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News from Cwm Taf University Health Board

Cwm Taf University Health Board held its latest Board meeting on July 15th at Ynysmeurig House in Abercynon. This bulletin sets out the key messages from the meeting about healthcare provision in Cwm Taf. The full Board papers can be found here but if you have any queries or questions about the issues discussed please do not hesitate to contact the communications team at

Board members congratulate staff for prestigious awards

PSA - Dementia Care winner.jpg
Cwm Taf University Health Board won the Dementia Care category at the national Patient Safety awards for significantly improving the experience of elderly patients on Cambrian Ward at Ysbyty George Thomas in Treorchy.
After 21 years of the same daily routine where patients were woken at set times, patients are now left to wake naturally, have breakfast and spend more time with staff, which has had a significant positive impact, reducing challenging behaviour by 60%. The initiative is now being rolled out across the health board.
All the staff working on Ward B2 at Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda were also honoured for their work to improve the Welsh language services they offer at another prestigious awards ceremony earlier this month.
Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford presented the team working on ward B2, Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda with the Minister’s special award at the Words Into Action Welsh Language in HealthSocial Services and Social Care Awardsat Venue Cymru, Llandudno.  Chairman Dr Chris Jones said Cwm Taf staff are an “inspiration to us all”.

Health Board takes immediate action following disappointing food hygiene rating

The Health Board awaits a formal re-assessment of the food hygiene score at Royal Glamorgan Hospital after it was found to have made immediate and significant improvements.
Board members expressed disappointment and considered it unacceptable that the hospital had been awarded a ‘1’ rating by Environmental Health Officers who carried out a routine inspection on Wednesday June 17th. However Rhondda Cynon Taff council confirmed that “significant improvements” had been made when it carried out a revisit on July 1st.
The Board was assured that the score was not in-keeping with the Health Board’s usual high standards, reflected in the Royal Glamorgan Hospital’s previous score of ‘4’ and the ‘5’ star ratings at four of its other hospitals.

Improvement continues in ambulance response rates

Thanks to the partnership between Cwm Taf University Health Board and the Welsh Ambulance Service, response rates to the most serious 999 calls are being maintained across Cwm Taf.
When the Explorer project started on March 30, 8 minute ambulance response times for urgent life-threatening calls across Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taff averaged 46.2%.
Three weeks later the Explorer project - the Welsh Ambulance Service’s trial of ring-fencing ambulance resources within the Cwm Taf area – 8 minute response times have improved by more than 14%.
A new process of managing lower priority calls for patients needing hospital admission has also been trialled as part of the Explorer project and seen a marked improvement, currently at 86%, the highest across Wales.

Board members endorse update on implementation of Three-Year Plan

Board members have endorsed the health board’s refreshed Integrated Medium Term Plan (IMTP), notwithstanding some of the associated financial risks and assumptions outlined as part of the approval process.
Innovation is at the heart of Cwm Taf’s Three-Year Plan to provide healthcare services that are fit for the future and meet the needs of all our patients. Despite financial challenges facing the NHS as a whole, Cwm Taf has made good progress in the last 12 months in re-designing services to improve the quality of care.
Over the next two years of our Plan we will be focussing on strengthening our primary care (including GP) services; providing more healthcare services in the community to prevent unnecessary admission to hospital, and continuing to re-design our specialist hospital services.

Public engagement continues on future of GP out of hours services

Work is continuing to develop a new model for the GP out of hours service across Cwm Taf.
Public engagement is ongoing on proposals to consolidate the service at two hospitals instead of four as a result of the severe shortage of GPs across the UK.
There are currently only enough doctors willing to work in the out of hours service to fill 65-70% of shifts. This means the health board is already forced at short notice to consolidate the service on fewer sites in the interests of patient safety.
Feedback from the latest round of public meetings held by the health board, in partnership with Cwm Taf Community Health Council will be taken on board as plans are drawn up to re-design the service by the autumn.

Cwm Taf performing well on service delivery plans

Updated service delivery plans for critical care, cancer and heart disease are showing significant improvements in patient care and implementation of new initiatives.
Delayed transfers of care – patients who are unable to be discharged from hospital to their next stage of care – have fallen from 25% to 10% even though the national trend is increasing.
In cancer care the health board has appointed two Macmillan-funded clinical nurse specialists; a speech and language therapist and a person-centred care project manager to put patients at the heart of local cancer delivery plans. In cardiac surgery 2014/15 saw an improved referral to treatment (RTT) waits for patients needing cardiac surgery, and in 2015/16 the heath board plans to invest in a new Catheter Laboratory at Royal Glamorgan Hospital as well as expand the Cardiac CT Angiogram Service.

Board approves Joint Commissioning Statement for Older People

A joint commissioning statement for older people’s services has been developed across the Cwm Taf region to ensure strategies are joined up and consistent.
Cwm Taf UHB, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil councils have joined forces to ensure that services move away from institutional care to individualised care that promotes independence and prevents crises.
This will involve the three main public sector agencies making different choices in what they offer as well as what they commission other organisations to provide.

Carers Annual Report 2014/15

The Board commended the work summarised in the Carers Annual Report and paid tribute to all partners, especially third sector partners for their engagement and commitment to such important work.  

Patient Experience Report

The Board received the quarterly update on patient experience, which summarised some of the work taking place across the Health Board to listen to our patients and where appropriate make positive changes to improve their care experience.  The report built upon the quality themes outlined within the new Health and Care Standards and presented a summary of key areas of activity where the Health Board captured patients’ views of their experience.