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Self isolation period to reduce from 10 to 7 days in Wales following review

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THE WELSH GOVERNMENT have issued a formal three week review update on the coronavirus situation in Wales, announcing some changes.

Formally the regulations require a review ever 21 days, however recently the Welsh Government have been doing more frequent reviews. Today’s statement appears in line with the three weekly legal review period.

The update has come via a lengthy statement from First Minister, Mark Drakeford MS, which in summary notes:

  • Self isolation period to reduce from 10 to 7 days on basis of two negative lateral flow tests taken on days six and seven
  • ‘marked increase’ in covid, attributed to Omicron
  • Case rate increasing in older people
  • Hospitalisations remain low ‘but are starting to increase’
  • Covid bed occupancy ‘has grown by a third over Christmas period’
  • Wales has ‘not seen a rise in the number of Covid-19 patients needing critical care’
  • Wales has ‘significant stock’ of lateral flow tests ‘sufficient’ for needs
  • 4,000,000 more being loaned to England to help shortages, taking total loaned to 10,000,000 in ‘mutual’ aid
  • Supply of such tests ‘responsibility of UK Government’ pointing to deliver and issues finding any at pharmacies.

The full statement from the First Minister is below:

“Since the last formal review of the regulations, the Cabinet has moved to a weekly review in response to the rapidly evolving public health situation and the emergence of the omicron variant.
Today, a review has taken place of the public health situation over the Christmas period. It has deteriorated in the last week as the omicron wave has arrived. We have seen a marked rise in cases of coronavirus – the majority are likely to be caused by the omicron variant.
This is similar to the position in the rest of the UK.
Over the last few days, record numbers of infections have been identified and the overall seven-day case rate has risen to more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 people across Wales.
Cases are highest among 20 to 29-year-olds and 30 to 39-year-olds. We are also starting to see the cases rates increase in the older age groups.
Hospitalisations remain lower than in previous waves, but these too are starting to increase. The overall Covid-19 bed occupancy has grown by a third over the Christmas period. This is a combination of both omicron and delta cases.
The number of confirmed Covid-19 patients in hospital has also increased to 446 on 29 December. This is 49% higher than the same day last week. We have not seen a rise in the number of Covid-19 patients needing critical care.
Enormous efforts have been made to provide booster vaccines to all eligible adults in the run-up to Christmas – almost 1.6m people have received a booster.
The concentrated attention on vaccination has also led to increases in the number of people coming forward for first and second vaccinations in December. It is never too late to be vaccinated in Wales.
I want to place on record my thanks to all those who have given up their time this Christmas to help protect others, and to all those people, in every part of Wales who have made coming forward for vaccination their priority too.
If you have not yet had your booster please make it a priority. It is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself against this awful virus.
Demand for PCR tests and for lateral flow devices continues to rise and has reached new record levels. Wales has a significant stock of lateral flow tests, sufficient to meet our needs over the weeks ahead.
The Health Minister has agreed today to loan a further four million such tests to the English NHS, bringing that mutual aid to 10 million lateral flow tests.
Distribution of lateral flow test kits through home delivery and pharmacies remains the responsibility of the UK Government and we are working with it, as it increases the capacity of the system.
Wales moved to alert level two on Boxing Day. The public health situation remains very volatile and the Christmas period is always one when collecting and analysing data is challenging.
Against this background, the outcome of the review is that we will continue with the current arrangements for alert level two protections in Wales, while continuing to closely monitor the situation.
The Health Minister published a written statement on 23 December about reducing the self-isolation period from 10 to seven days, on the basis of two negative lateral flow tests taken on days six and seven, from 5 January.
We will introduce this change tomorrow (31 December).
This means people who have tested positive for Covid-19 must self-isolate for seven days. On days six and seven of their self-isolation period they should take lateral flow tests and if these tests – taken 24 hours apart – are positive, they should continue to self-isolate.
We are bringing the change forward because the balance of harms has changed and the rising number of cases has begun to have an impact on the number of people, in critical jobs, who are excluded from the workplace because of self-isolation.
The Cabinet will continue to review the position in Wales on a weekly basis, as we see the omicron variant take hold across Wales. Given the seriousness of the threat the virus poses, it remains vitally important that each one of us continues to take all those simple precautions which will help to slow down the spread of the virus and the risks it poses to all of us.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should Members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns I would be happy to do so.”
Commenting on the changes to the Labour Welsh Government’s isolation rules, Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister, Russell George MS, said: “Along with the Health Minister, I extend our enormous gratitude to all the NHS professionals and volunteers who have spent the Christmas period looking after us in hospital, and keeping the vaccine programme rolling out. Your dedication and commitment will not be forgotten.
“We welcome the changes announced today that sees the self-isolation reduced by three days to enable those critical workers, to keep the economy turning and to maintain staff levels in the NHS. It is a shame that the Labour Government rejected this change last week but at least they have seen the evidence and changed their minds.
“However, the Labour Government needs to lead by example and publish the evidence they are receiving before making decisions, so that we can thoroughly scrutinise their actions. It is not good enough that they want to impose restrictions, which do not make sense, without showing us this crucial evidence to justify them.”

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Health

Tragic baby Callum’s death was due to ‘acute and severe loss of blood’

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AN INQUEST into the death of a newborn baby from Haverfordwest has determined the cause of death as shock due to an ‘acute and severe loss of blood’.

The inquest into Callum Ragan James’ death on May 5, 2016 was heard at County Hall over a two day period.

Senior Coroner for Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire Paul Bennett offered his condolences to Callum’s parents Mr and Mrs James from Haverfordwest.

He said: “I cannot imagine how distressed Mr and Mrs James felt when their son did not survive.

“This has been a very difficult inquest to hear. I would like to pay tribute to Mr and Mrs James in their fortitude of this case.”

The inquest heard how on May 5, Ellie James went from Withybush Hospital over to Glangwili Hospital after it was established she was in the early stages of labour, where she was met by midwife Ebba Lewis.

Mrs James was taken to a midwifery led unit at the hospital and was offered the use of a  birthing pool.

It was from there that complications became apparent after a large amount of blood was seen within the pool.

It was decided that Mrs James would be taken to a bed and transferred to the labour-led ward, where there are consultants available. 

Mrs James’ labour was progressing at a speed which thwarted attempts to transport her to the labour-led unit and she gave birth in the midwifery ward.

Mr Bennett confirmed that Callum was born at 11.08pm and at 11.34pm and steps were taken to get his lungs working and circulation started, but efforts to resuscitate him were abandoned at 11.34pm.

Mrs James questioned the judgement of whether she was giving birth in the appropriate ward, due to complications with her first pregnancy, and said she was assured she would give birth to Callum in a labour-led unit.

Mrs James also questioned her own judgement on whether abdominal pain she had experienced earlier in the labour played a part in the fate of Callum.

Family counsel Jodie Kembery, asked whether Mrs Lewis was aware of the pain that Mrs Lewis was experiencing and whether she should have in fact been transferred to the labour-led unit instead.

Giving evidence at the inquest, midwife Mrs Lewis said: “No, because she was not deemed as high risk [on arrival to Glangwili]. There were no signs of deviation from the normal, so she was classed as low risk.

“We asked how she is feeling. I do not recall specifically asking about the abdominal pain.

Mrs Leeves, the senior midwife on duty and who assisted Mrs Lewis with Callum’s delivery was also called upon to give evidence.

Speaking on the delivery, Ms Leeves told the inquest: “I entered, and Mrs James was on the bed with there being concern about blood loss in the pool. I looked at it and was concerned, but Mrs James remained stable so our main objective was to transfer her [to the labour-led ward] to listen to Callum’s heart.”

The speed in which the delivery progressed, halted all plans to transfer Mrs James upstairs to the labour-led unit.

She added: “We felt it was not appropriate to transfer Mrs James to the labour ward.

“There were strong urges to push, which is normal, and we felt there was no time.”

Mrs James told the inquest: “When Callum was born, I was ecstatic. To me he looked perfect. It was not until I saw the midwife’s face that I knew something was not right.”

Dr Patrick Forbes, Consultant Obstetrics and gynaecologist agreed that the decisions that the midwife made that day were right.

Dr Forbes also wrote two reports on the case.

He said: “It was absolutely correct to take Mrs James out the pool and I agree entirely that the appropriate action is to move the patient to the labour ward. However, one of the things I would dread in that situation is getting into the lift and the baby appearing.”

“Mrs James did not identify to be considered high risk in the second pregnancy,” said Dr Forbes, “which meant it was suitable, if she agreed, for delivery in the midwifery unit. It was appropriate for her to stay on the MLU at Glangwili when she arrived.

“The descriptions by Mrs Ebba and Ms Leaves are much in line with standard practice.”

Concluding the case, Coroner Paul Bennett said: “Callum died as a result of hypovolemic shock brought about by an acute and severe loss of blood which occurred during the course of his delivery at Glangwili Hospital on May 5, 2016.”

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Health

5* rating for Pembrokeshire’s Bluestone as thousands plan wellness breaks to beat the winter blues

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ONE of Pembrokeshire’s short break destinations is celebrating a five-star rating for its luxury spa as more than two million people living in the UK plan a wellness break.

Bluestone National Park Resort, near Narberth has been awarded a 5* Bubble Rating for its Well Spa Retreat from The Good Spa Guide. It comes after the spa was revealed as ESPA’s Flagship Wales Spa of 2021.

Figures reveal more than two million UK residents plan to book a wellness break to escape the winter blues, according to travel association ABTA.

The Good Spa Guide awarded the Well Spa the accolade for its wide range of treatments, its Thermal Suite of saunas and steam rooms, high quality staff and spa therapists, food, changing facilities and more.

It followed a “mystery visit” by the guide’s spa experts. They look for standards of facilities, cleanliness, customer service and the range of treatments, created in-house, including the use of handcrafted hot stones made from actual bluestones.

The Well Spa Retreat sits within the centre in the heart of a private village within the 500-acre resort near Narberth. It’s surrounded by luxury lodges, cottages, and apartments in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, renowned for its natural beauty and tranquillity.

“We’re really happy to have been awarded five bubbles stars from The Good Spa Guide. The guide is one of the UK’s leading authorities on spas and to know we’re among the best in the country is recognition of our team and the high standards and customer service we always strive to attain,” said Samantha Hewer, Manager of The Well Spa.

“Many of our guests at Bluestone book into the spa because they want to enhance their wellbeing. Whether it’s one of our unique treatments, designed by us, or relaxing in one of our brick saunas or one of our herbal steam rooms. Combining the spa with their short-break stay, or by experiencing one of our spa breaks, is a great way of relaxing and recharging the batteries.”

According to The Good Spa Guide: “Five bubble spas will give you the whole package; an uninterrupted spa journey, tip top treatments, first rate facilities and fabulous customer service. They may have a wider choice or facilities or cutting-edge treatments. Be prepared for a slice of spa luxury.”

It adds: It’s all about expectation and promise fulfilment: As long as a spa does what it says it does well, we’re happy Spa Spies.”

The Well Spa is about to launch a new range of treatments in the spring. Samantha added: “We’re keeping tight lipped about our new treatments for the Spring, needless to say our guests, old and new, will enjoy the new range and they’ll be getting five-star treatment with it.”

The Well Spa Retreat is offering a range of health and wellbeing breaks. These include the Spa Escape Break which includes staying in a luxury studio apartment within the resort’s private village where guests can explore the 500-acre resort, as well as enjoying dining at one of the many eateries.

They can even have an invigorating splash into the Blue Lagoon Waterpark or take to the woods for a range of Steep Ravine activities and much more.

The break includes a one-night stay, a 60-minute treatment per adult (over 18 years), and a one-hour visit to the Thermal Suite per adult. Prices start at £214 based on two people staying on 1st February 2022.

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Same Day Urgent Care at Cardigan Integrated Care Centre

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CARDIGAN’S Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) and Same Day Urgent Care service (SDUC) will once again open for walk-in appointments this weekend (22/23 January 2022) after providing care and treatment for nearly 30 patients who would otherwise have gone to A&E or their GP.

As part of a new trial to help relieve pressures on our hospital A&E departments, the nurse-led services – which are based in Cardigan Integrated Care Centre – opened for weekend walk-ins without prior appointment between 15 and 16 January, with our staff seeing and treating a number of patients over the two days.

The services are led by Advanced Nurse Practitioners who can assess, diagnose and treat walk-in patients who are then able to return home the same day, with a plan of care involving referrals to other services if necessary.

Our hospitals are currently dealing with unprecedented demand, which is leading to significant delays in care provision and long waits in A&E. If you have a condition which could be seen and treated at Cardigan’s Integrated Care Centre, we would strongly encourage you to attend as you can be seen more quickly, as well as helping to relieve pressure on the hospital system.

The type of conditions our Advanced Nurse Practitioners can see and treat include:

  • Chest Infections
  • Wound Infections
  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Tonsillitis / sore throat
  • Ear Infections
  • Minor Chest/Hip/Pelvic/Back injuries – Patient must be able to mobilise
  • Minor Head Injury
  • Non-cardiac chest pain
  • Skin complaints including rashes, infections, and sunburn
  • Sprains, strains & soft tissue injuries
  • Hay fever, Mild allergic reactions
  • Minor injuries – cuts, wounds
  • Minor eye injuries, complaints and irritations requiring irrigation, and Chemical eye injury
  • Emergency contraception
  • Suspected fractures and injuries to knee, lower leg, ankle, and feet
  • Suspected fractures and injuries to arms
  • Animal, insect, or human bites
  • Minor burns & scalds
  • Removal of foreign bodies from eyes, ears, nose & skin

In patient feedback given to our nurses over the weekend of 15 and 16 January, all patients agreed or strongly agreed that staff had explained the service; that they were satisfied with their treatment plan, and that they had the opportunity to raise questions or concerns.

Patients also reported feeling more confident about managing their symptoms and being satisfied with the service to the point of recommending it to others. 

Sian Lewis, Clinical Lead Nurse for Ceredigion Community, said: “Our Advanced Nurses were really pleased to be able to see and treat so many patients last weekend – particularly given that many of them would have otherwise faced long waits in A&E for the type of conditions that our teams here are well equipped to deal with.

“Please give us a call, or come down to the Integrated Care Centre in Cardigan if you need care and you think we can help – you don’t need an appointment, we can provide a quick service and you can be on your way home on the same day with a care plan if you need it.”

Cardigan Integrated Care Centre is located at Rhodfa’r Felin, Cardigan SA43 1JX. If you would like to speak with a triage nurse at the centre first to discuss your condition, please call 01239 803 075. 

If you have a more urgent care need or in a medical emergency, please dial 999.

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