The Welsh Blood Service is calling on existing donors and those who have never given blood before to help patients in need at Singleton and Morriston Hospitals by giving blood.
While people’s minds may be elsewhere as the end of the Summer holidays draws near, there’s still a high demand for at city hospitals. Over 1,100 donations of blood and blood products are needed each month to provide care to patients at Morriston Hospital and Singleton Hospital.
The Welsh Blood Service say that despite the pandemic, donations are needed daily by hospitals to treat patients with a range of conditions, including mothers and babies during childbirth; cancer patients receiving chemotherapy as part of their treatment; and by patients involved in emergencies.
One donation has multiple uses as it can be split into three products red cells, platelets and fresh-frozen plasma, meaning one donation can save or improve up to three adults or six babies lives.
Appointments are available at two locations in Swansea the Swansea.com Stadium and the Village Hotel.
Alan Prosser, Director of the Welsh Blood Service, said: “Every day around 350 donations are needed to help the 20 hospitals in Wales we supply, including two hospitals in Swansea.
“We’ve always had a great support from our donors in the area but we’re hopeful that more residents will consider becoming blood donors themselves.
“Last month, 658 potentially lifesaving donations were made in Swansea.
“As a Service, we rely on the generosity of people living in Wales to provide vital donations to patients.
“By giving up just one hour of your time, you have a unique opportunity to make a difference to people in your community and beyond.
“Additional safety measures have also been introduced at the donation sessions, social distancing guidelines are followed, all staff wear PPE and every item is cleaned between use.”
Alan continued: “If you’ve never donated before, why not try something incredible this week – sign up to donate at one of the sessions in your local area and become a lifesaver.”
If you are aged between 17 and 66, book a lifesaving donation at: welshblood.org.uk or call 0800 252 266.
(Lead image: Welsh Blood Service)
Maggie’s making a big difference for adults with learning disabilities
For over a decade, Maggie Higgins has made a big difference to the lives of people with learning difficulties and hearing loss – contributing to work which can help reduce the risk of them developing dementia.
Her support has even helped one adult hear birds singing clearly once again.
For others, it helps fulfil their potential and maximise their independence despite any difficulties they may face.
Now her work has been recognised through a major NHS award.
Maggie’s responsibilities within the speech and language service, which is managed by Swansea Bay and hosted in Cardiff and Vale, involves supporting adults with a learning disability, particularly hearing loss.
She has helped improve services around successful assessment, diagnosis and ongoing support for hearing loss, while a key part of her role includes overseeing the Positive Approaches to Supporting the Senses (PASS) group, which she set up with clinical psychologist Dr Sara Rhys-Jones.
PASS works closely with audiology experts to support patients, many of whom have had no concerns highlighted about their hearing, or had not been assisted in attending hearing tests or follow up appointments.
Significantly, Maggie’s work has led to a sustained sevenfold increase in referrals to audiology services for people with a learning disability – lowering the likelihood of undiagnosed or misdiagnosed hearing losses, which can decrease the risk of developing dementia.
Maggie said: “This is particularly encouraging following a Lancet Commission report in 2020 which identified that ‘unsupported hearing loss is the single greatest preventable risk factor for developing dementia.’
“People with a learning disability are at far greater risk of having undiagnosed or unsupported hearing loss and are known to be three times more likely to develop dementia than the general public.
“I raise awareness and get people seen and supported appropriately to reduce the risk where possible.
“Sensory loss is particularly prevalent and frequently undiagnosed and unsupported amongst people with a learning disability. The responses that might indicate someone has a problem hearing are very often mistaken for characteristics of their learning disability.
“It is essential that we understand what someone can see and hear so that we provide the best possible support. We cannot accurately estimate the impact of a person’s learning disability unless we are aware of what they can see and hear.”
Now in her 20th year with the speech and language service, Maggie has spent the last 12 years focusing on the impact of sensory loss on people with learning disabilities.
It is an area which she is particularly passionate about.
She said: “When I started this work, the link between unsupported hearing loss and dementia was not known but that was not the primary reason that I started to work on it.
“It was the fact that people weren’t recognising the signs of sensory loss and people were not accessing assessments. The work has become even more important now that we understand there is a link.
“You can’t underestimate the difference it can make to the lives of people with previously undiagnosed issues who go on to have hearing aids fitted.
“One lady left her hearing aid fitting appointment and burst into tears because she could hear the birds singing.
“It is terribly frustrating for individuals who, given the right support, could be involved to a much greater degree.
“When hearing aids are fitted or communication is adapted appropriately, the difference in people’s ability to engage with others and their environment can be overwhelming to see, irrespective of whether or not they use verbal communication.”
Maggie also created My Hearing Action Plan to help people with learning disabilities and their carers understand their hearing loss and the methods they can implement.
Following diagnosis of hearing loss, Maggie and her team support individuals, carers and staff to understand the impact of that person’s particular hearing loss on their communication and daily living.
Working with Occupational Therapist Maura Shanahan, she developed innovative learning disability and sensory impairment awareness training for professionals, families and carers, which enables them to experience particular levels of hearing loss.
It has led to an increase in the use of sensory-supportive approaches that help people with learning disabilities improve their health, well-being and quality of life.
Her efforts over the past decade have recently gained recognition in the form of being named the outright winner of The NHS Employers Award at the 2022 UK Advancing Healthcare Awards.
The award category identifies an outstanding achievement by an apprentice, support worker or non-registered technician in an allied health professional or healthcare science service.
She added: “I was totally amazed to be shortlisted, let alone win the award in my category.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed working in the speech and language service for 20 years, so it was a really lovely way to celebrate that landmark.
“Working with adults with a learning disability is an absolute privilege.”
(Lead image: Swansea Bay NHS)
New regional centre at Morriston Hospital to treat lung conditions given go-ahead
Plans for a new multi-million pound Adult Thoracic Surgical Centre for South Wales can go ahead at pace following a major boost from Welsh Government.
The new centre, to be based at Morriston Hospital, Swansea, will treat lung cancer patients and others who need surgery for a range of chest conditions.
It will be able to operate on an increased number of patients, potentially upwards of 20% more, and will be the third largest centre in the UK.
Following extensive public consultation in 2018, it was agreed that the new centre will provide a single service for South Wales for residents living in the Swansea Bay; Hywel Dda, Cwm Taf Morgannwg; Aneurin Bevan, Powys and Cardiff and Vale Health Board areas. The centre is expected to be open within the next three to five years.
Patients will be treated as much as possible within their local health board area, only having to travel to the Morriston centre for pre-admission assessment and the surgery itself.
The endorsement of the proposal by the Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan will enable the next key stage – the development of detailed plans – to now get underway.
Siân Harrop-Griffiths, Swansea Bay University Health Board’s Director of Strategy and project lead, said: “Developing this scheme and getting the agreement of all the clinicians and organisations across South Wales has been time consuming and complex.
“But we are delighted that this endorsement by the Minister means we can now take this work forward at pace to provide better thoracic surgical services for everyone across South Wales.”
Malgorzata Kornaszewska, Consultant Thoracic Surgeon at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Clinical Lead for the South Wales Adult Thoracic Surgical Services Programme said: “The new centre will be a centre of excellence with access to modern technology, and will be able to offer a comprehensive, modern, timely and high standard service to our patients.
“It will also create an excellent opportunity for teaching, training and research. This is an exciting time for the thoracic teams and Welsh thoracic patients.”
The South Wales Adult Thoracic Surgery Centre will standardise the delivery of these services across South Wales, improving the long-term sustainability of the service.
Having the specialist service in one dedicated centre will improve equity of access and patients’ experiences, and most importantly provide better health outcomes.
The single site thoracic surgery centre will be designed in line with best practice and the recommendations of various reviews and consultation processes.
As a centre of excellence, it will provide dedicated thoracic surgery to meet national standards, enabling sub-specialisation of surgeons, which in turn will enable a higher standard of complex surgical procedures to be performed.
All health boards in South Wales, led by Swansea Bay UHB, have worked together alongside the Welsh Ambulances Services Trust and community health councils to develop and agree a plan to develop this new unit at Morriston Hospital.
Carpenter still at work after nearly slicing off his fingers says thanks to Morriston Hospital
A retired carpenter who almost sliced off his fingers is still crafting away in his workshop thanks to the skill of Morriston Hospital staff.
Colin Taylor was working on turning a piece of wood into a teapot-shaped plant potholder when his wood cutter slipped and went into his hand.
But despite slicing two fingers through to the bone, he is not just busy in his garden workshop but has also rediscovered his artistic skills as a way of thanking hospital staff.
The 73-year-old said: “I had put the wood in a vice and started shaping it with an electric cutter. I had a new blade which was able to cut everything including metal.
“It had gone well, when I had an itch on my nose and went to scratch it. I took my hand off the cutter and it cut across the timber and across my hand.
“There was blood spurting up in the air. I knocked the cutter off immediately, and my wife called my daughter who is a good first aider. She came up and my fingers were hanging off. I’d damaged them all, but particularly my middle and index finger, and had severed two tendons.
“My daughter took me to Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr but they contacted Morriston Hospital who told me to come down straight away.
“From the moment I went in it must have been the best treatment in my life. The people were so nice and courteous. I was seen to first by a young lady who cleaned me up, and then the doctor came and took a look at it and said I’d have to have an operation.
“They injected my finger and the operation didn’t take too long, and I went home and my left hand was in a plaster for in six weeks. The surgeon fixed the tendons.
“It is not 100%, but it is what it is. I have got to get on with it. It’s a bit stiff in the morning and I can’t bend my middle or index finger like I used to.”
The grandfather of three has since produced a couple of paintings which he has presented to staff at Morriston Hospital by way of thanks.
He added: “I did some painting a long time ago. I always enjoyed painting and carpentry, although I know I’m no Picasso.
“But the people in hospital were so good to me I just wanted to do something to thank them.
“I’m not surprised the NHS has such a good reputation with people like that working there.”
Specialist hand physiotherapist Iona Davies added: “Following surgery and initial assessment at Morriston Hospital, Mr Taylor was able to access our specialist hand therapy services virtually, at a time when local therapy services were constrained due to Covid.
“This eliminated the need for him to travel from Tredegar, where he lives and cares for his disabled wife.
“He has been dedicated to his rehabilitation and exercises, and as a consequence has been able to achieve his treatment goals, returning to woodwork and painting. The outcome following such an injury is dependent as much on patient’s motivation and commitment as it is on surgical skill and therapy input.
“We were delighted to receive his gift.”
Lead image: Colin and daughter Heather with the painting of Morriston Hospital (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)
Maggie’s making a big difference for adults with learning disabilities
Ambitious plans for city’s future unveiled
West Wales car dealership to double in size
Are cats man’s new best friend? Surge in demand throughout lockdown
New trains for Wales and Borders services go on show
Pontarddulais school’s physical education department supported by Amazon
Swansea man’s delight as he scoops combined £37,000 cash-and-car prize
Logan Mwangi: Three sentenced for murder
Council to review Swansea Valley ‘Super School’ decision made by previous administration
Carmarthenshire author’s Carmarthen Crime series hits the bookshelves
Twelve men arrested in cannabis raids in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot
Joe’s Ice Cream to celebrate 100th birthday with rebrand and grand reopening
Major Swansea road closures announced as city prepares to welcome back airshow
Everything you need to know about the JCP Swansea Half Marathon ahead of race day
Port Talbot school’s shipping container shop lets people ‘pay what they can’ to combat cost of living crisis
Specialist police to patrol Swansea’s beaches and parks this Summer
Council awarded over £8m for new cycle and walking routes in Swansea
Tower crane helping transform former nightclub site
Swansea 7 year-old girl badly burned by buried disposable BBQ on beach
Swansea school children set to receive IT equipment thanks to DVLA
Uncategorized6 days ago
Swansea 7 year-old girl badly burned by buried disposable BBQ on beach
Education3 days ago
Plans for Neath Port Talbot’s first Welsh medium primary ‘starter school’ to be discussed by new council cabinet
Food & Drink4 days ago
Proposal to ban tea and coffee for under 16s in Wales branded ‘illiberal’
Fitness3 days ago
Tyson Fury comes to Swansea as Ware-house Gym celebrates first anniversary
FlixBus3 days ago
Swansea coach operator joins FlixBus network
Charity7 days ago
Action for Children and Swansea Council unveil new caravans for supported families
Theatre2 days ago
A night to celebrate all that is Grand about The GRAND
Swansea Bay NHS7 days ago
£2.5m investment aims to help tackle hospital waiting lists in Swansea Bay by expanding care after surgery