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Hywel Dda NHS

Memorial bench for much loved hospital porter at Prince Phillip Hospital

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A memorial bench has been placed in the Pharmacy’s Quadrant of Prince Philip Hospital in memory of Porter Paul Maulkin, who sadly died this year.

Paul’s porter team raised over £1,700 by collecting money from different departments in the hospital to go towards buying the bench and a plaque in his memory.

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Left over money from the collection was donated to the breast cancer unit at the hospital by decision of Paul’s family.

Owen Jenkins, Porter and Paul’s shift partner at Prince Philip Hospital said: “We wish to extend a big thank you to anyone who donated money in Paul’s memory. Paul was always so loved by everyone. He had a big heart, and we all thought the world of him.

“He always so easy to talk to, if you were stressed about anything, he would always put you at ease.”

Paul worked as a porter in Prince Philip Hospital for over 15 years. The health board have said that he will be dearly missed by colleagues and friends at Hywel Dda.

(Lead image: Hywel Dda NHS)

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Ammanford

Plans to close GP surgery in Tycroes revealed

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Margaret Street Practice has applied to Hywel Dda Health board to close its branch surgery in Tycroes.

The surgery in Tycroes has been closed since February 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the building served as a ‘red site’ for the Amman Gwendraeth GP cluster.

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Prior to the pandemic, the branch was used mainly for blood tests at the phlebotomy clinic.

Since its temporary closure, patients of Tycroes have used Margaret Street Practice, around two miles away in Ammanford.

There is a regular bus route between the two Surgeries.

In a statement, the health board said: “Margaret Street Practice, Hywel Dda University Health Board and the Community Health Council are working together to engage with patients of both surgeries to gain an understanding of how a proposed closure would affect patients.

“A period of engagement commences on Monday 9 May and runs until Friday 24 June.

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“Should Tycroes close, the potential benefits for patients include more available appointments for all patients at the Margaret Street Practice, as staff would not be covering two sites, and earlier and later appointments could be offered from Margaret Street.

“Patients would still be able to use the Tycroes Pharmacy and the Practice would continue to send all requested prescriptions to the pharmacy.”

Jill Paterson, Director of Primary Care, Community and Long Term Care for Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “We are committed to listening to and engaging with local populations around the proposal to relocate Primary Care services from Tycroes Surgery to Margaret Street and we would therefore like to invite patients to get involved in the engagement process.

“We are committed to working closely with the Practice and the Community Health Council throughout this process and will keep patients informed of the results of this engagement exercise.”

Vice Chair of Hywel Dda Community Health Council, Dr Barbara Wilson said: “GP services are so important to the communities they serve. When the health board comes to make its decision about the future of Tycroes branch surgery, it’s crucial that the public have their say.

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“Whether people support this proposal or oppose it, the CHC will be ensuring that those views are heard and understood by the health board.”

The consultation is available online, on paper forms at Margaret Street Surgery, by calling 0300 303 8322, option 4, by emailing Hyweldda.Engagement@wales.nhs.uk or by writing to Tracey Huggins, Head of GMS Services, Primary Care Team, Felinfoel Community Resource Centre, Felinfoel, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, SA14 8BE

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Health

Special International Day of the Midwife award for Welsh midwives

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Four midwives had special reason to celebrate this year’s International Day of the Midwife – it saw them being the first ever winners of a prestigious new honour.

Programme Director for the midwifery degree at Swansea University Nicky Court, received the award along with her colleague Susie Moore who is lead midwife for education and head of midwifery education, along with Helen Etheridge, lead midwife Birth Centre and labour ward coordinator at Swansea Bay University Health Board and Elizabeth Rees, consultant midwife at Hywel Dda University Health Board.

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This is the first time the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) in Wales and the Chief Nursing Officer Quality Improvement Award has been awarded.

The project focused on supporting women to have more positive experiences when giving birth. One of the key ways this was tackled was by supporting and building confidence in student and qualified midwives. The team focused on ensuring core midwifery skills were at the centre of midwifery practice, with a focus on improving the support for women having a vaginal birth. 

Helen Rogers, RCM Director for Wales, said: “We were so impressed with the way that the partnership worked, bringing together those working in midwifery education, and out in hospitals and the community, to deliver this great project. It highlights the benefits of collaboration to improve services and the quality of care for women. Nicky and all the team involved in this are worthy winners.” 

A delighted Nicky, who submitted the entry, said: “Our quality improvement initiative is something that is close to all of our hearts, and it has been a pleasure working collaboratively with our partner health boards to initiate this project.  

“Our initiative aims to support our students and colleagues in practice to further increase their confidence by putting midwifery skills at the core of intrapartum care supporting physiological birth and ultimately enhancing the birthing experiences for all women wherever they choose to give birth.” 

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The team developed the project through initiatives such as joint workshops and focusing on enhancing midwives’ training and education, so that they in turn can offer even better support to women. 

Chief Nursing Officer for Wales Sue Tranka, said: “I’m delighted to have worked with the RCM to launch this award. Being part of a team underpins the role of the midwife and is very much evident in the work of Nicky and the team to improve services for families and for midwives at various stages of the career.” 

Lead image (L-R): Susie Moore, Lead Midwife for Education and Head of Midwifery Education, Senior Lecturer in Midwifery, Lucy Evans, who was part of the development team and Nicky Court, Programme Director for the Midwifery degree. (Image: Swansea University)

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Gower

New research shows how surfing may boost wellbeing of brain injury survivors

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Generations of surfers know there’s nothing like catching the perfect wave, but now new research has looked at just how beneficial the power of the sea can be.

The Swansea University study examined how a group of adults living with the consequences of acquired brain injury benefited from group-based surf therapy on the Gower coast.

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Lead researcher final year PhD student Katie Gibbs said: “Nature has long demonstrated the capacity to facilitate wellbeing. Increasingly interventions involving the natural environment are used to help aspects of wellbeing in clinical populations.

“But we wanted to find out how nature-based interventions such as surf therapy could be used when it comes to promoting wellbeing in the context of neurorehabilitation.”

Katie and her colleagues from the School of Psychology  interviewed 15 adults with acquired brain injury following a five-week intervention where they worked with Surfability UK, a Gower-based community interest company which specialises in providing surfing experiences for people with additional needs.

Their findings have just been published by online journal PLOS ONE.

Scientists at the University have been collaborating closely with clinicians from Swansea Bay University Health Board  and Hywel Dda University Health Board to re-examine our way of thinking about health and wellbeing and consider how these insights could be used to support people living with pervasive impairment after stroke or acquired brain injury.

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Katie said: “We know physical health and psychological wellbeing are influenced by many things including healthy eating, sleeping well, or physical exercise. But our health and wellbeing are also influenced by whether we gain a sense of meaning, purpose, and achievement in our lives; whether we have a sense of belonging and it can even be dependent upon how connected we feel to our natural environments.”

One group which often struggles to experience various determinants of wellbeing are people with acquired brain injury. In addition to having emotional, cognitive, and physical difficulties, many feel isolated and unable to reintegrate into their communities.

A majority of stroke and brain injury survivors have difficulty returning to work or engaging in the leisure activities they once enjoyed, which in turn means opportunities for social connection, joy, meaning, and purpose are limited.

To address this, clinicians looked for diverse ways to give people with stroke and brain injury opportunities to experience wellbeing in their local and natural environments. This resulted in the partnership with Surfability UK, whose work offering surfing experiences at Caswell Bay led to it being featured on BBC1’s DIY SOS.

Since teaming up around three years ago, up to 50 stroke and brain injury survivors have enjoyed two-hour surfing session for up to five-week periods.

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In interviews conducted with 15 of those individuals, Katie and the team learned just how life-changing the experience had been.

She said: “Over and above everything else we found surfing nourished the belief that despite ‘being a bit broken in some places’ participants could experience wellbeing.

“Many said their experience gave them a ‘valid reason for being alive’.”

The research looked at the positive changes the participants experienced over those five weeks and beyond, where they enjoyed the benefits of being in nature and connecting to the present moment in a safe and supportive environment.

The group activity also meant they could connect with similar others, gaining a sense of belonging and community that they struggled to experience elsewhere. Within this community they began to reappraise themselves and what they were capable of, with help from the clinicians who worked with them to set meaningful goals.

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Katie added: “Our themes capture how immersing individuals in natural environments can provide the context for stroke and brain injury survivors to experience various pillars of wellbeing which they are often sorely lacking in.”

For her research, Katie has been working with Professor Andrew Kemp and Dr Zoe Fisher who have previously published research on the importance of taking a wider approach to wellbeing and considering how it can be influenced by the surroundings within which we live.

Read the article in full: Riding the Wave into Wellbeing: A Qualitative Evaluation of Surf Therapy for Individuals Living with Acquired Brain Injury

Lead image: Surfability lead director and head coach Ben Clifford with Lowri Wilkie, a member of the research team, at Caswell Bay. (Image: Swansea University)

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