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Neath Port Talbot

Frontline health care staff receive New Year Honours

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Wales’ first woman consultant cardiac surgeon and two senior nurses who are all leaders in their fields have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours.

Professor Farah Bhatti of Morriston Hospital in Swansea, who was also the first British woman of Pakistani heritage appointed as a consultant cardiac surgeon in the UK, has been awarded an OBE for services to diversity in the NHS in Wales.

Senior matron Carol Doggett, head of nursing – medicine and ECHO (emergency care and hospital operations) at Morriston Hospital, has been made an MBE for services to leadership and nursing care for intensive care patients and staff, particularly during Covid-19.

And Neath Port Talbot Hospital’s clinical nurse specialist Karen Kembery has been awarded a BEM for services to nursing for her work to transform the approach to wound care and the prevention of pressure ulcers.

Professor Bhatti, who also teaches medical students and has a number of roles within the NHS, General Medical Council, Swansea University and Medical Women’s Federation promoting equality and diversity, dedicated her OBE to her parents.

“It is absolutely wonderful to be recognised for the work I do in promoting equality, diversity and inclusion,” she said.

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“It’s a privilege to be a cardiac surgeon and to also work towards creating a fairer environment where everyone can thrive.”

Prof Bhatti, who has worked at Morriston for 13 years, added: “I feel overwhelmed at receiving this honour and would like to dedicate my OBE to my parents, who are the real heroes of my story.”

Carol Doggett, who has been nursing since 1987 having trained at the old Llanelli General Hospital, said she was “overwhelmed” by the award and recognition.

“I accept it on behalf of all the staff from critical care and other departments who stepped up and supported the enormity of the first wave and on behalf of all the patients we nursed with Covid in ITU.”

Carol spent 28 years of her career in a variety of acute nursing roles in London and Essex.

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She said: “I returned to my home town of Ystradgynlais with my husband and two of my three children in June 2019 and began work in Morriston Hospital as the senior matron in critical care.

“Over the following 18 months I supported and led the nursing teams in critical care through the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, alongside clinical director Dr John Gorst.”

Karen Kembery, who said she is lucky to have the support of her husband Gareth and daughter Rebecca, could not believe her eyes when she received the email telling her she would receive the BEM.

“I had to read it three times and I get quite tearful just thinking about it. It is wonderful to have been honoured in this way,” she said.

“I started my nursing career in 1986 and for the last 20 plus years as a tissue viability nurse I have dedicated my career to transforming approaches to wound care and pressure ulcer prevention.

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“However, none of my achievements would have been possible without the support of the tissue viability team, our incredible staff and patients and the trust they placed in me.”

Karen added: “I am proud of the tissue viability care we provide our patients, even more so this year during the pandemic.”

Dr Richard Evans, Executive Medical Director for Swansea Bay University Health Board, said he was “absolutely thrilled that Prof Bhatti has been honoured”.

He continued: “Not only is she a fantastic surgeon and teacher, she is also a champion for diversity in this challenging field of medicine, always working towards her stated goal of breaking down barriers for those who want to follow in her footsteps.

“Her dedication to her role makes such a difference to patients, colleagues and undergraduates alike and I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this honour.”

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Responding to the awards for Carol and Karen, Christine Williams, Interim Director of Nursing and Patient Experience, said: “It is wonderful that these honours shine a spotlight on two senior nurses whose work and leadership provides hope and comfort to so many of our patients and their families during these dark times.

“Like their nursing colleagues, Carol and Karen would never seek praise for what they do, but it is only right that their achievements are marked at the end of what has been the most challenging year in NHS history.

“I’m sure I speak for many when I say we are so proud of them and look forward to continuing our journey to improve the services for our patients together.”

Lead image: Left to right: Professor Farah Bhatti, senior matron Carol Doggett and clinical nurse specialist Karen Kembery. (Swansea Bay NHS)


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Coronavirus

Health board using converted shipping containers as ‘local vaccination centres’

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Swansea Bay University Health Board say they are making it easier for older people to get their Covid-19 booster vaccinations with the use of converted shipping containers.

Three containers, known as Local Vaccination Centres (LVCs), have been located in communities across the Swansea Bay area for those who may find it difficult to get to a mass vaccination centre.

The containers build on the success and experience of the Immbulance, the health board’s mobile vaccination unit.

And they are able to free up the Immbulance to be deployed to cover new areas.

The units can be located in one place for several days and include staff facilities, which means they can stay there longer and don’t have to be driven away each night and be brought back the following morning.

Staff are providing Covid booster vaccinations for those with an appointment only and aim to deliver 60 jabs every day.

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People can then wait the usual 15-minutes after a vaccination either in their cars or in the container itself.

One of the units has been placed in Seven Sisters Rugby Club car park to serve those in the Dulais Valley and neighbouring communities.

Another of the LVCs has been placed near the Guildhall in Swansea, which has proven to be a popular location for the Immbulance.

James Ruggiero, Swansea Bay University Health Board’s Assistant Head of Operational Planning for the vaccination programme, said: “This project is part of our ongoing effort to increase access to vaccinations across the Swansea Bay area. 

“These units are helping us in our aim to get as many people vaccinated as possible, particularly those who may have difficulty in travelling to our mass vaccination centres.”

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Lead image: Matthew Armstrong, immuniser; Andrea Howells, clinical supervisor; Ian Worthing, immuniser (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

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Health

Two new free bus routes between Bay Field Hospital, Neath and Port Talbot

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Swansea Bay health board have announced two new free bus routes to help people get to the mass vaccination centre at the Bay Field Hospital from Neath and Port Talbot town centres.

The new routes will be in addition to the existing free bus between Swansea city centre and the field hospital.

Starting from Saturday 23 October, a new service BFH1 will run on the hour from Bay 4 at Neath Bus Station next to Victoria Gardens. Return services will leave the Bay Field Hospital on the half hour. It will run between 7am and 7.30pm.

Also starting from Saturday 23 October, service BFH2 will run from Bay 7 at Port Talbot Bus Station, stopping at Bay 5 of the interchange at Port Talbot Parkway railway station. Services will run on the hour towards Bay Field Hospital, with return journeys running on the half hour between 7am and 7.30pm.

The two new services, funded by Neath Port Talbot Council, will be operated by Briggs Coaches.

A free bus already operated from Swansea City Centre to the Bay Field Hospital funded by Swansea Council. First Cymru service 9A operates every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday from Bay D at Swansea Bus Station. The service also stops at Sainsbury’s and the Fabian Way Park and Ride. Service 51 runs as required when the Field Hospital is open on Sunday’s and Bank Holidays.

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Carmarthenshire

New maps show Welsh Government plans for rail and bus improvements

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Electrification of the railway to Swansea and beyond, new rail stations and improvements to bus services are all part of the plans.

“Delivering the £1bn Welsh Metro project will be one of the most ambitious and complex programmes we’ve ever undertaken.”

Those were the words of Deputy Minister for Climate Change, with a responsibility for transport, Lee Waters as he unveiled new maps showing the enormous scale of the project.

The new maps included proposals for the Swansea Bay area in addition to the South Wales Metro already under construction in Cardiff and the valleys, and a North Wales Metro to better link border communities.

The Welsh Government say that the Metro proposals will make it the easier choice for people to use their cars less and public transport and active travel more, to significantly reduce our environmental impact and help Wales reach its Net Zero carbon target by 2050.

The new maps, made available for the first time today, illustrate the short and longer term plans that the programme will deliver.

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In Swansea Bay this includes new train stations at Cockett and Landore in Swansea as well as St Clears in Carmarthenshire which has already received backing from the UK Government.

New stations are also proposed for Winch Wen, Llandarcy, Morriston, Felindre and Penllergaer along with rail frequency enhancements.

Improvements to the South Wales mainline include extending electrification as far as Swansea and improving the line speed west of Llanelli and west of Carmarthen.

Bus corridor improvements and integration projects are also proposed.

Longer term aspirations include reopening the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth rail line, and new rail links between Swansea, Neath and Onllwyn and Cwmgrach. Links are also planned between Ammanford and Gwaun Cae Gurwen.

Plans for further electrifying the rail network as far as Milford Haven are also proposed for the longer term.

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Deputy Minister Lee Waters said: “The Metro is not simply a transport project, it’s about changing the lives of people across Wales and is an excellent example of how investment in tackling climate change has far broader community benefits.

“Improving our public transport and active travel network routes is the right and responsible thing to do for the environment – making low carbon transport options more attractive, affordable, and easier to use – enabling people to leave their car at home particularly in the more densely populated parts of Wales linking up with active travel routes to provide door-to-door journeys in an integrated, sustainable transport network.

“Next month we will be attending COP26 – the most important COP since Paris in 2015 – and we will take a clear message to Glasgow that Wales is a globally responsible nation – ambitious projects like this prove that and show how everyone here is willing to play a part to combat global warming.”

Funding for the schemes are not yet agreed however, with agreement needed by the UK Government to the Welsh Government’s proposals.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: “It is critical that the Welsh Government is urgently offered a positive outcome to the two Union Connectivity Fund bids by Transport for Wales in order to progress and complete this important work this financial year. Transport for Wales and Network Rail have developed a positive delivery partnership and this will be further strengthened through this funding to deliver on the priorities for improving rail infrastructure across Wales.

“If the UK Government wishes to state a positive case for the Union it is important that the cross border transport priorities of Wales are recognised, respected and delivered, particularly with the recent changes to the proposed allocation of the levelling up fund for the Devolved Administrations straying into areas of devolved competency.”

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The Welsh Government has announced an additional £2m cash injection to expand existing plans for South East and South West Wales metros, to include new bus and rail stations and services as well more active travel routes making public transport more attractive and accessible and connecting communities.

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