Cwm Taf University Health Board held its latest Board meeting on May 31st 2018 at Ynysmeurig House in Abercynon. This bulletin sets out the key messages from the meeting about healthcare provision in Cwm Taf. You can read the full Board papers here but if you have any queries or questions about the issues discussed please do not hesitate to contact the communications team at [email protected]


New £1.5m Health and Wellbeing Centre opens in Rhondda for people living with dementia

The unique Health and Wellbeing Centre, based at the Ysbyty George Thomas site in Treorchy, is a vital part of the Health Board’s strategy to deliver the highest quality dementia care to individuals and their families across the South Wales Valleys.

The new facility promotes a move away from hospital based care and places the focus on how people with dementia can live well within the community if they have the right level of support in place.

A range of services including day care, assessments, clinics, community nursing, therapies and care home teams as well as local authority and third sector services, will be delivered from the Centre, which has been designed to reflect the strong history of the local area and a traditional ‘community’ feel.

It is one of the key milestones in Cwm Taf’s Valley LIFE project, which has seen a range of sectors come together to develop plans to redesign care for people with dementia by helping them to live well in or closer to their own homes.

Cwm Taf to celebrate 70th anniversary of the NHS with initiative for future generations

Staff at Cwm Taf University Health Board will plant 70 trees across their hospital and community healthcare sites to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the NHS.

The trees will be planted across Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf in hospital and health park grounds; patient rehabilitation areas; well-being gardens as well as community healthcare settings to mark seven decades of the health service.

At a special event on July 5th – schoolchildren will also help plant one of the trees at Keir Hardie University Health Park in Merthyr Tydfil – a symbol of the future of modern healthcare – as well as a time capsule to reflect NHS past and present in the Valleys.

Chief Executive of Cwm Taf University Health Board, Allison Williams said: “This is a very special year for the NHS and we wanted to do something in Cwm Taf that would not only commemorate the last 70 years but invest in the next seventy years too.

“We thought that planting new trees right across our sites for the benefit of our patients, staff and local environment would be a powerful gesture symbolising belief and pride in the NHS for our future generations.”

The health board is also calling on people living in Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil to share their memories and photographs of the NHS since 1948. Members of the public can send their stories to [email protected]

Health Board records positive financial position

Board members were asked to approve the annual accounts for 2017/18 in the presence of auditors, recording a break even position (as forecast) with a small

surplus. The health board also remained within its Capital Resource Limit (CRL) in 2017/18 with a small surplus.

Chief Executive Allison Williams expressed her gratitude to staff of the health board for their support in delivering against the health board’s statutory duty and also to the Finance and Corporate Services teams, overseen by the Audit Committee, for their work on compiling the Accounts and related statements for year end.

Changes to paediatric, neonatal and obstetric services

Later this Autumn the multi-million pound expansion of maternity and neonatal facilities at Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil will be completed and the health board will be ready to implement some of the key changes set out in the South Wales Programme.

Board members noted the progress being made in implementing the changes and also formally received a petition from local resident and campaigner Mr Samuel Trask opposing the changes that would see consultant-led maternity and inpatient children’s services moved from the Royal Glamorgan Hospital.

The South Wales Programme (SWP), a major public consultation exercise spanning four health board areas, concluded four years ago that consultant-led maternity and inpatient children’s services would in future need to be provided at fewer hospitals across South Wales to ensure they could continue for the future, and provide the best possible care for patients.

Prince Charles Hospital was identified as one of five hospitals that would continue to provide these specialist services but it means that consultant-led maternity and inpatient children’s services will no longer be delivered from the Royal Glamorgan Hospital from Autumn 2018.

This does not mean that all maternity and children’s services will be removed from Royal Glamorgan Hospital. The hospital will still provide a Midwife-led birthing centre, open 24 hours, and a Paediatric Assessment Unit which will be open from 8am until 10pm. To accommodate the changes, a major expansion is underway at Prince Charles Hospital and is due for completion later in 2018. More than £6m has been invested to increase the size of the neonatal unit to 19 cots, redevelop the obstetric labour ward, refurbish the birthing rooms, and provide two birthing pools.

Cwm Taf Chief Executive Allison Williams will be taking part in a live Facebook Q&A session on Wednesday 13th June from 6pm to answer questions about the changes to children and maternity services at RGH. Information and regular updates will also continue to be posted on our website and two further public meetings will be held in July and September.

Bridgend Local Government boundary change proposal

The Welsh government consultation on proposals to re-align the Bridgend local authority boundary within the footprint of the Cwm Taf University Health board area ended on March 7th 2018 and a decision is expected in June.

This follows the publication of the White Paper in January 2017 Reforming Local Government: Resilient and Renewed which looked at ways of strengthening local government’s ability to work together to meet the challenges it and other public services face across Wales.

A scoping exercise has been taking place between Cwm Taf and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University health boards to prepare for any change in the boundary affecting health services. Any updates from Welsh Government will be published on our website as soon as they are available.

Health Board campaign showcases healthcare choices for Cwm Taf patients

A campaign has been launched across Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf to let people know what healthcare services are available in their local community. The #YourLocalTeam initiative highlights the range of professionals who can help patients, without a need to go to the doctor first.

Primary care is changing, with different roles and services now available to support GPs. These include physiotherapists, wellbeing coordinators, community pharmacists, occupational therapists, dentists, advanced nurse practitioners and GP support officers, who are often best placed to help with issues such as stress, anxiety, back pain, housing matters or family problems.

In Cwm Taf there are four primary care ‘clusters’ covering Taff Ely, Rhondda, Cynon Valley and Merthyr Tydfil. Each consists of a range of health and social care practitioners all working together to provide the right care and support for local patients.

The clusters are able to employ a range of primary care health professionals in new ways to make a real difference to people in their community.

Lucy Foster is a wellbeing community coordinator supporting 13 GP practices in Rhondda. She works with people facing all kinds of wellbeing and social issues, from problems with their housing and debt to stress, anxiety and loneliness. Often, the people she helps have made an appointment to see their GP to deal with symptoms, but Lucy’s role is to deal first with the cause – which, in turn often eliminates the need to see a doctor at all.

Innovative website created by Cwm Taf consultant to educate clinicians and support patients

A web-based suite of educational resources has been developed by a consultant surgeon in Merthyr Tydfil to support patients through complex illnesses.

Prof P.N. Haray, consultant surgeon and professor of coloproctology at Prince Charles Hospital, Merthyr Tydfil, designed the website, which also offers guidance to nurses, medical students, junior doctors and surgical trainees.

The site at has been produced in collaboration with David Brown, producer of medical media at Digimed®.

The resource is divided into a section for patients, carers and families who are coming to terms with the difficult diagnosis they have been given. The ‘Patient Journey’ helps them to understand the tests and procedures they may follow and aims to demystify the process.

‘Stepwise’ is for clinicians and is a step by step approach to laparoscopic colorectal surgery for bowel cancer and includes a huge amount of tips and what to look out for during difficult and complex cases.

Implementation of new data protection regulations

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is described as “the biggest change to data protection law for a generation” and will take into account advances in technology and the age of digital information. The new legislation came into force on 25 May 2018 and is applicable in the UK despite Brexit, with similar or identical legislation expected post Brexit.

Preparations for the implementation of GDPR both locally and across NHS Wales included a dedicated GDPR Preparations Task and Finish Group established within Cwm Taf UHB. The Group and the Information Governance Team are taking forward some key pieces of work to enable the UHB to fully comply with the new regulation.

Staff can expect to receive further communications on any changes that will affect them directly, however it is important to note that GDPR builds upon existing data protection requirements so all the current good practice in maintaining confidentiality and data security should continue.

Health Board performance target update

  • Performance for the 4 hour A&E waiting time target in April increased to 89.1% (82.3% in March and 80.3% in February), with individual hospital department performance of 86.2% at Prince Charles Hospital (PCH) and 89.4% at Royal Glamorgan Hospital (RGH). Performance was 100% of patients seen within the target time at YCR, 99.88% at YCC (where just one patient breached the four hour target). The April position has seen continued improvement, with performance over the last three weeks of the month being in excess of 91%.
  • April performance for emergency ambulance services against the 15 minute handover target was 93.9% (March 87.6%). There were no ambulance handover delays over 1 hour for April. Performance against the ‘Red’ category ambulance target was 68.9% for March (71.2% for February), with the All Wales average being 69.6%.
  • The number of patients waiting over 36 weeks for hospital treatment has increased from 4 at the end of March to 74 at the end of April 2018. It is a smaller increase than occurred in April 2017, reflecting the efforts that have been made to keep the breach position as low as possible. There were no patients waiting over 52 weeks.
  • The Delayed Transfers of Care (DTOC) position has reduced further to 16 for March, the lowest figure reported for many years. This clearly shows the benefit of our partnership working with Local Authorities and is ensuring that many more patients are discharged earlier and receiving more appropriate support for their needs in the community.

Innovative service developments yield results for Cwm Taf patients

Stay Well @Home ([email protected])

The Stay [email protected] service is now full rolled out across Cwm Taf, avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions as well as enabling more patients to return home more quickly with tailored care and support.

As well as proving invaluable during a particularly challenging winter period, the initiative is also reducing the length of stays for the 61-74 and 75+ age groups in comparison with previous years. The teams which are made up of health board, community and local authority staff to meet a range of needs are based at the A&E departments of both the Royal Glamorgan and Prince Charles Hospitals.

Integrated Autism Service

Work continues to develop pathways in line with Welsh Government guidance and to fully engage with all local services and key stakeholders. The Integrated Autism Team is now fully in place and the service went live in February 2018. To date, 40 referrals have been received and awareness of the service is increasing to help support families.

Older people’s care home services

The Cwm Taf Social Services and Well-being (SSWB) Partnership Board has adopted a joint statement of intent for older peoples services. The aim of the Cwm Taf care home accommodation ‘pooled fund’ is to ensure people in the Cwm Taf region have access to a wide range of good quality care home accommodation services that can respond and meet their needs when, how and where required.

The Partnership Board approved fund aims to ensure that the commissioning of care home services will become more integrated across the region, leading to a more transparent use of resources.

News from the Board!