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Neath Port Talbot Hospital takes delivery of new MRI scanner

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Neath Port Talbot Hospital has taken delivery of a new state-of-the-art scanner that will enhance the diagnostic facilities there.

The MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to examine almost any part of the body, including the brain, heart and internal organs.

This impressive piece of kit is housed in a patient-friendly, bright and airy room with a sky-effect ceiling.

Susan Jones, Divisional Manager Hospital Operations, said: “We are delighted to have been able to improve our services for patients in Neath Port Talbot Hospital.

“It’s brand new, state-of–the-art technology, the first of its kind within the health board, requiring less helium to supercool the magnet used to produce diagnostic images.

“It’s the most up to date piece of kit you can get.

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“It will be used for all standard diagnostic MRI scans that were done previously on site, but there will also be a specialist focus on cardiac MRI.

“The new MRI scanner will form part of the health board’s plans to scale up diagnostic imaging capacity.”

Mrs Jones said there had been collaborative working with the hospital’s Private Finance Initiative partners to progress this scheme.

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Janine Sparkes, Site Lead Radiographer, said: “It’s a wider bore scanner than we had previously so is much more patient-friendly and hopefully patients will feel less claustrophobic.”

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Janine said extra staff were needed to maximise the scanners potential.

She said: “We are currently recruiting for additional trained MRI staff to allow us to run extended days on the scanner to increase capacity for our patients.”

Lead image: Janine Sparkes, Site Lead Radiographer, and Rachel Morgan, MRI Superintendent Radiographer at Neath Port Talbot Hospital (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)


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Swansea Bay NHS

Health board unveil plans for three more operating theatres at Singleton Hospital

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Plans to expand the number of operating theatres at Singleton Hospital by 50% to help tackle surgical waiting lists are going before Swansea Bay University Health Board.

The hospital currently has six theatres, but the new plans will add another three.

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The planned new theatres are modular in design so they can be erected quickly and less expensively than traditional builds. The Board is being asked to approve the plans at its next meeting later today (Thursday 26 May).

The theatres will be the latest in a number of additional modular theatres being introduced to Swansea Bay hospitals.

Neath Port Talbot Hospital is having three new theatres to enable it to become the £25m Centre of Excellence for Orthopaedics.

The Day Surgery Unit (on a site opposite the main Singleton Hospital building) is also having an additional theatre.

The exiting six theatres at Singleton undertake procedures for gynaecology; ophthalmology; colorectal; general surgery; planned obstetric cases; breast surgery, orthopaedics and some plastic surgery.

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The three planned new theatres will provide additional activity for plastic surgery; general surgery, Ear, Nose and Throat, and oral maxillofacial surgery.

Singleton Hospital (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

These three additional theatres at Singleton are expected to undertake an extra 2,190 operations a year.

The health board say that key to this work will be the introduction of a new four-bedded Post Anaesthesia Care Unit (PACU) at Singleton which will allow surgery to go ahead that could only have taken place in Morriston previously.

If the plans for the additional theatres are approved by the Board, the work is likely to be commissioned in 2023/2024.

Swansea Bay UHB Chief Executive, Mark Hackett, said: “We are only too aware of the pain and discomfort being endured by people on our lists who are waiting too long for the treatments they need.

“We are doing all we can to increase capacity to tackle these long lists.

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“Expanding our operating theatres at Singleton and Neath Port Talbot will be important steps forward.

“This is in line with our strategic Changing for the Future plans to improve both unscheduled and planned care, and develop each of our three main hospitals as centres of excellence.”

The future plans mean that Morriston Hospital will become a centre of excellence for urgent and emergency care, specialist care and regional surgical services for Swansea Bay, including complex medical interventions.

Singleton Hospital will become a centre of excellence for planned care, cancer care and diagnostics.

Neath Port Talbot Hospital will become a centre of excellence for orthopaedic and spinal care, diagnostics, rehabilitation and rheumatology.

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The health board say that by concentrating different skills, resources and specialisms on each site, each hospital will become a ‘powerhouse’ for these services, providing specialist treatments to a higher standard.

(Lead image: Swansea Bay NHS)

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Coronavirus

New COVID vaccination centre opens at Aberavon Shopping Centre

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A new COVID vaccination centre for Port Talbot is opening at Aberavon Shopping Centre.

Situated next door to B&M, near the river bridge entrance, Swansea Bay Health Board say it will provide vaccinations to adults and children alike.

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The first clinic will be held at the Local Vaccination Centre (LVC) on Thursday, May 26th. Slots will be available by appointment only for the time being.

The health board are asking people not to telephone the shopping centre if they want to make an appointment or if they have a general query. The health board’s booking centre can be contacted on 01792 200492 or 01639 862323.

The opening comes as the health board winds down its vaccination operation at the Bay Field Hospital near Amazon, off Fabian Way, which has been open since the first Covid vaccine was rolled out to health and social care staff in December 2020.

The final Covid vaccination clinic will be held at the Bay Mass Vaccination Centre on Wednesday, June 1st.

Blood tests will continue on that site for the time being.

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Covid vaccination clinics will also continue to be scheduled at Canolfan Gorseinon Centre, in the health board’s container in the car park of Morrisons supermarket on Baglan Industrial Park and on the Immbulance mobile vaccination clinic, which stops at various venues across the Swansea Bay area.

Interim Head of Transformation, James Ruggiero, said the move to the shopping centre signals a wider change in the Covid vaccination programme.

“The Bay has been absolutely brilliant for us but thankfully, we no longer need a permanent venue of that size.

“While no one can predict exactly what will happen in the future, we do know that some people, particularly those who are vulnerable, will need Covid boosters to help maintain a level of protection against the coronavirus, which is still out there.

“This new venue is perfect for that and a bonus is that being smaller and less intimidating, it can also be used to host clinics for children aged five to 11.”

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Vaccination staff Owain Williams, Samantha Minards, Rebecca Maus, Mathew Davies and Geraint Hammond, inside the new vaccination centre at Aberafan Shopping Centre (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

Mr Ruggiero added: “Our teams have worked hard to set up this new convenient unit and to make it as comfortable and efficient as possible.

“We hope the public welcome it and enjoy popping to the other shops to pick up a bargain once they’ve come in for their vaccination.”

The Aberafan Shopping Centre LVC will be open between 9.30am and 4.30pm. Vaccinations are on an appointment-only basis for now.

The first vaccinations will be for the spring booster which, in line with JCVI guidance, is being given to those aged 75 and over, older care home residents and those aged 12 and over who are immunosuppressed.

The health board will shortly be announcing clinic dates for those aged five to 11 in June.

A Covid booster programme is due to run in the autumn, with interim JCVI advice saying that Residents in a care home for older adults and staff working in care homes for older adults; Frontline health and social care workers; All those 65 years of age and over; and adults aged 16 to 65 years in a clinical risk group should each receive one dose.

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(Lead image: Swansea Bay NHS)

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Swansea

Premature baby doing well thanks to emergency crews and hospital staff

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A young Swansea couple whose son was born prematurely at around 30 weeks have been reunited with some of the emergency crews who helped safeguard the child and swiftly get them the care they needed.

Since the birth of their son Hunter in November, Jenna Cullen and partner Jack Harris, both 28, experienced several traumatic months with Hunter spending time in a specialist neonatal care unit at Singleton Hospital, Swansea.

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At birth, Hunter weighed just 700g, but now safely back home together in Swansea and with Hunter weighing a fantastic 9lbs, the proud parents have reached out to tell their story and highlight the work of the Welsh Ambulance Service and the Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer team who attended them.

Jenna, who works for the DVLA, said: “Everything was fairly normal until around 20 weeks when I lost a lot of water, and after a scan they put me on weekly monitoring.

“At my 25+3 week scan, I was told the water had increased and that things were fairly normal.

“A week after that, I started suffering back pains but put this down to Hunter lying on my back.

“It eased by the following day but came back with a vengeance the next night, so we popped to the hospital who said I was not in labour and I may have slept awkwardly and we went back home.

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“Six hours later, Hunter was born.”

Due to the early arrival, Hunter had not yet turned as most full-term babies would so was born feet-first which can carry extra dangers.

Jenny with her baby, Hunter (Image: Wales Ambulance Service)

Jenna said: “I didn’t know what contractions felt like but I was in a lot of pain and by the time Jack had phoned 999 Hunter was almost here.

“I wrapped him in a towel and cleared his airways and got a little cry.

“I just kept him wrapped up warm and checked on him but he was quiet.

“I thought he was dead.”

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It was then that Senior Paramedic for the Welsh Ambulance Service, Dai Bowen from nearby Cwmbwrla Ambulance Station, arrived and began emergency care on Hunter.

“Dai was amazing,” said Jenna.

“He came in and straight away began giving oxygen and he cut the cord for us also.

“I helped with the oxygen as Dai placed equipment upon hunter to monitor him.

“Without Dai and the other crew members, I don’t think my son would be here now.

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“They definitely saved his life.”

Dai, 46, also from Swansea, had only minutes earlier begun his shift.

He said: “I’d booked on at six and checked my vehicle when I got my first job or ‘detail’ as we call it around 20 past down in Port Tennant.

“Control told me a young mother had given birth to a very premature baby.

“I was on my own in the rapid response vehicle so requested support and back-up as I knew we’d need an ambulance to get the baby to hospital.”

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Jack, Jenna and Hunter (Image: Wales Ambulance Service)

The control room were able to release an ambulance from nearby Merthyr to assist Dai due to the dangerous nature of such a young child being born.

Dai said: “I was greeted at the door by dad who was obviously very distressed, but with my 20 years in the ambulance service I was able to talk to him quickly and calmly and get him to show me to his partner.

“Jenna was so calm, bless her, and already had the baby in her arms – I thought the baby may have been stillborn.

“I quickly checked she was alright and then began to look at the little man.

“He was so premature and was very susceptible to losing heat and picking up infections.

“But then, I saw his little chest move and he took a breath on his own.

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“That was it, action stations.”

Dai took the baby and made a resuscitation area in the couple’s lounge where he began working on Hunter and connecting him up to the monitoring equipment.

He said: “Hunter was making minimal effort, but we are lucky as we have great paediatric equipment and on this job it all worked really well.

“He was still very cold despite the warming mattresses we had on him and I just continued to keep him warm and monitor his levels.”

A Welsh Ambulance crew of Robert Shannon and David Griffiths soon arrived to support Dai.

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The Wales Air Ambulance charity’s road division known as the Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS), also attended the scene from their base at Dafen to help deliver the critical care and advice that was so valuable to Hunter, providing things such as heat pads to keep his body temperature up during transfer to hospital.

Baby Hunter (Image: Wales Ambulance Service)

On duty for EMRTS that day were Dr Jon Baily, Critical Care Practitioner Dewi Thomas and Helicopter Transfer Practitioner Jez James.

Jo Yeoman, Wales Air Ambulance Patient Liaison Nurse, said: “Our crew arrived with specialist neonatal equipment and made a rapid assessment while keeping baby Hunter warm.

“Premature babies are at high risk of a declining body temperature so they placed him in a special wrapping specifically designed to keep premature babies warm, covered him with a heated blanket and put a hat on his head to prevent heat-loss.

“They then attached him to some neonatal monitoring to assess his vital signs and contacted the Specialist Neonatologist at Singleton Hospital to arrange for direct admission to the specialist unit rather than going through Accident and Emergency.

“We are delighted that Hunter is doing so well.”

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Call handler Emma Beynon picked up Jack’s 999 call at the Clinical Contact Centre in Carmarthen.

She said: “I’d been working a night shift and it was the last call before I was due to finish.

“It was quite traumatic as the baby was so premature.

“At the start of the call I thought it wasn’t going to be very good news.”

Emma, 36, from Narbeth and herself a mum of three girls, said: “I was supported by my manager Emma Colvin as it was only my second birth call – the first had come earlier that week.

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“We were giving birthing advice and I remember the caller shouting that the baby was out and it was only the size of his hand.

“We didn’t think the baby was going to be born so soon but it happened really quickly on the call.

“But most importantly the baby was breathing.

“The crew got there very quickly which was the saviour I think.

“It’s remained a call that has stuck in my mind and I’m so happy to find out that baby Hunter is doing really well along with mum.”

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The couple were able to spend a lot of time together at the hospital with Hunter thanks to a change in visiting restrictions.

Of the care Hunter received at Singleton’s intensive care unit and their special care nursery, Jenna said: “They were absolutely brilliant and nothing was too much.

“The staff and the consultant there were all so good.

“We’re lucky to have such good facilities here.”

(Lead image: Wales Ambulance Service Trust)

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