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Hywel Dda NHS

Contacts identified in Llwynhendy TB outbreak urged to attend screening

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Public Health Wales and Hywel Dda University Health Board (UHB) are urging people who have been contacted as part of the Llwynhendy tuberculosis (TB) outbreak to attend their screening appointments, if they have not already done so.

More than 2600 people have attended the ongoing community screening exercise which started in June 2019.

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However, there are 485 people who have been identified as contacts and invited for screening who have not yet attended their appointments. The OCT is keen to stress how important it is that those invited for screening now come forward to attend for their appointments.

Dr Brendan Mason of Public Health Wales, Chair of the OCT, said: “We are really grateful to the Llwynhendy community for their assistance and help in coming forward to be screened in such large numbers. It has been invaluable in helping to manage the outbreak.

“We understand that during the Coronavirus pandemic people may have been reluctant to go to a hospital to have their screening done, but I can assure them that there are safety measures in place in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“If you have been contacted in the past and asked to come for a screening appointment, now is the time to get tested. It is really important that we screen all the contacts identified and make sure that anyone diagnosed with latent or active TB gets the monitoring or treatment that they need to prevent any further spread.”

31 cases of active TB have been identified during the outbreak. Active TB is a serious infectious disease, but is treatable if identified early.

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In addition, 303 people – or more than one in ten of those who have been screened – have been diagnosed with latent TB. Latent TB is not infectious and does not affect people’s quality of life, but may develop into active TB at a later date. As a result, it is important that people with latent TB are identified so that they can be monitored and receive appropriate treatment.

If you have been contacted as part of the Llwynhendy TB outbreak and asked to make an appointment for TB screening in the past, no matter how long ago, please call 0300 303 9642 to make an appointment.

Individuals with symptoms should not wait to be screened, but should seek clinical advice from their GP or NHS 111 Wales.

The symptoms of TB disease are

  • A cough which lasts for three weeks or longer, does not respond to normal medicine and keeps getting worse
  • Fever (high temperature)
  • Sweating at night so much that the bed sheets need changing
  • Loss of weight for no reason
  • Fatigue (lack of energy or extreme tiredness)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing up blood (this is very rare but needs immediate medical advice).

For more information on TB, visit the NHS 111 Wales website.

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Cross Hands

Plan for Cross Hands Health and Well-being Centre submitted to Welsh Government

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Plans for a new Health and Well-being centre in Cross Hands, Carmarthenshire, has been submitted to Welsh Government.

Hywel Dda University Health Board say an integrated health and social care network of services for the Amman Gwendraeth area is being proposed, which includes the construction of a new Health and Well-being Centre.

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If approved, the centre will provide a base for health and care services for the benefit of local communities. The core clinical services will include two local GP practices (Cross Hands and Tumble Medical Partnership and Penygroes Medical Practice), along with a range of Community Health Services such as midwifery, health visiting, community nursing, therapy services, podiatry, and mental health.

These will be complemented with additional supplementary services, such as an Integrated Early Years Centre, which is a community-based service for families with children aged 0-12. There will also be audiology services, a community pharmacy, space for community events, library, as well as a refreshment area.

As part of the health board’s commitment towards to decarbonisation, and achieving net zero carbon by 2030, the design of the building includes a range of low/zero carbon technologies. These include the installation of photovoltaic panels, air source heat pumps, as well as the provision of charging points for electric vehicles.

Rhian Matthews, Hywel Dda UHB’s Integrated System Director for Carmarthenshire, said: “This exciting plan demonstrates the importance of delivering services as close to home as possible.

“This Outline Business Case (OBC) for Cross Hands Health and Well-being Centre is an ambitious plan that will not only be an asset for Cross Hands, but will benefit Carmarthenshire as a whole.

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“This is the first OBC to be presented to Welsh Government since the submission of our Programme Business Case (PBC) earlier this year. Our PBC aims to secure a scale of investment never before seen in west Wales, in order to deliver our long-term health and care strategy ‘A Healthier Mid and West Wales: Our Future Generations Living Well’.”

Subject to Welsh Government approval, planning process and construction phase, the new centre would be built adjacent to the A48 and the new Cross Hands Business Park. It is scheduled to open in autumn 2025.

(Lead image: Hywel Dda University Health Board)

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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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Hywel Dda NHS

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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