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Ambulances backed up at Withybush, as A&E department swamped

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A 69-YEAR-OLD from Milford Haven who suffers from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) described by her daughter as being ‘unresponsive’ waited over two hours for an ambulance – despite it being urgently ordered by her GP on Tuesday (Nov 19)

Once finally at the hospital, the daughter said, the full scale of the crisis gripping Withybush’s A&E department became apparent – with her mum waiting five hours in an ambulance.

The daughter who does not want to be identified said: “According to a paramedic in the A&E car park, the hospital was so busy that every available ambulance in the Pembrokeshire area was waiting to unload patients, and the ambulance service was only able to respond to Code Red calls.
“One person, the paramedic said, had already passed away that day because he could not get help in time. The paramedic told me that he dreaded the start of each shift, thinking that it was going to be yet another 12 hours of hell.”
“We were well over five hours waiting to get into the hospital – at one point my mum was taken from the ambulance for a chest x-ray only to be returned back to the ambulance after coming back from radiology.
“Once we got into A&E it was utter chaos, people everywhere. I saw seven people or more being treated in communal areas – I saw patients being seen in the hallways to have IV cannulars taken out after bloods.

The woman’s partner confirmed her story, adding that he thought what was going on at the hospital was “unbelievable”.

But after the two hour wait for help, and the five hours in in the back of an ambulance, the worst was not over.

Nurses at that A&E got the patient mixed up with someone else.

Our source said: “My mum is on warfarin, so I found it strange that she had been put on a drip. I asked what was going on, and said my mum’s name and that’s when two nurses look at each other and realised that my mum wasn’t who they thought she was. This was just before they were about stick something in her through a drip.

“A bag was already hooked up… she had no arm band – as soon as they knew it was the wrong patient they took the bag off the drip stand.

“It was definitely a near miss.”

The Health Board has been asked for a comment.

Our report comes just months after the Community Health Council said that more must be done to reduce waiting times at Withybush A&E.
Community Health Council members carried out an unannounced visit over the summer.

A report to the Pembrokeshire locality CHC on August 7 showed an increase in the number of 12 hour breaches – with some staying overnight at the unit – at Withybush A&E since October 2017, with it topping 450 cases in February this year.

Speaking a few months back, Hospital manager Janice Cole-Williams added that there had been increases in the stays in hospital which impacted in the wait for beds from A&E and staff were looking for solutions.

Deputy chief officer of Pembrokeshire CHC Helen Williams said that the report due on the A&E visit, which is yet to be signed off by the executive members, would recommend opening the discharge lounge at the weekend and keeping ambulatory care open seven days a week.

Ms Williams said it would depend on funds and there may be resistance to working weekends but in the “21st Century things don’t shut at 7pm on a Friday night.
“My opinion, not the CHC’s, but I think it should be operational full on 24/7.”

Another recommendation was to improve communication with patients about the length of wait expected and why there may be delays.

“If you keep patients informed, they recognise that the people behind the scenes are busy, it’s the not knowing when they will be seen.”

Local Assembly Member Paul Davies has expressed his disappointment to The Herald that Hywel Dda University Health Board has failed to meet the Welsh Government’s A and E targets.

In October, he said, 81.1% of patients were admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours in urgent care departments. The target to be seen within four hours is 95 percent.

Mr Davies said, “It’s extremely disappointing to see that a significant number of patients living within the Hywel Dda health board region are not being seen within a four hour window. Despite the efforts of our outstanding NHS staff, the management of the health board is presiding over a shortfall in the number of patients being seen within four hours. We must remember that those attending an accident and emergency department are there to receive care as soon as possible and any delays could have severe repercussions on that patient’s health. Therefore, efforts must be redoubled by the health board and the Welsh Government to turn these figures around as soon as possible.”

Health

Proposed locations for new hospital site to be reviewed

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HYWEL DDA UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD (UHB) will this week undertake a review of potential sites as part of the ongoing process to identify a suitable location for a new hospital.

Eleven sites will be assessed on Friday 22 October, including those identified by members of the public during the six-week engagement exercise, which took place earlier this year.

This stage of the process is intended to lead to the creation of a shortlist of sites. This will be subject to further detailed appraisal with significant public and wider stakeholder involvement. The final decision about the chosen site will be made by the health board, in agreement with Welsh Government.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “The building of a new hospital is a major long-term project, which is why we place great emphasis on being open and transparent about the process involved.

“The process we are following includes developing a programme business case to support our strategy for community and hospital-based health and care. As part of the process to apply for funding from the Welsh Government, we will submit the programme business case, and then individual outline business cases, then the final business cases for the new infrastructure we will need. The health board will therefore engage with the public on a regular basis between now and the submission of the final business cases to ensure your views are fully considered.

“I understand and recognise there are passionate feelings about a new hospital, but we strongly believe a new facility is essential for urgent and planned care in the south of the Hywel Dda area. It will provide trauma care and be the main emergency department for the south of our area.

“I can also reassure the public that we have no plans or intention to close either Glangwili or Withybush hospitals. We will engage further on how these hospitals could work alongside the proposed new hospital.”

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Unprecedented demand on health and social care services in local area

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Joint statement by Hywel Dda University Health Board, the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Pembrokeshire County Council, Carmarthenshire County Council and Ceredigion County Council

The urgent statement we have asked to publish is as follows:

THERE is currently an unprecedented demand on health and social care services across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, which is leading to significant delays in care provision. Put simply, the difficulty in discharging medically-fit patients from hospital – many of whom have complex personal circumstances and needs – is leading to significant bed shortages, and consequently, lengthy ambulance waits at the ‘front door’ of A&E departments, which mean that paramedics are unable to respond to other 999 calls in the community.Social care and Health teams are doing everything possible to support people who are well enough to leave hospital but need ongoing care. Priority is being given to the most vulnerable, and alternative health and care packages are being offered as a short-term measure. More carers and health staff are also being recruited to support people in need.

If you have a relative or loved one in hospital who is well enough to go home, but is waiting to be discharged with homecare and community health support, you may be able to help them to get home more quickly if you and your family are in a position to support them at home. If your relative is waiting for a formal package of care, you may be able to offer support and care on a short term, temporary arrangement or you might want to consider whether your loved one could be supported in a temporary residential or nursing care setting. If you feel that this is an option that you could consider, please speak to the ward manager or your social worker to explore further.

Spending as little time in hospital is better for patients and means that NHS beds can be freed up for others with urgent care needs. Supporting older patients to get home from hospital efficiently is an important part of their recovery and it also protects them from negative consequences of hospital admission, such as hospital acquired infection, falls and a loss of independence.  You can find out more about the hospital discharge process and guidance here: Inpatient information – Hywel Dda University Health Board (nhs.wales)

Your support not only helps your loved one, but it is a huge support to the NHS and social care services as well.

Thank you.

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News

Child taken to hospital following collision with car outside school

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AN EARLY morning collision outside Ysgol Harri Tudor school, Pembroke, has seen a child taken to hospital.

The collision happened between a child and a car on Pembroke Road, Pembroke, at approximately 9am this morning.

A secondary school pupil has been taken to hospital via ambulance for what is said to be minor injuries.

Police and ambulance service were on the scene and were helped by school staff to manage the incident.

A police spokesperson said: “Dyfed-Powys Police attended a road traffic collision involving a car and a secondary school pupil this morning, 21st October 2021. The collision occurred on Pembroke Road, Pembroke at approximately 9:00am.

“The Ambulance Service also attended and escorted the teenage boy to hospital with what are believed to be minor injuries.”

A Pembrokeshire County Council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that there has been an incident outside Ysgol Harri Tudur in Pembroke this morning where a pupil came into contact with a car. 

“The police and ambulance have been on the scene and were assisted by school staff. We are not able to release any further details at present.”

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