Cwm Taf University Health Board held its latest Board meeting on January 18th at Ynysmeurig House in Abercynon. This bulletin sets out the key messages from the meeting about healthcare provision in Cwm Taf.
Board praises Cwm Taf staff during difficult winter period
Chairman of the Board Dr Chris Jones praised and thanked Cwm Taf’s hospital staff, GPs and community staff for the significant efforts everyone has made in the face of increased demand during the winter months. The health board, along with others across Wales, continues to be under pressure in terms of its unscheduled care demand across primary care, community and its hospital services, but robust plans are in place to manage the increased level of need.
The health board is encouraging people to choose the most appropriate service for their health need and to promote information about self-care and local community services such as the two Minor Injury Units at Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda and Ysbyty Cwm Cynon. Work has also begun on four new cubicles at Royal Glamorgan Hospital’s A&E department to increase capacity which will provide welcome additional space and help to improve patient flow in the department.
Multi-million pound investment in Prince Charles Hospital announced
More than £6m is being invested in Prince Charles Hospital to increase the size of its neonatal unit and expand its maternity facilities with refurbished birthing rooms and three new pools. The investment from Welsh Government, following a comprehensive business case from Cwm Taf University Health Board, will provide:
- an expansion of the neonatal unit with nine extra cots for premature or sick babies;
- a redeveloped obstetric labour ward with six birthing rooms, one with a pool;
- a redeveloped midwife-led unit, with four birthing rooms, two with pools.
The investment will also be used to refurbish the existing maternity operating theatre and to build a second operating theatre facility alongside it. Allison Williams, chief executive of Cwm Taf University Health Board said: “This expansion will enable us to care for more premature and sick babies as well as provide more of the latest facilities and equipment for all our mums-to- be. It is a really exciting development for Prince Charles Hospital and Cwm Taf and will provide our local communities with a wide range of specialist consultant and midwife-led care.”
Cwm Taf invests in state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure
The health board is currently managing an exciting and ambitious major Capital Programme totalling more than £17m. Capital works to improve hospital buildings and equipment and develop state of the art facilities are ongoing across the sites and include:
- A new Cardiac Catheter Laboratory at Royal Glamorgan Hospital (RGH)
- Neonatal, Obstetric and Midwifery expansions at Prince Charles Hospital (PCH) and Royal Glamorgan Hospital (RGH)
- A new Diagnostic Hub with state of the art CT and MRI scanners at RGH
- Palliative Care Unit in partnership with Macmillan at RGH
- The development of Dewi Sant Health Park
- Telecommunications System Refresh (UHB wide)
- Royal Glamorgan Infrastructure Works (RGH)
- Acute Medical Model (RGH)
- Surgical Assessment Unit and A&E Minors cubicles expansion (RGH)
- Digitisation of Medical Records
- Prince Charles Hospital Ground and First Floor Scheme.
Annual reports for diabetes, heart disease and stroke services show good progress but more work to be done
Cwm Taf’s Annual Reports for three of its priority work streams highlight the progress made over the last year and the key actions to be taken to make further improvements.
The health board is developing a new community diabetes model with GP surgery support from hospital consultants. The aim is to provide more local diabetes services for patients, whose condition is stable allowing specialist hospital services to focus on the more complex patients. The Cynon cluster of GPs is piloting the new intermediate care service centred around Ysbyty Cwm Cynon where 3 GPs with an interest in diabetes will provide the service supported by a multi disciplinary team of clinical specialists and therapists.
Cwm Taf’s stroke campaign for detecting symptoms quickly has been a success alongside a number of Public Health campaigns including the Cwm Taf ‘Healthy Weight, Healthy Valleys’ and ‘Smoke Free Cwm Taf’. A Stroke Services Redesign took place in March 2015 and a Stroke Education Programme has been implemented within the health board to support the learning of all staff in the stroke service.
Key achievements in the cardiac service include reduced waiting lists for cardiac investigation – the UHB has achieved a reduction in Echocardiac waiting times from a 26 week wait to four weeks.
Complex cardiac devices are now accessible locally to Cwm Taf patients and there has been a reduction in waiting times for new appointments for the heart failure clinic in RGH from over 26 weeks in 2015 to eight weeks in 2016.
Major Trauma Centre for South Wales
An independent panel of specialists from across trauma and rehabilitation services in the UK has been commissioned to review the options for the preferred location of a Major Trauma Centre for South Wales.
The two possible options are Morriston Hospital in Swansea and the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. Recommendations from the Panel are expected by March.
The Panel will be chaired by Professor Chris Moran, the National Clinical Director for Trauma to the NHS in England and Professor of Orthopaedic Trauma Surgery at Nottingham University Hospital and will include experts in key specialities that are essential for managing patients with severe multiple injuries as well as rehabilitation.
Opening of new Surgical Assessment Unit
The Surgical Assessment Unit (SAU) at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital opens in January 2017, located on Ward 2. The unit will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and will take referrals from bed managers, A&E and other consultant teams. The aim of the SAU is to provide a central point of access for surgical emergencies, to assess, stabilise, investigate and initiate treatment. Diagnostic support will be provided to identify those patients who require admission to a ward or those that could be safely discharged with a follow-up appointment at a “hot clinic”. This mirrors the system which has been successfully introduced in Prince Charles Hospital since January 2016.
GP Out of Hours Service sees highest shift fill rate ever
Throughout the Christmas and New Year period the GP shift fill rate across Cwm Taf has been maintained at an average of 90% (the highest shift fill during the Christmas period ever achieved in Cwm Taf). Some challenges remain in respect of the ability to cover shifts at Prince Charles Hospital Centre at the weekends, though every option for generating alternative or additional cover is being investigated and piloted. The GP out of hours’ service was extremely busy during January, with a high number of calls and significantly high numbers of home visits on the weekends (approx. 1000 calls per weekend and 100 home visits on average).
Waiting times remain challenging but improvements made in many areas
The provisional Referral to Treatment Time (RTT) position for the end of December was 1,166 patients waiting over 36 weeks, which is a slight increase on the 1,134 at end of November 2016. There were however only nine patients who breached 52 weeks, all in ophthalmology, and it is anticipated that there will be zero 52 week breaches at the end of January 2017.
There has been a significant improvement in the number of patients who breached the waiting time target for diagnostic and therapies, from 2,410 at the end of September 2016 to 1,554 at the end of November 2016.
There were just over 500 patients awaiting endoscopic investigations in September and this reduced to 320 at the end of December 2016. A mobile MRI van is now is situ to treat the outstanding patients and a mobile CT van has been in place since 9 January. Further initiatives are also planned to target reducing waiting times for both endoscopy and cystoscopy.