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Explosion victim praises clinic

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Recovering: Blast victim Hugh Williams

Recovering: Blast victim Hugh Williams

A WORKER who suffered major leg injuries in an explosion in Llangennech last year has praised the treatment and support he received from the only specialist orthopaedic and plastic surgery service in Wales.

The Ortho-plastic Research Clinic at Morriston Hospital combines the skills of burns and plastic surgery consultants from the Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery, with trauma and orthopaedic surgeons and physio and occupational therapists.

Victims of traffic collisions, accidents and even explosions receive highly specialist care, which ranges from resetting open fractures and repairing complex wounds, to therapy to help restore their mobility as much as possible after their initial healing.

This multi-disciplinary, staged, care is producing excellent outcomes for patients, including Hugh Williams, who was rushed to Morriston Hospital at the end of November after being badly injured in an explosion in his workplace in Llangennech, Llanelli. Mr Williams underwent complex surgery, with orthopaedic trauma surgeons and plastic surgeons working together.

“I suffered from third degree burns and a very badly fractured leg – when I looked down my foot was turned in completely the wrong direction,” Mr Williams recalled.

“I’ve had to have a pin in my leg and skin grafts for my burns. But I am healing really well now.”

Having recovered from the initial surgeries, Mr Williams is now starting physio with the team, and can already walk with the aid of crutches – less than three months after the explosion.

Consultant Orthopaedic Trauma surgeon, Professor Ian Pallister, said: “At Morriston Hospital we are in a unique position where we can offer an ortho-plastic service for patients who have sustained open fractures. These are complex injuries, usually as a result of traffic collisions, or sometimes in older patients, falls at home.

“These fractures break through the skin, causing a complex wound which is connected to the fracture. From a surgical point of view this requires surgical input to help stabilise the bones after cleaning the wound out, and plastic surgery to reconstruct the soft tissue. This often this requires moving muscle or skin and flesh around within the leg and even transferring it from different parts of the body in more complex injuries.”

He said that Morriston deals with around 50 open tibia fractures a year, as well as a number of open ankle and femur fractures.

“The surgery is only part of the story, and equally important is rehabilitating the patient afterwards, with physiotherapy; along with the input of our specialist nurses and occupational therapists for wound and a scar management, to help reduce swelling which enables the patient to regain their mobility.

“Bearing in mind the complexity of the problems and the fact that we look after patients from the whole of South Wales, patients often have to travel long distances, to come back for review here at Morriston.

“So we’ve set up this Ortho-plastic Research Clinic to cut down on the number of appointments and time patients have to spend travelling to and from us.

“But this also gives us the added benefit of being able to see the patient together – orthopaedic trauma specialists like myself, the plastic surgeons, specialist nurses, the occupational therapists and the physios.

“While we’re seeing the patient they are getting the benefit from the additional clinical input, and we’re also collecting information about their recovery. So as part of our research project so we can help define exactly what the crucial parameters are to help people get better quicker, and how to capitalise on that and develop the services,” he added.

“The support of the Joint Clinical Research Facility at Morriston Hospital with this has been indispensible.”

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Further childcare hub opening in Llanelli

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AN additional childcare hub has opened in Llanelli this week (w/c Monday, May 25) due to increasing demand to provide care for children of critical workers and vulnerable children.

It will be located at Ysgol Ffwrnes in Llanelli and follows the opening of an extra three hubs at Bryn Primary School in Llanelli, Model Primary School in Carmarthen and Ysgol Tycroes.

It is important that numbers are kept low at the hubs to ensure the health and safety of both the children and staff.

Parents are being reminded to keep their children at home where possible to help contain the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19). However, if you are a critical worker, and your child cannot stay at home, then your childcare will be prioritised.

Parents should only apply for childcare to cover their working hours; and are also being reminded to please cancel as soon as possible if they no longer need the provision.

Please note the timetable for applications to the childcare hubs has also changed, and that applications now close at 5pm on the Wednesday of the week before.

Unfortunately, we will no longer be able to consider any applications made after deadline. Due to the significant increase in demand for places at our hubs we must make sure they are staffed sufficiently. The health and safety of both staff and pupils is vital and has to be our main priority.

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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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