News fromCwm Taf University Health Board held its latest Board meeting on Wednesday 6th July

Cwm Taf University Health Board held its latest Board meeting on Wednesday 6th July 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
Welsh Government approves health board three year plan
The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport has approved Cwm Taf’s Integrated Medium Term Plan (IMTP) which outlines the key priorities for 2016 to 2019.
This is the 3rd successive year the health board plan has been approved by Welsh Government putting it on a strong footing for delivering services over the next three years. The health board’s goals in this period are to reduce ill health in our communities by:
  • Developing our Cluster Hubs to provide more services in the community and shift away from reliance on hospitals
  • Enhance GP and primary care services and improve access
  • Continue the re-design of our hospital services within A&E, obstetrics and paediatrics working within a wider Alliance to better meet the needs of our patients
  • Embed ‘prudent healthcare in our service planning and delivery
Cwm Taf clinicians given go ahead to test Danish model of early cancer diagnosis
Following a fact finding visit to Aarhus in Denmark earlier this year, Board members unanimously endorsed a pilot project in Cwm Taf to speed up cancer diagnosis.
One of the key changes introduced in Denmark is a system where patients who do not have clear symptoms of a specific cancer are offered diagnostic tests within a few days, or sometimes hours of a GP making a referral.
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. 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.
Health Board Performance shows signs of improvement after difficult winter
The detailed integrated performance dashboard presents a mixed picture in relation to delivery for the last quarter but has identified improvement actions being progressed across a number of key areas, such as a reduction in the number of people waiting more than eight weeks for diagnostic tests.
Following a very challenging winter period with significant pressures on our services we are continuing to outsource some of our planned work to reduce waiting times for our patients. Good progress is being made in some areas however such as nurse-led Ear Nose and Throat clinics which have reduced waits for routine appointments from eight months to eight weeks.
Nursing and medical staff recruitment
The health board continues to make progress in staff recruitment and a major campaign will be launched this Summer to recruit more nurses from across the UK. 
The NHS right across the UK is facing significant challenges in recruiting staff in certain specialties especially nursing and medical staff in A&E departments; pathology, psychology, radiography and primary care.
The multi media campaign to attract nurses will include social media, video testimonials and advertising in the London underground, and is part of a suite of measures by the health board to boost recruitment and fill vacancies.
GP Out of Hours service Re-Design
The new GP out of hours’ structure in Cwm Taf will run for another 12 months, after an evaluation of the first 6 months revealed success in recruiting more doctors and advanced practitioners, and a more consistent and safe service for patients.
The health board took the decision to consolidate GP out of hours at two centres instead of four due to the severe national shortage of GPs and inability to fill shifts. Centres are now running at Royal Glamorgan and Prince Charles Hospital providing face to face appointments and a wider team of clinicians to support GPs. While the Board acknowledged the concerns of the local communities where services had been transferred, the decision to continue the model was based on safety and provision of a consistent and stable service to all Cwm Taf patients.
Closure of Horeb surgery
Board members expressed regret at the resignation of the GP at Horeb surgery in Rhondda and acknowledged the strength of feeling conveyed by the community. However they agreed that the closure of the practice had been the only option open to the health board in light of ongoing challenges with GP recruitment and the proximity of other surgeries.
After many months of support for the practice, neither the GP contractor nor the health board had been able to recruit another GP to work in the surgery and, with several other practices in the area, all patients are in the process of being transferred to other GPs nearby to maintain their access local primary care services.
Horeb will close on July 31st and engagement with the local community will continue as these changes to healthcare provision are made.
New community resource goes live in Cwm Taf
A new ‘one stop shop’ website containing information about accessing care and support systems will go live on July 12thas part of a national roll out.
DEWIS was developed as one of the legal requirements of the new Social Services and Well Being Act (Wales). The weblink for this service is www.dewis.wales/
‘Giving to Pink’ campaign
Former patient Clare Smart joined the Board meeting to tell members about their ‘Giving to Pink’ campaign which is raising money for a specialised breast care centre in Cwm Taf. Since its launch in 2014 Clare, who benefited from treatment for breast cancer at the Royal Glamorgan Hospitals, and her colleagues, has to date raised an incredible £145,000. On Friday 14th October their aim is to turn Cwm Taf Pink to raise awareness about breast cancer and generate more funds for a new centre.
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Team @ AberdareOnline

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