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Staff thanked for their care towards respected paramedic

Family and friends of a respected paramedic who passed away with Covid have generously given back to the unit which cared for him.

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Gerallt Davies

Gerallt Davies worked as a paramedic at the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust (WAST) for 26 years, and was based at Cwmbwrla station in Swansea.

He was a well-known figure across the city as he was also the national operations officer for St John Ambulance Cymru.

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The 51-year-old was even awarded an MBE for his services to first aid provision in Wales. 

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In April 2020, Gerallt contracted Covid and after deteriorating was taken to Morriston Hospital’s Emergency Department by his WAST colleagues.

Elliott Rees, a friend and former colleague of Gerallt’s, said: “His condition continued to deteriorate and he was subsequently admitted to the Ed Major Critical Care Unit.

“Sadly, despite everyone’s best efforts, he passed away there on 20th April 2020.

“His funeral was supported by a convoy of police and ambulance vehicles with his friends, family and colleagues lining the streets.

“But at the time, due to the restrictions, only 10 people could attend the service.”

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Family and friends decided to set up the Gerallt Davies Foundation in his memory, as a way of continuing his work and supporting others working in healthcare and the charity sector.

Elliott, who is a trustee of the foundation, had discussions with other friends and family about organising an event to raise money for different health organisations that were important to Gerallt.

A memorial gala dinner was held last year at the Swansea.com Stadium and raised a total of around £9,000. This was split between the Ed Major Critical Care Unit, The Ambulance Staff Charity (TASC) and St John Ambulance Cymru.

 “It was a black-tie gala with a three-course dinner, auction and live entertainment,” Elliott added.

“It was attended by around 300 people from all sorts of backgrounds including healthcare workers, charity colleagues, ambulance service, police, fire service, the events industry and friends and family.

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“We chose TASC and St John Ambulance Cymru as the initial recipients of the money raised as they were organisations which meant a lot to Gerallt.

“We felt it was only right to include the Ed Major Critical Care Unit in this too for the care and support he and his family received during his short illness.”

The memorial gala dinner raised £9,000 in total.
The memorial gala dinner raised £9,000 in total.
(Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

The money donated to the ICU will go towards creating a dedicated garden area which can be used for both patient rehabilitation and staff well-being.

Dr Beth Barton, intensive care doctor at the unit, said: “For many years we’ve been looking at various options for setting up an ICU garden.

“Patients can find their time in the unit quite disorientating as it can be noisy and there’s not much natural light.  

“As part of trying to normalise things for them and as part of their rehabilitation and motivation, we try and set goals for them.

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“One of the things we try to do is to take them out of the unit. At the moment, the only way to get them outside is to take them to the main entrance of the hospital.

“With a garden, we would be able to take patients outside and potentially take more of them, as we would hopefully have some facilities out there to make it safer for them.

“It would also be a safe space for our staff to use as well.

 “The environment that we work in can be challenging so having a safe space for people to be able to take a break, somewhere we can go that’s a bit more private, will be very beneficial.”

Pictured: Gerallt’s son Jonny Davies, senior ITU sister Coca Sewell, Dr Beth Barton, staff nurse Eleri Hiscott and Elliott Rees.
Pictured: Gerallt’s son Jonny Davies, senior ITU sister Coca Sewell, Dr Beth Barton, staff nurse Eleri Hiscott and Elliott Rees.
(Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

Dr Barton, who knew Gerallt personally, said it was hoped the garden area would create a lasting legacy for him.

“The money we have received is going towards something that will help staff and patients,” she added.

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“Donations enable us to do more things that will enhance patients’ stays.

“They all go towards things that add to the skills and experience of staff on the unit and hopefully make the patient journey a little bit less intimidating.”

Elliott, along with Gerallt’s son Jonny Davies, recently went to the ICU to meet staff and present them with the £3,000 raised as a way of thanking them for the care Gerallt received.

Elliott said: “His family just wanted to give something back.

“The donation was in recognition of the effort the intensive care, and wider hospital staff, put in during the pandemic and the support they gave to Gerallt’s family while looking after him.”

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The Gerallt Davies Foundation will seek to raise money for healthcare and emergency service charities, support young people in pursuing careers in healthcare and public services and campaign to increase the safety and regulation around the medical provision at major events and mass gatherings in Wales.

Bethan James, ICU matron, said: “I would like to thank all those who have contributed to this donation in memory of Gerallt.

“It is a very kind and caring gesture.

“The money will bring joy and comfort to many of our future patients who I’m sure will make full use of a designated ICU garden.”

Staff at the unit will be looking for offers of support and donations to help with the construction of the garden area.

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(Lead image: Swansea Bay NHS)

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