The way we provide our NHS services has changed significantly over the last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While many non-urgent services had to be put on hold, we are now working hard to reintroduce them so that all our patients can get the care and treatment they need.

As services are reintroduced, you’ll notice some changes. The pandemic has taught us all to be more innovative and more resourceful, so we’ll be working in different ways to keep you as safe as possible and making care as convenient as we can, including:

  • Virtual appointments, to cut down unnecessary travel time and contacts with people.
  • Making sure all the necessary social distancing and infection control procedures are in place.
  • Looking at how we can deliver more care closer to home and within your community.

If you’re waiting for an appointment or procedure, please be assured you have not been forgotten. It might just take us some time to get services back up and running as we prioritise patient safety.

We know you might have questions about this work, and we hope the below FAQ is helpful. You can keep up to date with the latest service updates here.

 

Q: My treatment/surgery was cancelled during lockdown and I have not heard yet when it will be rescheduled. What should I do?

A: Unfortunately, as with other Health Boards, we had to take the difficult decision to postpone all but urgent treatment while we responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are sorry that you have had to wait longer for treatment, but it is vital that we always put patient and staff safety first.

 If you are waiting for treatment or tests during lockdown, please don’t worry – you haven’t been forgotten.

We are working really hard to get our NHS services across Cwm Taf Morgannwg back up and running now that COVID rates are falling in our area, but it won’t happen overnight as we are looking at how we can deliver non-urgent services as safely as possible.

Our teams should be in touch with you about your treatment soon, but we ask for you to be patient at this time and are grateful for your support.

We are providing updates about the status of our services on our website. Check here to see which services are already back up and running.

 

Q: I have been referred by my GP for further treatment/tests, but have heard nothing. What should I do?

Unfortunately, as with other Health Boards, we had to take the difficult decision to postpone all but urgent treatment while we responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are sorry that you have had to wait longer for treatment, but it is vital that we always put patient and staff safety first.

 If you have been waiting for treatment or tests during lockdown, please don’t worry – you haven’t been forgotten.

We are working really hard to get our NHS services across Cwm Taf Morgannwg back up and running now that COVID rates are falling in our area, but it won’t happen overnight as we are looking at how we can deliver non-urgent services as safely as possible.

Our teams should be in touch with you about your treatment soon, and while we know how difficult it can be to have to wait, we ask for you to be patient at this time. We are grateful for your support.

We are providing updates about the status of our services on our website. Check here to see which services are already back up and running.

 

Q: My condition has gotten a lot worse during lockdown, as I have been waiting for so long. What is being done to make sure I get the treatment I need?

A: We are really sorry that people have had to wait longer for treatment, but it was really important that we made these difficult decisions to be able to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and keep patients and staff as safe as possible. Our clinicians are working hard to get services back up and running and will be contacting patients based on clinical priority.

We are also looking at how we might run extra clinics and even more virtual appointments as we try to see as many patients as quickly as possible. If you are in a lot of pain, you could contact your local pharmacist or GP to ask their advice on how to manage your condition while our teams work hard to see you as soon as possible.

 

Q: How much longer will I have to wait for my treatment/appointment/procedure because of delays caused by COVID?

A:  We are really sorry that people have had to wait so long for treatment, but are working hard to get back on track. It’s very difficult to put a timeline on how long patients will have to wait and it depends on a variety of things, including what the treatment is and what speciality it sits under.

As we get services back up and running we are looking at what we can do to speed up waiting times, including running extra clinics, delivering care closer to home and delivering even more virtual appointments to try to see as many patients as quickly as possible. You can find out more about virtual appointments and care closer to home here.  It is our aim that no one will be waiting more than two years for treatment.

 

Q: Why have some services re-started and others haven’t?

A: The challenges we face when it comes to re-starting our services are complex and there are many factors which affect how quickly we can do this. These include available staff (many of whom have been working over and above during the pandemic to deliver urgent services), the environment the work takes place in and the additional safety measures we need to put in place, limited capacity due to the measures which we need to put in place for COVID, and the need to ensure equipment and machinery is fully sanitised to keep patients and staff safe.

However, we are working hard to look at how we meet these challenges and how we can deliver care in more innovative and patient-friendly ways.

 

Q: Will I be able to receive consultations virtually instead of having to come into the surgery/hospital?

A:  For many treatments and consultations, yes. We have been running virtual consultations throughout the pandemic and many people have found them beneficial. You can find out more here.

 

Q: I’m worried about the risk of getting COVID if I have to come into hospital/the surgery for my treatment/consultation. Is it safe?

A: Throughout the pandemic, we’ve worked hard to make sure our sites are as safe as possible for our staff and patients.

We have all the necessary social distancing and infection control procedures in place so if you are invited in for an appointment as we start to re-open our sites and services, there is no need to worry. Please make every effort to attend and if you have any questions, please get in touch.

 

Q: I feel like I’ve been forgotten about while all of the NHS has been focussed on treating COVID patients. How can I make sure I get seen?

A: Please be assured that you have not been forgotten. If you are on our waiting list, our teams will be in touch with you soon. We would ask for people’s support in not contacting our clinical teams to find out about their treatment as our teams are busy trying to get services running again and seeing as many people as possible.

 

Q: I have been waiting for my scheduled treatment for months now and am feeling desperately anxious. What can I do?

A: Please be assured that you have not been forgotten. We understand that waiting for delayed treatment can be extremely stressful, but would ask for your support in not contacting our clinical teams to find out about your treatment as our teams are busy trying to get services running again and seeing as many people as possible. You can keep up to date with how services are running via our website here.

 

Q: I am worried about my health condition, but am really confused about who I should call or where I should go. Are doctors’ surgeries/Emergency Departments still open?

A: Yes, GPs and Emergency Departments are open and have been seeing patients throughout the pandemic. If you can, we’d encourage you to see your pharmacists or use the NHS Wales 111 website as your first point of call in managing your medical problem. If you need to see your GP, please phone your practice and they can arrange an appointment for you. Out of hours, you can contact 111.

We also have minor injury units in Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda and Ysbyty Cwm Cynon Hospitals. Information on these services can be found here. Please only use our Emergency Departments in a genuine health emergency.

 

Q: Should I be bothering the doctor when they are already so busy?

A: If you have a health concern, then we would encourage you seek appropriate advice and treatment, whether this is from your pharmacist, 111, dentist, optician, GP, minor injury unit, or local hospital. You can find out more about the services that are available here.

 

Q: My family member has to come into hospital for a rescheduled procedure. Will I be allowed to come with/visit him/her?

A: As with other Health Boards, we have had to take difficult decisions to restrict visiting to prioritise patient and staff safety during the pandemic, and we know that this has been very hard for patients and their families. We are keeping these restrictions under review. You can keep up to date with the latest guidelines here.

 

Q: My family member is dying in hospital. Can I come in to see them?

A: Currently, for patients who are in the last days of their life, visiting is supported with restrictions. Your health professional in these services will provide more detail. We know that these restrictions can be extremely painful for all involved, but please support us to keep everyone safe and minimise the spread of COVID-19. You can keep up to date with the latest visiting guidelines here.

 

Q: Having to wait for my treatment/test results has really affected my mental health and I am feeling desperate. What should I do?

A:  We are really sorry that waiting longer for your treatment has had an impact on your mental health. We understand that this is an extremely difficult time for everyone, especially those waiting for care and treatment. If you are struggling with your mental health, please know that you are not alone and that there is lots of support available. You can find more information on our website here.

 

Q: I am worried that I have symptoms that might be COVID but have an appointment at the surgery/hospital. Should I still come in?

A:  It is vital that you do not visit our sites if you have COVID-19 symptoms. If you have symptoms of COVID, it is really important that you follow the guidance and get tested as soon as possible. You should stay at home while waiting for the test results (only leave the house to get tested). If you are due to come into hospital before you get your results or after you have tested positive, please contact the relevant department you are due to visit and let them know you have COVID symptoms.

 

Q: My baby is due soon and I am worried about coming into hospital. Will my partner be able to come with me when I go into labour?

A: CTMUHB understands that partners are essential to the wellbeing of our women and babies, and, wherever we can, we will support you to be with your loved one. We appreciate how difficult these restrictions may be, but please support us to keep everyone safe and minimise the spread of COVID-19.

Currently:

  • Partners can attend 12 and 20 week ultrasound scans.
  • Partners will be invited to labour assessments (if the facility allows) for infection prevention
  • We have increased face-to-face appointments in the antenatal and postnatal
  • Birthing partners can visit mothers and babies on the postnatal wards for one hour each day on an appointment basis.
  • Partners can attend any obstetric procedure requiring single room accommodation.

To keep up with the latest guidance on maternity visiting, please visit our webpage here.