News from the Cwm Taf Health Board

Cwm Taf University Health Board held its latest Board meeting on November 4th at Ynysmeurig House in Abercynon. This bulletin sets out the key messages from the meeting about healthcare provision in Cwm Taf.
The full Board papers can be found here but if you have any queries or questions about the issues discussed please do not hesitate to contact the communications team at cwmtaf.news@wales.nhs.uk
Primary and Community Care Plan approved
Cwm Taf has launched its three-year Primary and Community Care Plan with a recruitment video to attract more GPs and healthcare staff to work in the South Wales Valleys.
The Plan includes the development of four ‘Hubs’ providing enhanced GP and specialist services, to intervene earlier when people are ill and prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital. The plan also provides improved career opportunities and an innovative approach to healthcare which are aimed at recruiting more GPs and health professionals to work in the south Wales Valleys.
‘Cluster Hubs’ are extended GP centres that will provide more services outside of a hospital setting by a wider healthcare team including district nurses, therapists and community pharmacists.
The first one is already well developed at Keir Hardie University Health Park in Merthyr Tydfil – the first one of its kind in Wales providing health and social care under one roof.
Cwm Taf Back to the Frontline initiative broadcast on ITV Wales
Cwm Taf’s top directors have been putting their uniforms back on to find out how they can improve frontline healthcare services through direct engagement with staff and patients.
Earlier this year CEO Allison Williams committed herself and her team of directors to a shift each on the NHS Wales frontline as part of NHS Change Day. All 10 directors are carrying out a full shift with colleagues from a range of departments including portering; catering; children’s nursing and a GP surgery. The initiative was filmed by ITV Wales for a documentary broadcast on ITV Wales on October 26th.
The initiative which is part of Cwm Taf’s ongoing staff and patient engagement work aims to:
  • Help directors learn more about the roles of frontline staff and the pressures they face every day,
  • Enable staff and directors to exchange open and honest feedback to make a positive change for patients
  • Raise the profile of different healthcare roles and their importance in the NHS structure
Cwm Taf’s Annual Quality Summit reaffirms commitment to care for people and not just patients
Cwm Taf’s Annual Quality Summit focussed on work going on across the health board to share good practice, learn from mistakes and improve people’s experience of healthcare services. The Summit, in its second year, was held at Prince Charles Hospital on October 20th and was live-linked to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital. Projects showcased included theDon’t Just Wait…Motivate initiative from the physiotherapy team, which has reduced long waiting lists and created a website to help people manage their own conditions.
The mental health care home support team was highlighted for its work in providing training in dementia care for staff, which has reduced admissions to mental health units and reduced challenging behaviour. The initiative aims to increase care home staff’s understanding of dementia and improve residents’ quality of life by providing sensory stimulation, reminiscence tools and individual playlists of their favourite music.
The success of the Health board’s I-Care initiative was praised as a key tool for engaging staff in the Cwm Taf Caresphilosophy through the corporate induction programme, and is due to be integrated into the nursing strategy. Other initiatives showcased at the Summit included the Cwm Taf Joint Care programme; continence service; speech and language programme; improving access to healthcare services for those with sensory loss; CAMHS e-prescribing; the Theatres Quality and Improvement Programme and the Psychiatric Liaison Service.
Cwm Taf tackles nurse staffing shortages
There has been much in the press recently with regards nursing shortages and along with other health boards Cwm Taf has also experienced nurse staffing shortages. In response the health board has been working hard to reduce the number of vacancies and lessen dependency on expensive agencies through national and international recruitment drives, closer working with University partners to maximise the potential of graduate recruitment and proactive incentives such as return to practice policies.
It has also been necessary to flex inpatient capacity at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital where the number of vacancies is greater, to ensure patient safety is maintained.  
Implementation of the Acute Medicine Model at Royal Glamorgan Hospital
The new model,  which was one of the outcomes of the South Wales Programme was implemented in September as planned.
The SWP concluded that RGH would become a ‘beacon’ site for acute medicine with the aim of strengthening care for those with complex, chronic medical conditions. Board members thanked all staff for their support in implementing the model in particular Dr Ruth Alcolado for her leadership. An official launch of the new model will take place before the end of the year.
Health Board Performance
A detailed update on performance by the health board is provided by the Director of Planning and Performance at each Board meeting and is included in the full Board papers (via link above).
This month’s key findings include:
  • Slight deterioration in A&E 4-hour waiting times and a significant deterioration in those waiting over 12 hours which are being addressed
  • In RTT (Referral to Treatment) a slight reduction in the number of patients waiting in excess of 36 weeks. A plan is in place to improve this further over the next 6 months including sourcing additional external support to address the number of patients waiting for ophthalmology treatment
  • The Jayex self-service check in system which has been implemented in the last two months is showing that 29,000 patients have used the service to date, far exceeding initial expectations.
Mortality Review Process
The Board was provided with an update from Cwm Taf’s medical director Dr Kamal Asaad on progress on the implementation of recommendations from the Stephen Palmer Review, commissioned by the Health Minister.
His report concluded that the vast majority of deaths occurring in our acute hospital sites are either expected or considered likely and our comprehensive Mortality Review Process which is now being rolled out across the Welsh NHS, continues to offer reassurance.
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