr Mayne said. “I don’t know why they sent it out on something like this.”

A highly-trained first-aider, Mr Mayne then inspected the injury to his daughter’s leg, and splinted it using materials from the ambulance. She was also given pain relief by the ambulance crew.

At this point the ambulance crew told Mr Mayne that if he couldn’t get his daughter into a wheelchair and into the back of the ambulance, they would have to contact ambulance control and send out another ambulance, which could take 2-3 hours.

“I’m 66, I still work, and I still pay tax. I don’t mind paying more for a service, but that is not a service,” he said.

He then managed to get daughter into a wheelchair and into the ambulance. They arrived at Glangwili at 5.35pm. After treatment, they left the hospital at 12.45am.

Mr Mayne was keen to state that the treatment his daughter received was of high quality, and praised the effort of the St Johns team.

He has also written to Paul Davies AM and Stephen Crabb outlining his concerns, but has not yet received a reply.

“It was a nightmare,” he said. “I just want to try and make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

The Welsh Ambulance Service states that their target response time for non life-threatening calls is 30 minutes. We contacted the Ambulance Service asking the reasons for the five hour delay, and whether or not the response team sent out had the necessary equipment and training to deal with the situation outlined. At the time of going to press we had received no response.

However, a recent Freedom of Information Act request by Plaid Cymru, revealed that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of private ambulances used in Wales over the last two years.

The number of non-NHS ambulances used by the Welsh Ambulance Service rose from 1,248 in 2012-13 to 9,242 in 2014-15; an increase of more than 600%.

And the bill for using the ‘private providers’ jumped from just £172,000 to £2,086,000 over the same period. The number of taxis hired to take patients also rose from 682 in 2012- 13 to 868 in 2014-15 after a fall to 363 in 2013-14.

Elin Jones, Shadow Assembly Minister for Health, said: “I was shocked when I saw the extent of the increased use of private providers by the Trust. The dramatic rise in the use of private ambulances for emergency transport indicates a desperate need for a long term plan to meet demand in-house.

“The number of emergency calls has stayed fairly static in recent years and using private providers is short sighted. The Trust needs to think long-term.

“It may be proportionate to use the third sector such as St John’s in non-emergency hospital transfers but NHS ambulances are needed for emergency transport.”

Responding to Plaid Cymru on the use of private providers for emergency calls the Trust said: “More latterly, the Trust has made a conscious decision to support internal capacity with the use of private providers for responses to emergency calls. These do require ALS (advanced life support) skills and are, therefore, more expensive.”

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

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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.

3,000
The number of planning hours, involving more than 20 different disciplines, it took to plan Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig.

£166m
Welsh Government funding for the set up, construction and equipment for field hospitals in Wales.

138,000
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

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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: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mattiesclimb

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Housebuilder launches Coronavirus move in package

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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 www.persimmonhomes.com or call 01792 229800 for details of homes available.

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