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Cancer care ‘a top priority’



Improvements expected: Deputy Health Minister, Vaughan Gething

Improvements expected: Deputy Health Minister, Vaughan Gething

MORE PEOPLE are surviving cancer, even though more people in Wales are being diagnosed with the disease, a new report on cancer care published on Wednesday (Jan 14) by the Welsh Government reveals. The third all-Wales annual report for cancer sets out the progress made against the Welsh Government’s Together for Health – Cancer Delivery Plan over the last 12 months and identifies areas for future improvement. The number of people diagnosed with cancer is increasing largely as a result of Wales’ ageing population. Between 1995 and 2011 there were, on average, around 16,400 new cases of cancer every year.

But by 2012, more than 18,000 people were diagnosed with cancer in Wales. The report shows there has been a 25 percent reduction in mortality from cancer between 1995 and 2012 in Wales among people under 75. It also shows that since 1995, there has been a 17.5 percent improvement in the number of people still alive a year after diagnosis, with a 20.1 percent improvement in the number of those still alive five years after diagnosis.

The report acknowledges the Welsh NHS’ performance against the 62-day cancer waiting time target for people newly diagnosed with cancer remains an area for improvement and sets out areas for action for health boards to deliver improvements in waiting times. Deputy Health Minister Vaughan Gething said: “Caring for people with cancer is a top priority for NHS Wales.

Over the coming years, around one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer before age 75 and around four in 10 at some stage during their lifetime. Cancer is a common diagnosis and the incidence is increasing. “Our aim is for the Welsh NHS to provide the highest standard of care for everyone with cancer. There has been considerable progress in cancer care in Wales over the past 12 months. “This report clearly shows that while there are more people are being diagnosed with cancer in Wales each year, death rates are falling.

New and more effective treatments mean that many more people can now expect to live longer after their cancer treatment. “However, the report also sets out the challenges the Welsh NHS faces. We do expect to see improvements over the coming year in the percentage of patients, newly diagnosed with cancer who are treated within 62 days.” Dr Andrew Goodall, chief executive of NHS Wales said: “The Welsh NHS has performed well over the past 12 months and seen progress in many of our performance measures.

This is a tribute to all those involved in the planning and delivery of cancer services, including staff in the NHS and those in other parts of the public sectors. “We must also acknowledge the invaluable work of the community and voluntary sector. We have now established firm foundations for further positive development. “We will continue to track our progress in future years to ensure that we are in a sustainable position to achieve our vision by 2016.”

Macmillan Cancer Support General Manager for Wales Susan Morris said: “Two years following the launch of the Cancer Delivery Plan for Wales there is still some way to go to achieve all of its commitments and ambitions. “It is now imperative that the Welsh Government undertakes a follow up Patient Experience Survey during 2015 to measure from a patients perspective whether progress is being been made. “The Wales Cancer Patient Experience Survey showed that a third of cancer patients (34 per cent) did not have a key worker and only 22 percent were given a written care plan. “It is essential that there is national leadership to oversee the implementation of the Cancer Delivery Plan and that there is better national planning and more consistent and better outcomes for people affected by cancer.

“The Minister for Health is pivotal to ensuring that cancer delivery is joined up to ensure first class cancer services in Wales, which is imperative to secure the best possible outcomes for people affected by cancer.” Clinical lead for cancer Dr Gareth Collier said: “We are grateful to Macmillan Cancer Support for commissioning the Patient Experience Survey as this provides us with a valuable insight from patients receiving care.

“We try to ensure that the patient is at the heart of everything we do at Hywel Dda University Health Board and ensuring they receive the best outcomes and a positive experience is extremely important. We have systems in place to assure ourselves that we are providing for patient’s individual needs and to learn from incidences where we fail to achieve the standards we set for ourselves.

“We are pleased that the report acknowledges high levels of satisfaction with NHS cancer care in Wales and we are looking closely at recommendations for further improvement. We are continuing to work with the National Cancer Networks, including MacMillan and our nurse specialists, to further improve our nurse specialist capacity.

“Taking lessons from the report, we are planning local patient satisfaction surveys and developing patient support groups. We also work very closely with the Community Health Council and patient representatives and an example of this in action is the involvement of the cancer charitable organisations in the planning and delivery of a Chemotherapy Day Unit in Withybush Hospital – a project we have made a clear public commitment to.”

The plans for the chemotherapy unit at Withybush, reveal that the Board is considering ambitious plans to reconfigure the hospital’s top floor to accommodate the new unit, including taking over the existing space at Ward Nine and converting Ward 10 to the day unit, serviced by the existing dedicated lift.

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Pembroke Dock: Two in hospital following Fort Road car accident



EMERGENCY SERVICES dealt with what has been described by a witness as a “horrific car accident” in the Pembroke Dock area on Wednesday night (Jun 12).

A 23-year-old woman, driving a black BMW, travelled down Fort Road at speed, hit a low wall, catapulting the vehicle some considerable distance across a picnic area. The vehicle ended up irreparably damaged on the beach – which was luckily not in use at the time – landing next to the old Cambridge Gun Tower.

No other vehicles seem to have been involved, police said.

The driver has been arrested but remains in hospital, one passenger is in a critical but stable condition, in Cardiff, and a second passenger sustained only minor injuries.

A spokesperson for Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called at 10.45pm on Wednesday night (Jun 23), to reports of a road traffic accident near the Fort Road car park in Pembroke Dock.

“We attended the scene with one rapid response vehicle, two emergency ambulances and our Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service.

“Two people were taken to University Hospital Wales, Cardiff for further treatment.”

The police are appealing in the media for information following the crash.

An official statement from the police reads as follows: “We were called to Fort Road, Pembroke Dock, at around 10.45pm on Wednesday night to reports of a single-vehicle collision. Ambulance and fire service also attended.

“A 19-year-old man was taken to the Heath Hospital in Cardiff and remains in a critical but stable condition.

“A second passenger attended hospital for minor injuries but has since been discharged. A 23-year-old woman was arrested, and currently remains in hospital.

“Anyone who witnessed the collision but who has not yet spoken to us should get in touch by emailing, visiting our website, or calling 101.

UPDATE: 24.06.2021, 15:47HRS

On Thursday (Jun 24) said that the female who was arrested was de-arrested because of the need for medical treatment, and is “no longer under arrest at this time.”

The police also added that their investigation was “still active”.

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Pembrokeshire call handler helps deliver Llanelli couple’s new baby



A 999 CALL HANDLER from Pembrokeshire has helped deliver a Llanelli couple’s baby.

Father-of-two Chris Bassett, from Hook, answered the call from the Trust’s Clinical Contact Centre in Carmarthen, and whose instructions on loudspeaker enabled the pair to deliver their 8lb 1oz new arrival safely.

Thanks to Chris, Troy Smith, 34, and partner Abigail Jones, 33, delivered baby Arabella Dilys Smith in the bedroom of their Llanelli home.

Troy said: “I’ve never felt adrenaline like it but I knew I had to focus on the situation for Abigail and the baby’s sake.

“It all happened so quickly, but Chris’ voice on the other end of the phone kept us calm.”

Abigail, a teacher at Ysgol Carreg Hir in Briton Ferry, went into labour at around 10.00pm on Thursday, June 3, and made a trip to hospital, where nurses confirmed she was in the early stages.

The couple returned to their Pwll home, but their soon-to-be daughter had other ideas.

Troy said: “At around 4.30am, Abigail developed a lot of pain and said she had an urge to push.

“I thought, ‘Right, this is happening’ and phoned an ambulance because I knew I’d be delivering the baby right there and then.”

It was Chris, a former RAF Aerospace Systems Operator, who picked up the call in the early hours of Friday, June 4.

The 29-year-old, who has been with the Welsh Ambulance Service for 18 months, said: “As soon as I answered the call, it was obvious that Troy and Abigail were in distress, as anyone would be in that situation.

“The priority was to get Abigail in a comfortable position to deliver the baby safely.

“For me, it was about giving them clear instructions while trying to keep them both calm.”

Troy added: “I just did what came naturally. When you’re in that situation, you just do it.

“As soon as Arabella came, I felt this wave of relief and I just couldn’t believe how gorgeous she was.

“Chris was so professional and handled the situation really well.

“He gave us all the information and kept us calm.”

Ambulance crews arrived soon after, and took Abigail to Carmarthen’s Glangwili General Hospital, where she was treated for shock before being discharged the following day.

Abigail said: “The whole thing was petrifying because I just never expected to be having the baby at home, but we’re so grateful to Chris for helping us to deliver Arabella safely.”

Chris added: “In your role as a 999 call handler, you’re helping people in their darkest hour, but I’m just glad this call had a happy ending.

“This is the third baby I’ve helped to deliver during my time at the ambulance service, but the first one I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.”

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Covid causes partial school closure at Haverfordwest High VC



A PARTIAL school closure is in force today at Haverfordwest High VC school after a pupil in year 9 has tested positive for coronavirus.

All students in year 9 must stay at home , isolate and await further instruction while the school completes all of the necessary Track and Trace processes.

In a statement released by the school, they said: “We have been informed that a Year 9 pupil has tested positive for COVID-19.

“We wish them a speedy recovery.

“As a precautionary measure and to enable us to complete all of the necessary Track and Trace processes, the school will be closed to Year 9 Pupils today.

“The school remains open to all other year groups.

“Until further notice, Year 9 students should stay at home and isolate until further instructions are given. Lessons for all other year groups will continue as usual. Unless your child is in Year 9 they should attend school.”

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