Winter is always a challenging time of year for the NHS as the demand for services tends to increase significantly with the onset of cold weather and flu. Due to the added pressures of the coronavirus pandemic, however, this winter is one like no other for our members of staff who are working tirelessly to look after our communities. Please support them at this critical time.

Help us help you

We need for you, the public, to help us to help you. The sections below provide guidance around some of our key challenges this winter, as well as the many resources available to you. There are a number of things you can do to stay well and protect your loved ones. Take action now.

We need you to support the NHS by using its services wisely and accessing them in the right way. Our services are extremely stretched in these unprecedented times, as are our staff. Follow the guidance below. And please only use our emergency services in a genuine emergency.

Look after yourselves this winter. And if you need us, we’ll be there for you.

A big thank you to our amazing staff

Finally, we would like to thank our staff and recognise their efforts as they continue to go above and beyond the call of duty during these unprecedented times. They are the lifeblood not only of the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, but also of the communities that we serve.

Key challenges this winter

Coronavirus

The biggest challenge we face this winter is, of course, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This airborne virus is not only potentially fatal, but extremely draining on our health services.

What we need from you:

Keep Wales (and yourself) safe:

  • always observe social distancing
  • wash your hands regularly
  • if you are meeting one other household, stay outdoors and stay local
  • work from home if you can

If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste) get a test as soon as possible and stay at home until you get the result. A list of available testing sites can be found here.

Finally, keep up with the latest coronavirus advice and guidance which can be found here.

Flu

Flu occurs every year, usually in the winter, and it is a highly infectious disease with symptoms that come on very quickly. Colds are much less serious and usually start gradually with a stuffy or runny nose and a sore throat. A bad bout of flu can be much worse than a heavy cold and can even make healthy people feel unwell.

The most common symptoms of flu are fever, chills, headache, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness. In most cases, the symptoms are quite mild, but in others they can be very serious.

Flu is caused by a virus which can spread rapidly. Anyone can pick up the virus and pass it on to those who are at more risk of serious illness. Because flu is caused by viruses and not bacteria, antibiotics won’t treat it.

What we need from you: Vaccination is safe and the single best protection against catching and spreading flu. Getting vaccinated now will provide important protection over the coming winter months.

For additional information on flu, please see the following link.

Norovirus

Norovirus is known by a number of names — winter sickness, vomiting bug, or more simply as diarrhoea and vomiting or D&V. But whatever its name, it’s an unpleasant, although not usually a serious illness, which can wreak havoc on our hospitals every year.

It is the most common stomach bug in the UK and it affects people of all ages. There’s no specific cure so you have to let it run its course, but it should not last more than a couple of days – the infectious period usually lasts between 12 to 48 hours.

What we need from you: If you are planning a visit to one of our hospitals, please do not come if you have had you have had diarrhoea or a sickness bug within the last 72 hours. You are putting others who are more vulnerable than yourself, as well as staff, at risk.

For additional information on norovirus, please see the following link.

Winter resources for you

Choose Well

Know what care you need and check you are getting to the right service. If you’re unsure you can visit Choose Well website. Don’t assume you automatically need to go to A&E. Also those with complaints such as headaches, toothache, upset stomachs and eye infections are being asked to consider visiting their pharmacist, optician or dentist rather than their GP.

Pharmacies

A list of pharmacies in our Health Board can be found here.

Opticians

A list of Opticians in the local area can be found here.

Dental services

A list of dentists in our Health Board can be found here.

If you are having regular dental treatment contact your dentist directly. If you require a Dentist out of hours, please ring: 0300 123 5060.

GP Surgeries

A list of GP Surgeries within the area can be found here.

To access GP services in office hours contact your registered practice directly. To contact GP services Out of Hours with an urgent medical problem, telephone 08456 010 110.

NHS Direct/NHS 111 Wales

NHS Direct Wales and the Out of Hours Service now share one easy-to-remember number in 111. This new, non-emergency healthcare telephone number is available in the areas of Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Bridgend.

You can dial 111 if you need:

  • Urgent Care
  • GP Out of Hours Services
  • Advice
  • Health Information
    For additional information, including an online symptom checker, please click here.

Minor Injuries Units

Those with minor injuries such as scratches, bites, sprains and fractures are able to visit the Minor Injuries Units at Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda and Ysbyty Cwm Cynon. As the average waiting time is one hour, patients who visit the units are able to receive care for these types of injuries and will often be treated much more quickly than if they attended A&E.

The Minor Injury Unit at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon can be contacted via 01443 715200. The unit is open 9 am to 4.30 pm (Monday to Friday). The unit is closed weekends and Bank Holidays.
Address: New Road, Mountain Ash CF45 4DG
https://cwmtafmorgannwg.wales/visiting/ysbyty-cwm-cynon/

The Minor Injury Unit at Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda is open 9 am to 4.30 pm (Monday to Friday) excluding Bank Holidays. Please note, appointments have to be made for this service by ringing 01443 444 075.
https://cwmtafmorgannwg.wales/visiting/miu/

Accident and Emergency Departments

Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB has three Accident and Emergency departments: Prince Charles Hospital, Princess of Wales Hospital and Royal Glamorgan Hospital.

While this is an essential service for our communities, emergency departments should only be used for a serious Accident or Emergency, and not for any other conditions, ailments or illnesses that can be treated by other health care professionals and services.

 

Keep up-to-date with our services

Finally, any news or announcements about services affected by severe winter weather will be posted on our website and our social media pages, including Facebook and Twitter.