The first state-of-the art integrated University Health Park in Wales hosted a visit by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.
The Prince of Wales spent almost an hour meeting staff and local patients at the £35m site in Merthyr Tydfil which is leading the way in delivering a new model of healthcare in the UK.
Keir Hardie University Health Park is unique in that local health and social care staff are all located under one roof so that services ‘talk to one another’, from district nursing, community midwives and mental health, to social services, occupational therapy, audiology, dietetics and children’s health.
Joanne Murphy, an occupational therapist at the health park was approached by the Prince and asked about her role. “I was really glad to meet the Prince, he was very friendly and asked us about our roles and whether we were looking forward to Christmas!”
His Royal Highness was shown some of the facilities within the main health park including the Telecare Demonstration House which provides all the latest technology and equipment to enable those with chronic conditions, sight impairments or other disabilities to live independently in their own homes.
GP Dr Huw Griffiths who works in one of three modern GP practices on the site said he was honoured to have met The Prince of Wales: “He asked about my work as a GP as well as teaching medical students which I also do here. Having a royal visit to the Valleys gives this area the profile and the positivity it deserves so we can attract more young medical students to work here.”
The Prince of Wales was also shown the neuro-physiotherapy gym and spoke with complementary therapist Debbie Davies who works alongside the mental health team.
Patient John Griffiths who comes in once a week for physiotherapy treatment said: “It was wonderful to have someone like Prince Charles come here and see the wonderful work that these staff do. They make such a difference to my life.”
Cwm Taf physiotherapists Nerys Terrell and Judith Constant said his Royal Highness was a pleasure to talk to. “It’s so nice to get some recognition for what we do; we have such a lot of facilities and there’s a lot of good work going on here.”
His Royal Highness also met medical students and Volunteer Instructor Patients in the £2.8m Academic Centre, which opened on the health park site in January 2015 to train young doctors in community medicine.
Third year Cardiff University medical student Shaffi Batchelor from London showed the Prince how to use a stethoscope on a dummy patient.
“It was great to meet him and he was very keen to know about our training programme and the hands-on approach to patient care at Keir Hardie. I am from London but the course brought me to Wales so it was good to show him the excellent facilities and training opportunities that are available here.”
Before leaving Keir Hardie University Health Park the Prince of Wales unveiled a plaque to commemorate the visit and signed the visitors’ book.
Dr Chris Jones, Chairman of Cwm Taf University Health Board said: “It was an absolute privilege to meet His Royal Highness and to show him the impact that Keir Hardie University Health Park is having on our Valleys communities. I was so proud that our staff had the opportunity to showcase the work they do that is making such a difference to people’s lives.”