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Calls for a vaccination centre in Pembrokeshire as Oxford Astra-Zenica vaccine approved

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THE OXFORD ASTRA-ZENECA vaccine has been approved for use in the UK, with the first doses due to be given on Monday amid rising coronavirus cases. 100 million doses, enough for 50 million people have been ordered so far.

Commenting on the announcement, Preseli MP Stephen Crabb said: “The approval of the Oxford vaccine is really excellent news and a positive step towards defeating Covid-19. It’s easier to store and transport than other vaccines and will enable a much quicker vaccine rollout.

“With 100 million doses ordered, it’s now critically important that the Welsh Government focus on vaccinating care home residents and the over 80s. Those who are most at risk from the disease need the vaccine first.

“It’s also time for the local Health Board to set up a vaccination centre in Pembrokeshire – too many people are having to travel outside of the county to be vaccinated. The Oxford vaccine’s easier storage criteria means there is no reason why Pembrokeshire can’t have its own vaccination centre.”

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in Wales have been so far critical of the lack of a vaccine centre in Pembrokeshire – although it is expected that one will open in the near future, most probably at Withybush Hospital, with advertisements for staff already live.

Hywel Dda blamed logistics.

SIGNIFICANT LOGISTICAL CHALLENGES

When questioned by the Lib Dems, the Chief Executive of of Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed in a letter that the “significant logistical challenges” surrounding the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine are the reason that no vaccine centre has been set up yet in Pembrokeshire.

Steven Moore wrote: “We currently have two vaccination centres, in Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire. Our intention is to increase the number of vaccination sites; however, this is not feasible until we are given assurance over the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine, which is anticipated to have significantly less logistical restrictions.

“We are aware and understanding of the community’s concerns surrounding when and how they will receive the vaccine. The Health Board is taking continuous guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination, and planning our activity in accordance with this.

“There are approximately 45,000 individuals to be vaccinated as part of the first two priority groups, which will take the Health Board some time to complete. Whilst we fully appreciate the public’s anxieties and eagerness to receive their vaccination, the Health Board has to be strategic in its delivery to ensure everyone is offered the vaccination in the most effective and efficient way.

“I can assure you that the Health Board will continue to communicate with its patients and the public living within our communities to ensure they are kept informed of any updates we have relating to vaccine delivery.”

Alistair Cameron, Welsh Lib Dem Senedd Candidate for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire) said: “It is disappointing that people in Pembrokeshire who need the vaccination will still have to travel into Carmarthen or Ceredigion in order to get it until the new vaccine becomes available.

“Many will find it very difficult, if not impossible, to make such a journey.”

NO IMPACT FOR MONTHS

Wales’ health minister Vaughan Gething urged people to remember the impact of the vaccine would not be seen for a few months yet.

“I would be delighted if we had population coverage by Easter, but when you think about the scale of what we need to do, I wouldn’t want to give out false hope that everything will be done and dusted by Easter,” he said.

“We understand there are high expectations and excitement at the arrival of a second vaccine. However, it will take time to reach everyone as this is not an instant fix.

“We won’t receive all the doses at once and we have to be realistic about the scale and pace of delivery when we are vaccinating the entire adult population.

“We will not see the impact of the vaccine for some months and the pressure on the NHS will continue during this winter. It is essential that we all continue to play our part and do the right thing to protect each other.”

He also reminded people of the priority list for those to be vaccinated, following calls that teachers and other emergency service staff like police should be higher up on the priority list.

VIRUS SPREADING IN PEMBROKESHIRE

Tina Roberts, Welsh Lib Dem Senedd Candidate for Preseli Pembrokeshire, added: “We know the virus is spreading around Pembrokeshire and we need to ensure that the most vulnerable people and those in front line health and care work get the vaccination as soon as possible. Everything must be done to get the vaccine delivered in Pembrokeshire.”

Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister Andrew RT Davies said: “This is incredible news during an extremely bleak time, especially as we should be enjoying the festive season. It will hopefully be a very happy new year though with this vaccine being a turning point in our fight against Covid-19, with it being able to be transported at fridge temperatures. The Welsh Government will now have no excuse not to roll out vaccinations to the most vulnerable in Wales and can now start catching-up with other parts of the UK in delivering the vaccine.

“The vaccine is one truly made by the UK, with research funded by the UK Government, developed in England and the different aspects of the vaccine being made in North Wales and Scotland.

“With the UK Government investing over £88 million into the development of the vaccine, the UK Government is making sure the vaccine is made available for free across the UK, buying the vaccines for each nation and ensuring every country gets their fair share.

“The vaccine also shows Britain at its best. Not only did people in South Wales come forward to take part in the clinical trial to get this vaccine approved, but AstraZeneca have made it clear they will not seek to make a profit whilst selling the vaccine to developing countries.

“I know many people will want to thank the scientists and everyone involved in making this vaccine and a brighter future possible.”

PRIORITISE CARE HOME RESIDENTS

A social care leader has warned of catastrophic consequences if care home residents are not given “absolute priority” in the roll-out of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.

Mario Kreft MBE, the chair of Care Forum Wales, spoke out because of concerns that the vaccine might be too late in reaching uniquely vulnerable residents at a time when care homes across Wales were at crisis point and the spread of the virus was rampant.

The UK has ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine – enough to vaccinate 50 million people. Wales is part of the UK procurement scheme, meaning it will get a population share of the jab from the UK Government. England’s health secretary, products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK.

Mr Kreft said: “It’s clearly fantastic news that the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine has been approved but it’s vitally important that it is rolled out very quickly because were are now in a desperate race against time, especially since this new super-strain of Covid-19 is so highly infectious and out of control, with community transmission rampant.

“Every care home manager will have everything crossed that the vaccine reaches their residents before the virus. There is great trepidation in the social care sector that it might not come soon enough.

“Residents in all care homes should be given absolute priority – along with the staff who provide care for them. Because of their age and infirmity, our vulnerable residents are uniquely at risk from this deadly virus.

“All residents and staff in care homes need to be vaccinated immediately – even in homes where they have had cases. Wherever they can be vaccinated safely they should be.

“If we fail to urgently protect care home residents we will be faced with catastrophic consequences. This really is a matter of life or death.

“The situation could not be more urgent because this new mutant strain of the virus is even more dangerous because of its frightening ability to spread so quickly .

“In the meantime, I am appealing to people across Wales to adhere to the hugely important safety protocols, including social distancing, wearing masks and frequent handwashing.

“This is a civic responsibility. We will only suppress this virus and get back to some kind of normality when approximately 80 per cent of the population are vaccinated, otherwise we will never get rid of it.

“The sector is facing unprecedented pressure. We are in a perfect storm because of the risk of transmission by asymptomatic staff at a time when many staff are isolating and agency staff are hard to come by to provide cover. Many care homes throughout Wales are at crisis point.

“It may well be that Christmas has turbo charged this virus and the exponential growth of community transmission is the greatest threat of all at the moment and this is something we must suppress, otherwise the vaccine will come too late for many people.

“Everybody in social care have worked unbelievably hard for the past 10 months and now the vaccine is within our grasp – we just need a final push to get over the line.”

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Very pleased that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has been given the go-ahead. Over 25,000 vaccines have already been administered in Wales and this second vaccine will start to be rolled out here in the New Year.”

(Pic: Nicola Drake, an A&E consultant, receives the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine earlier in December 2020)

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Public engagement exercise over new hospital between St Clears and Narberth

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HYWEL DDA is asking the people of Pembrokeshire to help it further shape and deliver future services by taking part in a six-week engagement exercise.

Since the publication of its strategy, A Healthier Mid and West Wales: Our Future Generations Living Well in 2018, the health board has worked with partners to provide care and develop services. However, the coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on health and care services. As a result, the health board now wants to learn from the public about how the pandemic has affected their health and care, and access to it.

This week, Hywel Dda UHB has been distributing a discussion document for the public to consider, along with a questionnaire for completion.

Hywel Dda UHB is also asking for the public’s feedback in relation to its long-term strategy to develop and build a new hospital in the south of the Hywel Dda area, somewhere between and including St Clears, in Carmarthenshire, and Narberth, in Pembrokeshire.

This location is the most central for most of the population in the south of the Hywel Dda area, and it was determined through the public consultation held in 2018.

The public is also being asked to nominate sites for a new hospital based four criteria:

The nominated site must be within the zone between and including St Clears in Carmarthenshire and Narberth in Pembrokeshire. This location is the most central to most of the population in the south of the Hywel Dda area.

The nominated site should be a minimum of 35 acres of reasonably developable land.

The nominated site should have realistic prospects of obtaining planning permission for a new hospital.

There should be appropriate transport infrastructure for a major hospital site.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “The global pandemic has had a major impact on all areas of our lives so it’s crucial that the health board considers, reflects and learns from this extraordinary period. This engagement exercise will allow the public to tell us in their own words how COVID-19 has affected their health and care, and access to it.

“I would encourage as many people as possible to participate because the feedback we receive will play a major role in helping shape future services. This in turn will allow us to deliver on our long-term commitment for a healthier mid and west Wales.

“I would also stress that this engagement exercise is part of an ongoing process. Over the coming months and years, we plan to engage with the public, stakeholders and partners on a wide variety of issues, such as service models. Everyone will have their chance to give their views and opinions because we are committed to continuous engagement with the public to ensure we provide the best possible care.”

The engagement exercise will run until Monday June 21.

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Paul Sartori taking action to support climate with National Lottery grant of nearly £14,000

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LOCAL hospice at home charity, Paul Sartori Hospice at Home, is taking action to support the climate with the installation of solar panels at its main head office in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire.

The charity which delivers end of life care services across Pembrokeshire, has been awarded a grant to fund the purchase and installation of solar panels at Paul Sartori House, Winch Lane. This investment is part of an ongoing commitment to address the climate emergency and the charity joins many others who are taking action. Paul Sartori was one of 35 community groups, who were selected to take part in the Climate Action Boost scheme, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.

Working alongside Renew Wales, a partner in the initiative, the group explored methods to help tackle the causes and consequences of climate change, and to operate more sustainably. A number of options were discussed to reduce their impact on the environment and Renew Wales helped the charity to develop an environmental action plan, which is to be implemented over the coming months. The scheme available to cover a variety of environmental reduction activities, including renewable energy, reducing consumption, local food and reduced or less impactful travel.

Paul Sartori Hospice at Home wouldn’t normally be associated with environmental activity. Through regular consultation over many months, the charity has been really encouraged by what they have learnt.

“We have invested a lot of time in developing the plan; discussed a number of alternatives along the way, but feel that the solar panel installation will have the biggest impact for the charity in the long term”, said Sandra Dade, Charity Manager. “The National Lottery Climate Action Boost has really inspired our charity to minimise our impacton the environment and we will continue this journey,” added Sandra.

Jemma Nurse, Funding Manager at The National Lottery Community Fund said, “The climate emergency is everyone’s business, which is why The National Lottery Community Fund is acting to support and inspire communities to minimise their own impact on the environment. We are proud to be a significant funder of environmental projects and Paul Sartori Hospice at Home, along with the other groups participating in Climate Action Boost, will play a valuable part in building our knowledge so we can share our learning with other funders across Wales and the UK.”

The services provided by the Paul Sartori Hospice at Home enable people in the later stages of any life-limiting illness to be cared for and to die at home with dignity, independence, pain free and surrounded by those they hold most dear, if that is their wish.

All of the services are free of charge, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, thanks to the generosity of the Pembrokeshire Community. Further information on the charity and its services can be obtained by visiting their website www.paulsartori.org, or by phoning 01437 763223.

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New nursing service to support carers of people living with dementia

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HYWEL DDA UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD, in partnership with Dementia UK, is launching a new nursing service to support carers of people living with dementia.

The Admiral Nurse service will be a significant addition to the current support available to people living with dementia and their carers. The initiative is in line with the Dementia Action Plan for Wales 2018-2022, a Welsh Government strategy that aims to recognise the rights of people with dementia, make them feel valued, and help them live as independently as possible in their communities.

The team will cover Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire with a focus on delivering person–centred and relationship-centred dementia care. The Admiral Nurses will work collaboratively in a family-centric manner, across health and social care pathways, to provide support, expert guidance & practical solutions to enable families/carers, including the person living with dementia, to maximise their wellbeing and improve the experience of those affected by dementia.

Dementia UK is the only charity in the UK dedicated to supporting families affected by dementia through dementia specialist Admiral Nurses.  When things get challenging or difficult for people with dementia and their families, Admiral Nurses work alongside them, giving the compassionate one-to-one support, expert guidance and practical solutions that can be difficult to find elsewhere. They are a lifeline, helping families to live more positively with dementia in the present, and to face the challenges of tomorrow with more confidence and less fear.  

The service launched on 29th March 2021 and is now accepting referrals.

Charlotte Duhig, Admiral Nurse Clinical Lead, said: “I am honoured to be leading this new service to support carers and families of people living with dementia across the counties served by Hywel Dda University Health Board. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an incredibly challenging time for people living with dementia and their carers but I’m confident that this much-needed service will make a difference to the lives of those affected by dementia.

“Having previously set up an Admiral Nurse Service, I know the benefit of working as an Admiral Nurse as families can get the emotional and practical support to allow them to plan for the future. Health and social care professionals can also take advantage of our in-depth knowledge of dementia.”

Dr Hilda Hayo, CEO and Chief Admiral Nurse at Dementia UK, says: “We are delighted to announce this new Admiral Nurse service in partnership with Hywel Dda University Health Board. The fact that this service extends to a large rural area within West Wales, with the support of two Welsh-speaking Admiral Nurses, means that we are improving access to dementia specialist support for families.”            

To be able to access this service, the following referral criteria applies:

  • The person being supported/cared for by the carer has a diagnosis (or likely diagnosis) of dementia.
  • The person with dementia and/or carer lives in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion or Pembrokeshire (or is registered with a GP in those areas).
  • The carer agrees to their referral to the Admiral Nurse
  • The carer should have identified need(s) that impact upon their caring role or as a consequence of their caring role*

If you are a health or social care professional or 3rd sector working with someone you believe this service could benefit, or you are a carer of someone living with dementia and would like to be referred to the service, please contact a health or social care professional who can refer you. 

For further information, contact the nursing team direct:

Clinical Lead: Charlotte.Duhig@wales.nhs.uk

Admiral NurseContact detailsLocality covered
Bethan BulmanBethan.Bulman@wales.nhs.ukCeredigion North
Donna Phillips Ceredigion South
Emma VenablesEmma.Venables@wales.nhs.ukPembrokeshire North
Rosie BellRosie.Bell@wales.nhs.ukPembrokeshire South
Siriol DyerSiriol.Dyer2@wales.nhs.ukCarmarthenshire (3Ts)
Liz WrightElizabeth.Wright@wales.nhs.ukCarmarthenshire (Amman Gwendraeth)
Donna OwensDonna.Owens2@wales.nhs.ukCarmarthenshire (Llanelli)
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