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Students to be vaccinated against meningitis

From today, young people will be eligible to have a new Meningitis vaccine.

It will replace the existing meningitis C vaccine, given to teenagers and those starting university.

Credit: PA

All students under 25 who are going to university in autumn will be eligible to receive the MenACWY vaccine.

There will also be a catch-up programme for all 13 to 18 year olds.

Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord.

In 2011-12, there were around 2,350 cases of bacterial meningitis and septicaemia in the UK.

The number of cases has dropped since the introduction of vaccines.

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New meningitis vaccine rolled out to young people in Wales

The vaccine will replace the existing meningitis C vaccine Credit: PA

Young people in Wales are being urged to have a new meningitis vaccine.

It will replace the existing meningitis C vaccine, given to teenagers and those starting university.

From Monday, all students under 25 who are going to university in autumn will be eligible to receive the MenACWY vaccine. There will also be a catch-up programme for all 13 to 18 year olds.

Between the ages of 13-18 you are at increased risk of getting meningococcal disease, so it is really important to be vaccinated to protect yourself.

If you are about to go to university for the first time you should get the vaccine at least two weeks before you go. Contact your GP to organise the vaccination as soon as posisble.

– Dr Ruth Hussey, Chief Medical Officer

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Welsh ambulance service 'will be among most progressive'

Welsh deputy health minister Vaughan Gething says a new response system "will make emergency ambulance services in Wales among the most progressive and transparent in the world".

Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

The demands placed on our emergency ambulance service are more complex than ever before and are growing year-on-year. It is clear if we are to meet these demands and ensure the best outcomes for patients, we need to transform the way in which we deliver emergency ambulance services.

The new clinical response model, which we will pilot in Wales, has been designed by Wales’ top ambulance service clinical leaders and is based on firm evidence. It is a move away from the system based solely on the eight-minute response time target, which was introduced 41 years ago, to one which measures how successful our ambulance clinicians are in ensuring they have the most positive impact on clinical outcomes and people’s quality of life.

I am confident these changes will improve patient experience. They will also make emergency ambulance services in Wales among the most progressive and transparent in the world.

– Vaughan Gething AM, deputy health minister

'Response times must improve with 999 changes'

Changes to the way ambulances in Wales respond to 999 calls will only be effective if response times are improved, the shadow health minister has said.

From October this year, most ambulance time targets will be scrapped, apart from immediately life-threatening conditions.

The Welsh Government made the announcement today saying patients will instead receive "a bespoke clinical response based on their health needs", following a review.

Figures out today show by the end of June this year, 61.4% of emergency responses to immediately life-threatening calls arrived at the scene within eight minutes - the target is 65%.

These changes will only be effective if they lead to improved ambulance response times.

“That’s what communities and hard-pressed staff deserve and that’s what Labour ministers must now deliver with the new model.

“Wales has amongst the worst response times in Britain and the most urgent target has now been missed for 20 consecutive months.

“In an immediately life-threatening situation, the length of time waiting for an ambulance can make the difference between life and death.

“It is Labour’s mismanagement of our NHS that’s led to this shameful failure in performance and only a change at the top will put that right.”

– Darren Millar AM, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Health

The Ambulance Service says its confident the changes result in better response times and benefit patients.

Ambulance changes mean 'better outcome' for patients

The chief executive of the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust says she is confident that changes to the ambulance response system will benefit patients.

Tracy Myhill said: "Having a fast ambulance arrive at a patient’s door does not necessarily translate to a better outcome. However, having the right type of vehicle arrive at a patient’s door and timely transport to a treatment centre does.”

Dr Brendan Lloyd, medical director of the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust said: “Para-medicine and pre-hospital care has developed rapidly over recent years – the care delivered on scene together with taking the patient to the right treatment centre has far more of an impact on their outcome and quality of life than simply arriving at the scene of an accident or incident within eight minutes.”

'Traffic light' system introduced for ambulance calls

The new ambulance response model will introduce three new categories of calls – red, amber and green.

  • Red calls are immediately life-threatening calls – someone is in imminent danger of death, such as a heart attack. The eight-minute response target will be retained for this group of calls.
  • Amber calls are patients with conditions potentially needing treatment and care at the scene and fast transport to a healthcare facility. Patients will be prioritised on the basis of clinical need and patients will receive a fast, blue light response. There will be no time-based target for amber calls.
  • Green calls are non-serious calls, which can often be managed by other health services, including healthcare advice or through self-care.

Currently, both 'life-threatening' and 'potentially serious' cases fall into the red category - but under the new system, only those in imminent danger of death will receive an immediate response from the Welsh Ambulance Service.

Emergency call handlers will also have up to 120 seconds extra to identify the severity of each condition and the type of response needed.

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