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Health Board urges patients ‘help us, help you’

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People looking to enjoy Christmas and New Year are being encouraged to use the correct NHS service should they become injured or unwell.

Swansea Bay University Health Board is urging patients to ‘help us, help you’ by remembering that the Emergency Department is for life threatening accidents and emergencies only and there are a number of other health services available to help people over the festive period.


What service should I use?

Pharmacies/chemists

(Image: Pixabay / Pexels.com)

If you want some expert advice quickly, try a pharmacist as your first port of call. Visiting your local pharmacy is a great way to access prompt advice and treatments for common conditions, especially after GP surgeries have closed for the day and on the weekends.

Some of the work traditionally done by GPs is now done by pharmacists instead. This includes giving prescription-only medications for a number of common ailments when necessary without the need to see a doctor. And, like other medications in Wales, these are also free.

You have to register with the pharmacy to use the scheme, which is called the Common Ailments scheme, but the process only takes a few minutes. 

Consultations are carried out in a private room and if the pharmacist decides you still need to see a doctor, they will refer you.

111 Telephone Service

(Image: Alex Andrews / Pexels.com)

If you’re really not sure what to do, NHS 111 is available for advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

So if you think you might need to go to the Emergency Department or need another NHS urgent care service, don’t know who to call for medical help or need information about a health issues, give them a call.

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You can also go online at: 111.wales.nhs.uk

Dentists

(Image: Pixabay / Pexels.com)

If tooth or gum pain develops contact your own dentist as they can provide emergency treatment. If you are not registered with a practice or develop a problem outside of normal working hours ring 111 and they will help you find your nearest emergency dentist.

Opticians

(Image: Pavel Danilyuk / Pexels.com)

Your local opticians can provide emergency appointments and can refer to the eye department at the hospital if required, with no need to see a GP.

Minor Injuries Unit

Neath Port Talbot Hospital (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

Anyone over the age of one who have had an accident within the last couple of weeks can be seen at the Minor Injury Unit at Neath Port Talbot Hospital,

It is open between 7.30am and 11.00pm, seven days a week, at Neath Port Talbot Hospital, Baglan Way, Port Talbot, SA12 7BX. Contact number: 01639 862160

An experienced team of specially-trained emergency nurse practitioners, triage nurses and health care support workers treat patients for minor conditions including sprains and strains and broken bones.

If you have a serious or life-threatening illness or injury ring 999 or go to the Emergency Department at Morriston Hospital. This includes chest pains, severe breathing difficulties, a head injury, loss of consciousness or collapse, stroke symptoms, poisoning or choking.


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Coronavirus

Health chief urges people to follow Welsh Gov COVID guidance – and supports action against businesses that don’t

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woman wearing face mask

Director of Public Health for Swansea Bay University Health Board, Dr Keith Reid has issued a statement urging people to follow the Welsh Government’s guidance on staying safe through the pandemic – and supports action against businesses that refuse to do so.

The warning comes as news of the new Omicron COVID variant starting to spread in the UK, coronavirus infection rates continuing to be high in Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot, and enforcement action taken by Swansea Council and the Welsh Government against independent cinema Cinema& Co who have refused to follow COVID safety measures.

Dr Keith Reid

Dr Reid said: “We are now seeing the emergence of the new Omicron variant with the accompanying uncertainty.  This makes it more important than ever for us all to act in a responsible way that protects our local communities and the vulnerable people within them, and the NHS.

“Although we all want the pandemic to end, Covid is undeniably still with us. Many families across Swansea and Neath Port Talbot have already experienced – or are currently living through – the anguish of loved ones being seriously ill or having died with this virus.  Others, of all ages, are suffering long-lasting impact on their own health following Covid infection.

“In the last two weeks alone in Swansea Bay 10 people have died in our hospitals with Covid. Today, we have 35 Covid-positive patients in our hospital beds and five are seriously ill in intensive care.

“Since the pandemic began, our staff have witnessed almost 1,000 patient deaths with Covid, and that figure does not include people who died outside of our hospitals. That is not only a tragedy for the families involved, but it has exacted a heavy physical and mental toll on our NHS staff, who are exhausted and yet still carrying on as best they can.”

Dr Reid added: “For businesses the rules are quite clear and there is a statutory duty of care towards customers and clients who might use business premises and also for staff.

“I support enforcement action taken against any business that deliberately flouts the current regulations.

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“These regulations are not made lightly. They are put in place to protect the public and workers. They also allow business to continue to operate, but as safely as possible.

“The regulations are based on Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) advice that a number of different ‘low cost’ interventions all have a part to play in reducing risk, and that together these actions mitigate against the risk of tougher measures needing to be reintroduced later.

“Included in the regulations is the need, for example, for premises to be properly risk-assessed so important safety issues like ventilation, social distancing, etc, can be considered and managed. Covid passes or negative lateral flow tests have another part to play in reducing the risk of further infections, particularly in premises regarded as higher risk. The passes are not the full answer, but they have a part to play.

Support and guidance on how businesses can implement reasonable control measures is available from the local authority, and is outlined in detail by the Welsh Government.

Meanwhile, I continue to urge everyone to carry on taking sensible everyday actions to protect their own health, and those of others:

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  • Make sure you have had your Covid vaccinations.
  • Self-isolate and get tested if you have any Covid symptoms, or symptoms which are unusual for you.
  • Wear a face-covering where you need to.
  • Open windows and doors to let the fresh air in when you meet up with others.
  • Avoid stuffy, crowded places – get together outdoors if you can.
  • Wash your hands frequently.”
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Coronavirus

Council urges city cinema to address COVID safety concerns

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Swansea Council has condemned the actions of the owners of a city cinema which has refused to remain shut to address serious covid health concerns.

Cinema & Co was recently issued with a closure notice after enforcement officers in the Council, during a visit, noted that no measures had been put in place by the owners to reduce the risks of spreading coronavirus to either staff or customers.

The Welsh Government has since issued a direction to the owners, ordering them to close and action was taken by council officers, supported by local police, to close the premises on Friday evening (26 November).

A council spokesperson said: “It’s disappointing to see the owners still acting in an irresponsible way and continue to trade, against the direction issued by the Welsh Government.

“Our recent visits determined there were no measures in place to protect the public and staff against coronavirus. We understand events are still planned at the venue and we would urge those who intend going along to act wisely and consider the risks they present in potentially spreading the virus to friends and family.

“We have supported businesses throughout the pandemic to ensure they are doing all they can to lower the risk of spreading the virus and adhere to current welsh government regulations. The majority have been very supportive and are doing their bit to trade safely and not risk putting additional pressures on our NHS.

“Given we have seen the emergence of the worrying omicron variant, we all need to continue to act with caution and follow the rules and regulations.  The measures are in place to keep us all safe, and help us avoid a return to a lockdown.”

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Cinema & Co remains open, with a sold-out showing of “The Grinch who Stole Christmas” taking place on Sunday (28 November). Further film showings are due to take place on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday this week.

A rescheduled court date is due to take place at Swansea Magistrates tomorrow (30 November), after the district judge hearing the case asked for more information about the legislation being used by the council to bring forward their closure order.

(Lead image: Cinema & Co)

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Welsh Ambulance Trust

Ambulance service introduces new technology to better support victims of domestic violence

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The Welsh Ambulance Service has introduced new technology to better support victims of domestic violence.

Ambulance crews have been supporting patients to access Live Fear Free for help and advice on domestic violence since its creation using a bespoke telephone number.

Now crews now have the ability to assist patients via an app on their Trust-issue iPad to speed up and streamline the process.

Live Fear Free is a 24/7 helpline for women, children and men experiencing domestic abuse, sexual violence or other forms of violence against women.

It is a main point of contact in Wales to access support, information, safety-planning, advocacy, refuge and counselling services. 

Nikki Harvey, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Head of Safeguarding, said: “The Live Fear Free helpline is a free, confidential 24/7 specialist resource that anyone can access, at any time.

“Welsh Ambulance Service crews have been using it for some years to signpost patients to help and support, using the good old fashioned telephone – until now.

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“Having the technology to refer patients digitally using iPads is not only more efficient for crews, but it means that vulnerable patients get the support they need more quickly.

“We all deserve to live without fear and in an environment which is safe, and modernising this referral pathway brings us a step closer to that.”

Live Fear Free helpline manager, Ann Williams, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside the Welsh Ambulance Service, making our joint support of those most in need across Wales even more efficient.

“For staff at the helpline and the ambulance service alike, time is critical.

“Using updated technology means that we can strengthen vital, time-saving communication methods, which will directly benefit the women, men and children getting in touch, for whom support can often be life changing or even life-saving.”

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You can contact Live Fear Free by calling 0808 80 10 800, texting 07860 077333, emailing info@livefearfreehelpline.wales or by using its 24/7 live chat service.

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