Cwm Taf University Health Board News

Cwm Taf University Health Board held its latest Board meeting on March 2nd 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
Cwm Taf deals with unprecedented demand
The unscheduled care system across NHS Wales continues to deal with significant pressures which are also affecting hospitals and clinical settings across Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf.
Regrettably this increased demand has impacted on the health board’s planned activity, which has resulted in a number of patients having their procedures cancelled. The health board extends its apologies to patients waiting for planned surgery and staff are working hard to rebalance the pressures in the system.
Over the last month, the UHB has worked very closely in partnership with Rhondda Cynon Taf Local Authority to manage the demand which was exacerbated by the recent closure of the Rhondda Care Home. Good collaboration and the efforts of staff however resulted in the vast majority of the elderly residents being relocated swiftly and safely to other care homes.
Cwm Taf is using all its communications channels to inform the public of the demand and encourage use of alternatives to A&E. As always staff have been supportive and flexible in responding to the increased pressures across the healthcare system and the Board recognised and thanked staff for their ongoing efforts and commitment.
New nurses recruited to Cwm Taf
There remains a concerted effort to recruit nursing staff to Cwm Taf with 43 graduate nurses joining the health board in the next few weeks followed by 58 new recruits from the Philippines in July.
The new appointments follow a recruitment drive by the health board to address significant shortages of nursing staff which is an issue across the Welsh NHS.
Cwm Taf ‘grows its own talent’ with new graduate management programme
Graduate Growth is a two year in-house Graduate Leadership and Management Development Programme designed to grow the next generation of management leaders within Cwm Taf University Health Board. It is the first time Cwm Taf has introduced such a scheme and aims to embed trainees in all aspects of the organisation, working alongside clinicians and other professional staff to improve patient care and services.
Six trainees started work in locations across the health board on February 1st and attended their first Board meeting on March 2nd where they were welcomed to NHS Wales by the chairman, chief executive and board members.
Wales Audit Office Annual Audit report
The Board received the Annual Audit report for 2015 outlining the work undertaken last year by Cwm Taf’s external auditors.
The report said that the health board achieved financial balance at the end of 2014-15, as in previous years. The health board is also forecasting that it will break even in 2015-16 assuming the additional funding contained within its three-year Integrated Medium Term Plan (IMTP) is received. However it is unlikely to deliver all of its £1.6m savings targets.
Auditors identified opportunities to secure better use of resources in some areas and said that levels of investment in ICT needed to be increased to support the delivery of healthcare which the Board acknowledged and committed to address. While there were areas for improvement the auditors also commented that the Board demonstrates “good strategic leadership, good conduct, effective administration and a commitment to openness and quality improvement”.
Board thanks three committed supporters of Cwm Taf for their dedication to the health board
The March Board was the final meeting for Independent Member Mr Geoff Bell who was given a warm send-off from members after serving the health board for more than 10 years. He will continue in his valued role as chair of the Organ Donation Committee. Board members also highlighted the significant contributions of consultant physician Dr Mike Page and head of medicines management Howard Rowe who are also both due to retire.
Health Board performance
A&E waits
Performance against the 4 hour wait in A&E for January showed a drop in comparison with December’s figures of 83.3% to 82.05%. The number of patients waiting longer than 12 hours increased significantly from 170 to 313, the highest number reported during the period April 2014 to January 2016, giving a performance of 97%. This performance is reflective of the severe pressures experienced within the Emergency Departments and on the hospital wards during this month.
Despite the recent increase in the number of patients waiting over 12 hours, the Health Board maintains its strict and robust approach to waits in excess of 12 hours. Analysis of all patients waiting for over 12 hours to be seen, treated and admitted or discharged will continue, with each patient reported as a clinical incident, reviewed by senior clinicians and remedial actions implemented with immediate effect.
Ambulance handovers at hospital
In terms of emergency ambulance services, despite the internal hospital pressures, January data shows performance against the 15 minute handover target dropped only slightly from 86.6% to 84.9% (80.6% at PCH and 88.8% at RGH). The number of ambulances delayed over one hour in remained low at just two.
Referral to Treatment times
Performance against the 36 week RTT target for January shows an overall reduction in the number of patients waiting over 36 weeks from 3091 patients waiting to 2944 patients. Due to the delay in the notification of patients being treated at other healthcare providers, this number will remain fluid and will change even once being reported.
This figure remains below the submitted trajectory, which estimated the January figure to be 3100. Ophthalmology is now also below the predicted level and this figure includes the patients outsourced to other providers for treatment.
Cwm Taf publishes four-year Equality Plan
Ensuring the Board has a Strategic Equality Plan (SEP) is a statutory requirement and is fundamental to progressing the Equality agenda which in turn supports and implements the Equality Act 2010. Cwm Taf’s Equality Plan is based on 5 main objectives which includes
  • ensuring the needs of protected groups under the Equality Act 2010 are included in all service developments and improvements.
  • improved patient access and experience to meet the cultural, language and communication needs of service users who belong to protected groups.
  • To ensure that staff who belong to protected groups are treated equally and fairly and that they are able to influence the development and delivery of services
  • inclusive leadership at all levels
  • gender pay equality


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