More than £25m is being invested in new imaging equipment to ensure the NHS in Wales has access to the latest technology to help speed up the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other diseases.
The funding will upgrade vital technology and equipment, including MRI and CT scanners. It will also increase the resilience and reliability of diagnostic equipment available to the NHS in Wales.
With many people unable to attend hospitals for imaging and diagnostic appointments during the pandemic, waiting times have increased.
Investing in diagnostic services across all health boards and NHS trusts will help the NHS recover and improve patient care.
Cancer services will receive a significant boost, with new investment in CT scanners, gamma cameras, and MRI and fluoroscopy x-ray imaging rooms.
Swansea Bay University Health Board will receive £5.5m towards a CT simulator, providing 3D treatment planning for cancer patients; a fluoroscopy room, providing state-of-the art x-ray imaging, at Morriston Hospital and a CZT technology gamma camera upgrade.
Singleton Hospital consultant clinical oncologist Sarah Gwynne said the equipment would make a difference to how patients were treated.
“The new CT scanner will allow us to deliver radiotherapy to kill cancer cells more accurately, getting the dose to the areas that need it while avoiding surrounding areas that we need to avoid.
“This is especially important in breast, oesophageal and lung cancer, where movement with breathing can make targeting specific areas even harder.”
The remainder of the funding will provide:
- £2.3m for a CT scanner and two diagnostic radiology rooms at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr, in Ystrad Mynach
- £3.3m for a gamma camera and interventional radiology suite at Wrexham Maelor Hospital
- £2.1m for CT simulator replacement at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd
- £3.2m for fluoroscopy and cath lab at University Hospital of Wales, in Cardiff
- £3.1m for an upgrade of MRI and fluoroscopy room, providing x-ray imaging at the Princess of Wales Hospital, in Bridgend
- £4.5m for two replacement CT scanners at Glangwilli Hospital, in Carmarthenshire and Withybush Hospital, Pembrokeshire
- £1m for fluoroscopy x-ray imaging and MRI upgrade at Velindre Cancer Centre, in Cardiff.
- £350k for four ultrasound machines at Brecon, Newtown, Llandrindod Wells and Welshpool hospitals
Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “It’s our priority to support the recovery of the NHS and this is a first step to ensuring the health service has access to sufficient diagnostic capacity to deal with the people waiting as a result of the pandemic.
“We aren’t out of the pandemic yet. Investing in the diagnostic national capital replacement programme and upgrading the equipment available to our incredible healthcare workforce is key to diagnosing, treating and caring for people as we move forward.
“This £25m investment will replace ageing equipment as part of our effort to ensure the NHS can respond to demand with resilient services.”
Swansea paramedic to captain Wales’ hockey team in World Cup
A Welsh Ambulance Service worker will be taking to the hockey pitch to captain Wales in the upcoming 35–40-year-olds World Cup, in Nottingham.
Cath Fuge, 39, a paramedic for the Trust’s Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), based in Swansea will start her competition today.
After the pandemic and rupturing her patella tendon in 2020 hindered her training, Cath is ready to play, potentially, her last competition.
She said: “I was off work for four to five months after my injury, but I focused on my rehab, and I was back training in under a year.
“I played the home nations last year, and I’ve just been trying to build on that.
“I count myself quite lucky, that I’m back up and running.”
Cath started working for the Trust as an Emergency Medical Technician 16 years ago, joining HART in 2012.
She said: “In HART, we train together if we can, and I really like that team environment.
“Sport and fitness in general have been good for me.”
Cath who usually plays in the position of centre midfield (CM), will be starting the tournament for Wales against Scotland.
“I play different positions, but I usually play CM as I’m an attacking player.
“I’m nervous but also really excited.
“When we played the home nations recently, I was playing against Olympic players.”
The 2022 World Cup in Nottingham will be taking place from 12 to 21 August.
Cath said: “It’s going to be huge; I think there is fifty teams coming over.
“Wales are always the underdogs.
“On Saturday it will be Wales against England, which is always a big match.
“I’m very honoured to keep the captaincy for this year and I can’t wait.”
Cath will be supported by her partner, mum, and dad, along with other family and friends.
(Lead image: Wales Ambulance Service Trust)
Specsavers launch glasses and contact lens recycling initiative
Specsavers in Swansea is offering customers the chance to recycle their glasses and contact lenses in-store for free.
The new initiative comes after the high-street opticians teamed up with recycling experts MYgroup to install recycling collection boxes at Specsavers stores up and down the country.
Customers at Specsavers Swansea will be able to drop off both metal and plastic glasses and sunglasses, as well as contacts lenses and accessories, including blister packs, contact lens cases and solution bottles.
Once the collections bins are full, the items will be shipped off to MYgroup recycling plant.
The glasses and contact lenses will be given a second lease of life and repurposed into a wide range of items such as furniture, home and garden accessories, including benches and play park equipment.
It can also be used in the building trade as a great alternative to plywood. Unlike some recycled items, the recycled board created by MYgroup has the potential to be recycled over and over again, so any items dropped off for recycling can be repurposed multiple times.
Specsavers say that this is just one of many steps they’ve taken to try and protect the planet and achieve its goal of becoming climate positive – removing more CO2 from the environment than the company generates – by 2035.
Christopher Jones, Specsavers Swansea director, says: “At Specsavers we are striving to improve what we do to protect the planet, so we are pleased to be offering customers the chance to recycle a range of eyewear products.
“We know from customer feedback that people want to be able to recycle eyecare products, so we are really pleased to be able to meet our customers needs in this important way.
“Sustainability is at the core of our plan for the future and by offering this service we’re making it easier than ever for customers to play their part.”
What can I recycle at Specsavers?
- Contact lenses
- Contact lens plastic packaging (solution bottles, blister packs, cases and tweezers)
What cannot currently be recycled at Specsavers?
- Glasses cases – unfortunately these are made of lots of component parts and are not practical to recycle at the moment.
- Lens cloths
Michael Derbyshire, business development manager at MyGroup, said: “MyGroup are delighted to be working with Specsavers and helping provide an instore recycling solution for their difficult to recycle waste.
“Using our expertise, knowledge and innovative recycling systems this initiative will allow Specsavers’ valued customers to recycle material that would have previously been destined for landfill or incineration by turning them into a range of useful products.
“Partnering with Specsavers validates the hard work we’ve been doing over the years, and we can’t wait to get started.”
Hospital’s flower power proves big success with patients
A summer of sun and extra flower beds have blossomed into the perfect partnership for patients’ wellbeing at Singleton Hospital.
The recent prolonged sunny spells – the hottest recorded for Wales in 30 years – have provided ideal conditions for hundreds of begonias to bloom.
This year, the health board has invested in additional raised beds around the hospital to increase the positive impact on the wellbeing of patients, staff and visitors.
Betty Foley has worked at Singleton as a volunteer for over 15 years.
Seeing a large number of patients, staff and visitors during each shift, she has heard a lot of positive patient feedback for the flower features.
She said: “I deal with a large number of patients and visitors coming into Singleton and a lot of them have passed comment on how lovely the flowers look around the hospital.
“A lot arrive through the main reception and they’re welcomed by a really colourful bed of flowers, which can give you a bit of a boost when you’re going into hospital for treatment.
“I’ve been told countless times recently by patients that they sit in front of the hospital where the benches are and the flowers take their mind off things.
“Small things like that can really make a big difference to your day.”
Christian Berndsen, gardening maintenance, and his team put the bedding plants in at the end of May.
He said: “We’ve used a lot of different types of begonias as they have a variety of bright colours that really catch the eye.
“The flowers have benefited from a great summer of sun.
“I’ve had a lot of comments while we’re around the hospital, which is nice. The intention was to give anyone who uses the hospital a nice, bright collection of flowers to look at around the site.
“Seeing bright flowers such as the begonias can give you a bit of a lift, so it’s been lovely to hear that patients love them as it shows it’s having a positive effect.”
Singleton has also benefited from a wooden sculpture of an oak dragonfly, which features on the Crush Hall roundabout which is situated between the main entrance and the maternity and child health building.
That has been funded by Biophilic Wales and designed by local sculptor Simon Hedger, and adds to a creative corner in the hospital grounds.
Nick Davies, Estates Officer at Singleton Hospital, added: “The flowers and sculpture certainly improves the appearance of the hospital. As we have a lot of patients, visitors and staff coming to this hospital we firmly believe that first impressions are very important.
“If you’re waiting for an appointment or are visiting family or a friend, it’s nice for people to see and offers a little lift. In addition, it’s a natural habitat for small wildlife such as bees and butterflies.
“Christian and the gardening team have done a great job brightening up areas around the hospital, and we’re really pleased it’s impacted patients in a positive way.”
Lead image: Volunteer Betty Foley, Nick Davies, Estates Officer at Singleton Hospital and Christian Berndsen from gardening maintenance at the Crush Hall roundabout display. (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)
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