Cwm Taf University Health Board held its latest Board meeting on Wednesday May 4th at Ynysmeurig House in Abercynon. This bulletin sets out the key messages from the meeting about healthcare provision in Cwm Taf.
‘Valleys Steps’ officially launched to promote better mental health
This month a community based mental health support project that has been running in Cwm Taf since October, was officially launched by chairman Dr Chris Jones. This exciting community-based project aims to help people to manage stress and learn mindfulness, by providing courses that can help people better understand and manage our own feelings and well being. The self referral/walk-in courses are held at different times of the day at various locations within Cwm Taf and last for one session a week for six weeks. You can get more information here www.valleyssteps.org
Valleys Steps is being funded by a ‘Wales Well Being Bond’ provided by the Welsh Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) and if it proves to be a success in the Cwm Taf area it is hoped that it will be extended to other parts of Wales.
Chief Executive thanks staff for their efforts in ‘unprecedented’ period of demand
The past eight weeks have been challenging for all in NHS Wales including Cwm Taf due to the unprecedented demand for unplanned care over the winter months. Chief Executive Allison Williams thanked staff in Cwm Taf and apologised to patients for operations and procedures that have had to be cancelled to make way for emergency admissions.
Pressures are now easing, with planned surgery rescheduled at both Prince Charles and Royal Glamorgan Hospitals. Increased pressures have had a knock-on impact on waiting time targets in particular for orthopaedic and ophthalmology patients which the health board will now address as a matter of urgency.
Three Year Plan endorsed by Board
A new three year plan which builds on the achievements of the last Integrated Medium Term Plan has been endorsed by Board members and is now available on our website.
The refreshed plan, which is based on tackling health inequalities; improving the quality of care and ensuring best value from resources, was submitted to Welsh Government for approval on March 31st.
In developing the 2016-2019 Plan, the health board’s approach has been to develop a package of change and investments aimed at re-focusing care towards community settings; driving forward integration between health and social care, and re-designing our services in line with population need and workforce challenges.
The Board was informed that it had (subject to audit) broken even for 2015/16, which was a significant achievement. The Chief Executive thanked all staff for delivering this outcome although the recurring financial savings required in the three year plan remain challenging.
Final phase of cath lab replacement programme to begin
The Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory Replacement Programme at Royal Glamorgan Hospital will enter its final phase of development when work gets underway in June.
Cardiac catheterisation (cardiac cath or heart cath) is a procedure to examine how well your heart is working. A thin, hollow tube called a catheter is inserted into a large blood vessel that leads to your heart.
The replacement laboratory programme, which is part of an all-Wales scheme, has involved several complex phases, with imaging being the final phase for completion.
A project team has now been set up within the health board to manage the operational arrangements for the £800,000 final development.
Cwm Taf clinicians hope to replicate Danish model of early cancer diagnosis
Clinicians from NHS Wales including Cwm Taf University Health Board have taken part in a fact finding visit to Aarhus to find out how the Danish health service is speeding up cancer diagnosis.
Special "one stop shop" diagnostic centres have been set up for those with more vague symptoms, while other open access centres are able to provide quick ‘yes/no’ tests and to report back quickly to GPs. Clinicians in Denmark say the tests do not cost more money as they would need to be done anyway, but that early diagnosis for those with unclear symptoms means better outcomes for patients.
Clinicians in Cwm Taf have already adopted many of the principles of the Danish model including a ‘one stop’ neck lump diagnostic process and direct access to radiology investigation for breast lesions. Cwm Taf is also piloting a single cancer pathway that combines the current urgent and non urgent suspected cancer pathways which aims to ensure that all patients presenting with possible symptoms of cancer are treated equally and promptly.
Following the visit to Denmark Cwm Taf clinicians now hope to build on its existing work and further test the other elements of the Danish model.
You can read more about the Danish model and the visit to Aarhus by the Wales Cancer Network and NHS Wales delegation here:
New electronic letters improve medicines information
The Electronic Discharge Advice Letters (eDAL) has now been rolled out across all medical wards in Cwm Taf and will be implemented soon into rehabilitation wards and community hospitals.
A formal evaluation of the system, which has digitised, patients’ medicines information leaving hospital, has demonstrated significant improvements in the quality and understanding of discharge letters.
Childhood ‘flu immunisation uptake the best in Wales
The Flu immunisation programme for school-age children has been a success with the highest uptake in Wales in Cwm Taf this year (69.6% compared to 63.4% Welsh average).
New wound clinics in the community
Following work with the Welsh Wound Innovation Centre and GP practices a new wound management service was launched in Cwm Taf last month. The service aims to provide a treatment and assessment facility for a range of patients with complex wounds at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon and Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda. Following evaluation it is hoped this service will be further extended to Keir Hardie University Health Park and to Dewi Sant Hospital. The service aims to free up valuable nursing time within GP practices and also enable a more seamless transfer into the tissue viability service if needed by the patient.