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‘Bed blocking’ numbers fall again



Vaughan Gething: Thanked health and social services staff

Vaughan Gething: Thanked health
and social services staff

THE NUMBER of patients remaining in hospital when they are well enough to leave is falling, according to statistics released by the Welsh Government. The statistics for October 2015 show the total number of people experiencing a delayed transfer of care was 468. It was a fall of 1.3% compared to the previous month and is the second successive monthly fall. Delayed transfers of care, sometimes referred to as ‘bed blocking’ refer to people in NHS hospitals who are ready to move to the next stage of their care but are delayed for one or more reasons. The number of delayed transfers of care in Wales has been stable over the last four years, although the numbers do fluctuate from month to month. In total, 162 patients were delayed on acute wards, 86 in mental health facilities, and 220 on community, rehabilitation, or other wards.

More than a third (37%) of the delays were caused by health care reasons, while community care reasons accounted for 21%, selection of a care home 10% and waiting for the availability of a care home place 16%. The median length of delay was 26 days. The Welsh Government has adopted a “twin-track” approach towards investing in health and social care, which has helped to ensure people can leave hospital quickly when they are well enough. The latest figures published by the Treasury shows Wales spends £172 more per person on health and social care combined than in England. The Welsh Government believes its Intermediate Care Fund, which will next year be increased from £20m to £50m, has played a key role in supporting older and vulnerable people by helping them to maintain their independence in their own home, preventing hospital admissions and helping people leave hospital early.

Deputy Health Minister Vaughan Gething welcomed the news: “These latest figures show another welcome reduction in the number of delayed transfers of care” he said. “This is the second month in a row where we have seen a fall, in contrast to the trend seen in other parts of the UK. “Here in Wales we have taken a distinct approach of investing in both health and social care because many we know that people rely on both services for their care. “This includes investing millions of pounds in the Intermediate Care Fund, which plays an important role in supporting older people in their own homes; preventing unnecessary hospital admissions and reducing delays in hospital discharges. “I want to thank our health and social services staff for their continued hard work to make sure patients receive world-class healthcare and minimise delays to patient care. We will continue to work closely with health boards and local authorities to make sure people are able to leave hospital or go on to the next stage of their care as soon as they are medically fit to do so.”

However, Liberal Democrat Leader Kirsty Williams criticised the Welsh Government, saying that far too many patients were still being kept waiting: “There are still far too many patients being forced to wait weeks until they are discharged or until they are transferred to another care setting,” Ms Williams said. “Under the Welsh Labour Government, we have seen a huge reduction in the number of hospital beds. This has meant there simply aren’t enough available to meet demand. It also means we need a much greater focus on community care, with greater co-ordination between social services and health services – something the Welsh Liberal Democrats have long campaigned on. “Both patients and NHS staff deserve better than this, but the Labour Welsh Government’s poverty of ambition continues to hold our health service back.”


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Those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster should get jabbed by end of June



ALL those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster are being urged to take up their offer of the vaccine before the end of next month.

A deadline of 30 June has been introduced to ensure all those eligible for the spring booster will have a long-enough interval between this and the autumn 2022 booster, if they are also eligible.

An announcement by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) about which groups will be eligible for the autumn booster is due to be published shortly.

The JCVI has advised that people over-75, older care home residents and all those aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed are eligible for the spring booster.

Those who are 75 on or before 30 June, can get their booster at any point up to the deadline.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “It is important we continue our very high take up levels of the vaccine to help protect us against the risk of serious illness from Covid-19. I would urge everyone who is offered a spring booster vaccination takes up the invitation.”

If someone eligible for a spring booster has had a Covid infection recently, they will need to wait 28 days from the date they tested positive before they can be vaccinated. They will still be able to get vaccinated after 30 June as part of this campaign if they have to postpone their appointment.

All those eligible for spring boosters will be invited by their health board or GP.

It is not too late for anyone who needs a primary dose (first, second or third) to be vaccinated.

Please check for local arrangements.

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Young people in Wales being failed when moving from child to adult mental health services



MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES are failing young people when they move from child to adult services, says a mental health charity.

Mind Cymru is calling for Welsh Government to make urgent changes to improve the system.

Nia Evans, Children and Young People Manager at Mind Cymru, said: “Young people have told us that their needs, thoughts, and feelings about moving to adult services are often unheard, or ignored.

“Welsh Government must support Local Health Boards to make sure this doesn’t happen, change the way services are run and make sure our young people are being heard and properly cared for.”

Mind Cymru has published a report, in ate the result of interviews with young people about their experiences of moving from Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – (SCAMHS) to AMHS.

They highlighted five key areas where services are failing young people:
– Poor information offered to young people, particularly on their rights
– Inconsistent use and follow through of care and treatment plans
– High thresholds for SCAMHS and AMHS referrals to be accepted
– Feeling abandoned / cut off from SCAMHS
– Age still dominates decision making process for moving from SCAMHS to AMHS

Nia Evans said: “Any one of these issues could make the process of moving from children’s services to adult services difficult for our young people. But often, more than one is happening at any one time.”

“Our young people have a right to care and support from a mental health system that has been put in place to help them recover. Action must be taken immediately to make sure support systems are robust and doing the job they were designed to do.”

Mind Cymru is asking people to email their Member of the Senedd (MS) and amplify the voices of these young people whose experiences are often unheard, and use the #SortTheSwitch hashtag on social media.

The full report is available here, including what a good move from SCAMHS to AMHS would look like for young people, and where the current system could improve.

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Average UK price of diesel hits record of more than £1.80 a litre



LESS than two months after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a 5p a litre cut on the average price of fuel – diesel prices have reached a record high price of 180.29p a litre.
The previous high of 179.90p was recorded on March 23rd 2022 – the day of the Spring Statement from Sunak.

In recent weeks, the UK government has tried to move away from its reliance on importing Russian oil, following President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Worryingly for drivers of petrol cars, the price per litre is fast approaching the record levels of 167.3p per litre set on March 22nd.

This latest price rise adds another challenge to UK households, as the cost of living crisis continues to impact families across the country.

RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Sadly, despite the Chancellor’s 5p a litre duty cut the average price of a litre of diesel has hit a new record high at 180.29p.”

“Efforts to move away from importing Russian diesel have led to a tightening of supply and pushed up the price retailers pay for diesel.”

“While the wholesale price has eased in the last few days this is likely to be temporary, especially if the EU agrees to ban imports of Russian oil.”

“Unfortunately, drivers with diesel vehicles need to brace themselves for yet more pain at the pumps. Had Mr Sunak reduced VAT to 15% as we call on him to do instead of cutting duty by 5p, drivers of diesel vehicles would be around 2p a litre better off, or £1 for every full tank.”

“As it is, drivers are still paying 27p VAT on petrol and 29p on diesel, which is just the same as before the Spring Statement.”

“The average price of petrol is also on the rise having gone up nearly 3p a litre since the start of the month to 166.65p which means it’s less than a penny away from the all-time high of 167.30p set on 22 March.”

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