A new pilot scheme to improve stroke care has been announced today by the Welsh Government at a Conference in Cardiff. Each year in Wales , the Ambulance Service receives more than eleven thousand calls for suspected stroke.
The pilot will monitor what happens from the moment the alarm is raised to seeing a patient safe on a stroke ward. Lynn Courtney reports.
Dr Richard Dewar, a consultant stroke physician for Cwm Taf Health Board says stroke patients need to be treated 'more effectively' and 'more quickly' to ensure patients get the right treatment at the right time.
The Welsh Government is piloting a new project aimed at improving emergency response times for stroke patients. The pilot will measure the response times between the Welsh Ambulance Service and the NHS.
The project is aiming to improve the crucial timing needed to treat a stroke patient, thereby lowering the risk of long-term disability.
Treatment may be performed before the patient gets to hospital. However, performance is currently measured when the patient reaches hospital.
Strokes are one of three main causes of death in Wales with 11,000 people suffering strokes every year.
The Welsh Government says existing response targets will not be scrapped but will continue to be measured alongside the development work.
The committee coordinates specialist health services for Wales' health boards.
The contract for 'the provision of Cardiac Surgery Services' will last until the end of September 2014.
It comes on the day the Royal College of Surgeons criticised waiting times for heart operations in Wales.
Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar says,
This is an admission that there are severe problems in meeting the demand for cardiac services in Wales and that the Royal College of Surgeons is right that patients are dying waiting too long for treatment.
The Royal College of Surgeons first raised these concerns six months ago and Labour Ministers simply sat on their hands.
Yet on the very day that the Royal College of Surgeons raises further concerns in the media, the Welsh Labour Government slips out information about a contract with a private hospital in Bristol, despite its previous ideological pledge to keep the independent sector out of the NHS.
This is the height of cynicism and hypocrisy and shows that this lazy Labour Government has to be shamed into acting in the best interests of patients.
People living throughout Cwm Taf are being urged to spring clean their medicine cabinets at the start of a major new campaign to help patients better understand and use their prescription medicines.
People will be able to take their unwanted medicines to their local pharmacies in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf from today, where they will also receive expert advice about their prescription medicines from their local pharmacist.
Cwm Taf University Health Board is urging everyone who is prescribed medicines to take them if they can and to tell their GP or pharmacist if they can't.
The 'Your Medicines, Your Health' campaign aims to highlight the important role prescription medicines can play in a person's health and wellbeing.
Cwm Taf Health Board says patients who may have been treated by a healthcare worker infected with Hepatitis C at the old East Glamorgan Hospital in Pontypridd will be asked to ring a dedicated helpline to arrange an appointment in a specialist nurse clinic.
Nicola John, director of public health at Cwm Taf Health Board, said: "We know this will be a very worrying time for patients who may have received obstetric and gynaecology treatment at East Glamorgan General Hospital between May and July 1984."
"However, we want to stress the risk of transmission to patients is small. But it is important that we get in touch with patients who may have been in contact with this worker during their treatment, which is why we are writing to some former patients, to ask them to contact the helpline."
The appointments helpline is open from today, from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. Specialist clinics will start taking place from 13th September 2013 and patients who have tests will get their results in approximately two weeks.
A hospital in Rhondda Cynon Taf will be temporarily reducing the number of beds on its dementia assessment ward while refurbishment work is carried out.
The number of beds in the Seren ward at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital will go down from 30 to 20 from the start of January.
The hospital says the work, which will involve removing existing walls and building new ones, is necessary to ensure patients "continue to be treated in a high-quality environment".
The health board says that patients who need a hospital assessment during the refurbishment work will be admitted to Seren ward if beds are available or to a bed elsewhere in Cwm Taf Health Board area until one becomes free on Seren ward.
A woman who complained to Cwm Taf Health Board about her mother's treatment has had her complaint upheld by the Ombudsman for Wales.
The daughter complained that after taking her mother to Royal Glamorgan Hospital clinicians failed to take appropriate action after a blood test result indicated that she could have thrombosis.
Her mother died two days after she was discharged in May 2010.
Pulmonary thromboembolism was recorded as the main cause of death.
The Ombudsman said that the daughter believes if prompt action had been taken after the result came back as positive then her mother's death could have been prevented.
An investigation found that the test was seen by a nurse before the mother was discharged and that her blood result was positive.
It found that the test result did not seem to have been "appropriately considered, if at all" by the doctor who made the decision to discharge her, or by the consultant who had overall responsibility for her care.
The Ombudsman concluded:
"The failure to consider and act on the positive test result before making the decision to send the mother home fell below an acceptable standard of care. This failing gave rise to a missed opportunity to make the correct diagnosis and to treat her appropriately.
" The treatment that should have been given might have prevented her death.The investigation also identified a number of additional failings on the part of the health board."
The complaint was upheld by the Ombudsman and it was recommended that the health board should provide explanations and an apology to the patient's daughter.
The health board was told to pay £5,000 to Mrs Y's family.