Partnership between Welsh Ambulance Service and Cwm Taf UHB results in significant improvement to ambulance response times across RCT and Merthyr Tydfil
Ambulances will continue to be ring-fenced for the Cwm Taf area following the success of a joint initiative which has seen a 14% improvement in response times in just over a month.
When the ‘Explorer’ project started on March 30th, 8-minute ambulance response times for urgent life-threatening calls across Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taff averaged 46.2%.
Four weeks later the Welsh Ambulance Service’s trial of ring-fencing ambulance resources within the Cwm Taf area resulted in ambulances responding to 61% of the most critical, life threatening calls within 8 minutes across Cwm Taf.
Data will continue to be monitored closely and analysed in order to inform long term improvement measures and the project will now be extended due to its success following confirmation this week.
Board approves Cwm Taf’s Integrated Medium Term Plan for 2015-2018
The Health Board’s three year plan – now in its second year –has been updated to reflect the achievements to date and the challenges that remain to provide healthcare services that are safe and effective.
Board members approved the refreshed plan, subject to the assumptions and risks on which the plan is based being clearly understood and accepted by Welsh Government. The plan aims by 2018 to strengthen primary care services through the development of cluster hubs; provide more health and care in the community; implement the re-design of more specialist services and embed the concept of prudent healthcare in service planning and delivery.
The Board agreed the development of a public facing summary of the plan to help inform our citizens. Plans from all of Wales’s Health Boards will now go to the Welsh Health Minister for approval.
The Board was also informed that it had broken even this year (subject to the audit of accounts), and members recognised the hard work of staff in getting to this year-end position, acknowledging the ongoing challenges for the Health Board which are outlined in the 3 Year Plan.
Platinum award presented to Cwm Taf staff
Cwm Taf’s CEO, Board and staff were officially handed the Platinum Corporate Health Standard on Wednesday May 6thfor showing exceptional commitment to the health and wellbeing of not only its staff, but also the local community.
To be eligible to apply for the platinum award an organisation has to demonstrate it is doing ‘over and above’ its core business.
The University Health Board was praised for its work with local partners to help people back into work, such as ‘Bridges into work’ and Jobs Growth Wales. The staff development programmes and partnership with the Mbale region of Uganda to help train healthcare staff in Africa were also singled out for praise as part of the rigorous assessment.
The Corporate Health Standard is one of the Healthy Working Wales programmes and is the national mark of quality for health and well-being in the workplace. It is a continuous journey of good practice and improvement and was put in place to target the key preventable ill-health issues and the Health Challenge Wales priorities.
Citizen Engagement Plan
The Board considered and approved a Citizen Engagement Plan that builds on the strengths of the importance the Board places on citizen engagement which places an increased emphasis on the importance of early engagement.
Architects continue design work on new neonatal unit in Merthyr Tydfil
Design work continues at Prince Charles Hospital to expand obstetric, neonatal and paediatric facilities.
The UHB plans to invest £3m to develop the existing neonatal unit, build extra delivery rooms and a maternity theatre at Prince Charles Hospital as part of the outcome of the South Wales Programme (SWP). The initial funding has also been used to purchase equipment towards a second obstetric theatre as well as two additional birthing pools.
Although staffing the medical rotas at both PCH and RGH remains a challenge, Board members were told that the UHB has recruited enough doctors to retain the services on both sites for the foreseeable future, and hopes to continue the arrangement until the capital build is complete at Prince Charles Hospital. A detailed contingency plan has been developed.
Performance on targets
Performance against the 4 hour wait in A&E improved slightly from 89.17% in February to 89.3% in March. The number of patients waiting longer than 12 hours for completed treatment however increased to 134 from 121 in February and the operational team is carrying out focussed work to implement improvements.
Performance against the 36 week and 52 week Referral to Treatment time targets has shown a considerable improvement. The number of patients waiting over 36 weeks has also improved with a decrease from 1869 to 1155 patients.
The Board considered the action being taken to address the increased waiting times being experienced by Ophthalmology patients and continues to monitor the plan in place.
Using technology to improve appointment attendances
Two new developments are being implemented across the Health Board to improve communications with patients and reduce the 72,000 missed appointments each year in Cwm Taf. The first initiative is a free appointment reminder service using text and voice message seen ges which aims to reduce the number of patients who do not attend by 30%. This would free up more than 21,000 appointments for patients who need them.
Providing a free message either by text to mobile phones or with a voice call to patients’ home phones seven days and then 24 hours before will remind patients of the time and date of their booked appointment, as well as give them the opportunity to cancel or re-arrange.
A second project - Jayex Self Service – is an automated booking-in process for patients which is designed to speed up the time patients are seen for their appointment and is due to be launched this Summer.