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Harry Potter actor and local MP join forces to support Marie Curie’s 35th Great Daffodil Appeal

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Gower MP, Tonia Antoniazzi and Harry Potter actor Jason Isaacs, have joined forces to help end of life charity Marie Curie provide care and support to more people living with a terminal illness.

Tonia Antoniazzi MP and Marie Curie Ambassador Jason, are backing the Great Daffodil Appeal, Marie Curie’s biggest annual fundraising campaign held every March. The campaign, which is reaching its 35th anniversary in March, has for the first time, had to cancel all of the public collections, leaving the charity with a potential loss of over £3 million.

The last 12 months have been extremely difficult as key fundraising events have been cancelled and all Marie Curie’s charity shops have had to close. Last year, the charity saw a 16.5% rise in the number of people they cared for at end of life, compared to 2019 and their support line saw a 20% increase in calls too.

Tonia pledged her support to the Great Daffodil Appeal and is encouraging local people to donate and wear one of the charity’s daffodil pins to help fund vital care and support for people living with a terminal illness, and their families, in a year where Marie Curie have been on the frontline providing care to people dying both with and without coronavirus.

Tonia said: “Every five minutes, someone in the UK dies without getting the care and support they need at the end of their life, and that also has an impact on those they leave behind who are grieving. That is why I am supporting the Great Daffodil Appeal this March. Without your help, Marie Curie Nurses can’t give vital care to dying people their families.”

“As chair of the APPG on Cancer, I know that the incredible work Marie Curie does is vital.”

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Launched in 1986, the Great Daffodil Appeal is crucial in raising much-needed funds to enable the charity to continue providing nursing and hospice care, a freephone support line and information for people living with any terminal illness such as terminal cancer, dementia, heart failure, and motor neurone disease.

Harry Potter actor, Jason Isaacs (Image: Wikimedia / Gage Skidmore)

Jason, who became a Marie Curie Ambassador in 2018, said: “Marie Curie does amazing things, and when people don’t have the family members around, they provide love. Towards the end of life, they help the end to be as serene and beautiful and loving as it can be. The work Marie Curie do is needed now more than ever as the Covid-19 pandemic has had a big impact on their ability to fundraise.  

“So, I’m here to support them and the Great Daffodil Appeal and encourage everyone to wear their daffodil or join in fundraising any way they can as every donation means that when the time comes, Marie Curie can be there for people and their loved ones when they need it most.  For anyone who chooses to support them too, you’re supporting a really wonderful charity.”

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Ruth Driscoll, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Marie Curie, said: “Having the support of Tonia and Jason makes a huge difference to our Great Daffodil Appeal, which we need people to support more than ever this year.

“Over the past year, our nurses, doctors and other staff have been on the frontline providing care for people dying both with and without coronavirus. But still too many people miss out on the care and support they need at the end of life. By donating and wearing a daffodil pin in March you are helping us to support more people at the most difficult time of their lives. We want to make sure that everyone affected by terminal illness, wherever they may live, gets the right support, at the right time – whether that is high quality nursing care, emotional and practical support, or fast access to the benefits they need.”

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During the Great Daffodil Appeal the first annual National Day of Reflection will take place. Since the first lockdown began in 2020, millions of people have been bereaved. Join Marie Curie on 23 March, the first anniversary of UK lockdown, for a day to reflect and commemorate this tragic loss of life.

For more information on how to fundraise, donate or set up a virtual collection for Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal visit: www.mariecurie.org.uk/daffodil

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Swansea Bay NHS

Plans for Vascular Hybrid Theatre at Morriston Hospital get a major boost

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Plans for a state-of-the-art new operating theatre at Morriston Hospital which combines a traditional operating room with advanced medical imagery, have taken a huge step forward.

Health and Social Services Minister Eluned Morgan has endorsed the high level multi million pound proposal. This means Swansea Bay University Health Board can now develop the next-stage detailed business case for the Vascular Hybrid Theatre for South West Wales.

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Vascular surgery treats patients with diseased arteries and veins. Blocked arteries can result in limb loss (amputation) and swollen blood vessels (aneurysms) which can burst, resulting in sudden death.

The Vascular Hybrid Theatre, the first in South West Wales, will combine operating theatre functionality and state of the art X-ray imaging equipment. It will treat around 500 patients a year, and some patients who currently need to go to England for treatment will be able to have their care in Swansea instead. The theatre could open early in 2025.

The new theatre will be used by Morrison Hospital’s vascular surgeons and radiologists to carry out minimally invasive techniques, often known as ‘keyhole surgery.

Compared with traditional surgery, hybrid operating theatre surgery is less invasive and less traumatic for patients. The hybrid approach will give patients quicker access to surgery and in some cases could mean the difference between limbs, and lives, being saved.

Currently, a significant number of South West Wales’ patients undergo staged procedures during their care, which can lead to multiple or prolonged stays in hospital.

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Swansea bay University Health Board say that access to these new advanced surgical technologies will allow Morriston’s vascular surgeons to perform both minimally-invasive image guided procedures, as well as traditional open surgery. This will not only improve the overall patient experience, but reduce the risk of amputation, reduce the length of stay in hospital and cut waiting times. 

The hybrid theatre will treat patients from the Swansea Bay, Hywel Dda and Powys health board areas.

Investment in the new theatre will also save a significant amount of money for the health service because the surgical techniques the hybrid model supports not only improve patient outcomes, they are also much more efficient.

The hybrid theatre will also support the clinical staff teaching.

Huma Stone, Swansea Bay UHB’s Associate Service Director, Clinical Support Services for Morriston Hospital, said: “We welcome this long awaited development and are excited that we will be able to treat patients using a combination of traditional surgery and the latest minimally invasive (keyhole) treatments at the same time, saving lives and limbs. This also reduces the number of times a patient is admitted, and shortens the patient stay in hospital.”

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Senior Consultant Vascular Surgeon Louis Fligelstone said: “This brings state of the art facilities to west Wales that will enable optimal treatment of patients with swollen blood vessels (aneurysms) and blocked blood vessels and will save lives and limbs, whilst reducing the time patients spend in hospital.” 

(Lead image: Swansea Bay NHS)

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Charity

Mayor of Llandovery raises over £2k for air ambulance after surviving freak cycling accident

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The Mayor of Llandovery in Carmarthenshire has raised over £2,000 for Wales Air Ambulance after surviving a freak cycling accident that left him unconscious at the side of the road and saw TWO air ambulances sent to his aid.

Mayor Handel Davies and his wife Margaret raised £2,280 during the annual Mayors Charity Ball.

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The successful ball, which included an auction of rugby related paraphernalia and a raffle, also raised funds for Llandovery Hospital League of Friends.

Over 110 guests enjoyed an evening of entertainment, which included ‘an excellent address’ from Wales Air Ambulance chair of trustees David Gilbert. Over £4,500 was raised during the evening for the two good causes.

The Mayor and Mayoress presented the cheque to David Gilbert at a recent base visit at the Wales Air Ambulance’s headquarters in Llanelli.

The mayor has had personal experience of the essential service the Wales Air Ambulance provides after the Charity’s medics were called out to him during the pandemic.

Handel was involved in a freak accident when a dog ran out in front of him whilst out cycling. He was knocked unconscious for 15 minutes and despite two air ambulances being called out to him, luckily for Handel he didn’t need to be airlifted to hospital.

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Mr Davies said: “A sheepdog literally appeared from nowhere at full speed in the blink of an eye hitting the front wheel of my bike at right angles causing me to fall immediately. It happened so quickly I do not remember hitting the road, but the eyewitness commented that had I not been wearing a helmet I would not have survived. The shattered interior of the helmet is evidence of this.

“It took 6-9 months to really recover and get over the impact, which following another serious cycling accident when I was 18, has led me to decide to ‘hang up’ my bicycle and instead attend ‘spin classes’ at the local leisure centre.”

A cheque for £2,280 was presented to Wales Air Ambulance by Mayor of Llandovery, Cllr Handel Davies

The Wales Air Ambulance Charity needs to raise £8 million every year to keep its emergency helicopters in the air and its rapid response vehicles on the road.

The 24/7 emergency service offers advanced critical care and is often described as a ‘Flying ED’. The on-board consultants and critical care practitioners are highly skilled and carry some of the most pioneering medical equipment in the world. They can deliver blood transfusions, administer anaesthesia, and undertake emergency operations at the scene of the incident, before flying the patient directly to specialist care. 

Reflecting on why the 24/7 Charity was chosen to benefit from the Mayor’s charity Ball, he added: “I have the utmost respect for the incredible and invaluable work the Wales Air Ambulance undertake and as we live in a beautiful part of north Carmarthenshire next to road which is very popular with both cyclists and motor bikers, over the last 25 years we have seen many accidents along this stretch of the A4069 particularly at weekends.

“It seems that almost every weekend during the summer months a Wales Air Ambulance flies overhead to attend to an incident.”

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Jane Griffiths Wales Air Ambulance’s Community Fundraising Manager said: “It was lovely to meet the Mayor and Mayoress of Llandovery during their recent base visit. They’ve raised a fantastic amount for two important causes and we’re extremely grateful for them choosing the Wales Air Ambulance as one of the charities to benefit from the Mayors Charity Ball.

“It’s lovely to hear that the mayor has recovered from his freak accident, and we wish him well for the future. Your support of our lifesaving Charity is much appreciated and will help us to continue to be there for the people of Wales when they need us most.”

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Swansea Bay NHS

£2.5m investment aims to help tackle hospital waiting lists in Swansea Bay by expanding care after surgery

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photo of woman lying in hospital bed

Swansea Bay University Health Board say a £2.5million investment in a new service that provides enhanced recovery support for patients following some types of complex surgery, will open the way for Singleton and Neath Port Talbot hospitals to do even more to tackle waiting lists.

In the wake of the two-year+ pandemic, pressure on waiting lists is higher than ever. Changes to how Swansea Bay University Health Board delivers services; and investment in staff and equipment, are aimed at bringing those waits down the health board says.

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One of the key investments is focused on expanding enhanced post-operative care facilities, which offer a step up from general ward care for patients who need extra support immediately after their operation.

This includes offering patients advanced pain relief, blood pressure monitoring and oxygen support in the immediate 24-48 hour post-operative period.

These facilities and services are not as intensive as high dependency or intensive care units. However, this additional layer of care will offer Swansea Bay hospitals greater flexibility over where that surgery can be carried out.

Opening these services in Singleton and Neath Port Talbot hospitals mean they will soon be able to offer a wider range of certain surgeries which are currently only carried out in Morriston Hospital.

Pankaj Kumar, Deputy Group Medical Director, Morriston Hospital and the project lead said: “In providing these enhanced post-operative care facilities, the health board is providing right-sized, fit for purpose, post-operative care that is responsive to every patients’ needs and is efficient in its delivery of care.

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“It will lead to improved patient care and better clinical outcomes for patients, and will also reduce the time they spend in hospital.”

The health board says that expanding these services will also ease the pressure on critical care units located on the Morriston site, and reduce the risk of a scheduled operation being cancelled at the last minute because an emergency patient needed the bed.

Singleton Hospital, which already carries out some complex surgery, will benefit from four enhanced post-operative recovery beds to begin with (eventual plan is for six beds) offering the enhanced post-operative recovery facilities particularly for colorectal and gynaecology patients.

Neath Port Talbot’s plan to become the Orthopaedic Centre of Excellence will be supported by enhanced recovery unit beds being introduced in phase two, with the commissioning of three beds. This development will also help urology surgical patients.

Morriston Hospital already has advanced post-operative care beds as part of post-anaesthetic care unit services to complement its higher level of critical care beds.

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