Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

Health

Wales to loan four million lateral flow tests to England due to supply shortage

Published

on

THE WELSH GOVERNMENT is to loan four million lateral flow tests to the NHS in England due to a shortage in supplies.
Record numbers of Covid infections, driven by the Omicron variant have led to a surge in demand for the rapid self-test kits.

People are also being encouraged to use LFD’s before attending gatherings or meeting vulnerable relatives.

The test kits have repeatedly been unavailable on the UK government website over the last few days and many pharmacies are struggling to secure stocks of them.

Demand for the tests has been compounded by a change in quarantine rules that allows people in England to come out of self-isolation after seven days instead of 10, as long as they carry out two negative lateral flow tests. In Wales that change comes into effect on Friday, 31 December.

In a letter to MPs, UK government Health Minister Sajid Javid said the supply of lateral flow tests (LFD) was being tripled in January and February from a pre-Omicron plan of 100 million to 300 million per month.
“To respond to anticipated demand over the coming few weeks we are buying hundreds of millions more LFD tests, bringing new products on board and accelerating their deployment to the public,” he said.

But “in light of the huge demand for LFDs seen over the last three weeks, we expect to need to constrain the system at certain points over the next two weeks to manage supply over the course of each day, with new tranches of supply released regularly throughout each day.”

Four million LFD’s will now be loaned to England that is in addition to 6 million which were loaned earlier in the pandemic.

In a statement, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “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.”

PCR tests – which are used to confirm new cases of Covid – have also been unavailable in many parts of England for the last two days, it has led to large queues forming at the Deeside Industrial Estate testing site.

Continue Reading

Health

Omicron ‘challenging all parts of healthcare provision’

Published

on

THE INCREASING challenge on healthcare from the Omicron variant is currently affecting all parts of healthcare, including GP, dental, pharmacy and optometry provision, Hywel Dda health board has said in its latest press release.

GP Practices across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire remain under considerable pressure and as a result, more appointments may be offered over the telephone or online.

The board is giving the following advice to service users: “If you are asked to attend the surgery in person, please do so alone unless you need assistance, and remember to wear a face mask.

“Most Practices have online systems, such as E-Consult or Ask My GP, to allow patients to ask a non-urgent question about their health. Please see your Practice’s website for more information.

“My Health Online remains an online 24/7 option for ordering repeat medication; designed for patient convenience and especially useful for those who are self-isolating or shielding. Patients can register for this through their GP practice. Please allow extra time when ordering prescriptions.

“Telephone triage systems are in place in the majority of surgeries to ensure that a patient speaks to a clinical member of staff about their health.

“If a patient needs to be seen in person, the surgery will make an appointment with the most appropriate healthcare professional for their needs.

“Due to staffing issues we have also seen in recent weeks an impact on service pressures in community pharmacies, dentists and optometrists. We continue to work with all of our Primary Care services to make sure that we are able to provide timely and appropriate care but ask that patience and kindness is shown to staff as they are working very hard to try to deliver the services that patients can normally expect to receive from them. 

“Services may vary depending on individual dental practice circumstances, please ensure that you contact your practice who will be able to advise appropriately.

“You may find that you have to wait a little longer than normal to receive your prescribed medication and we would ask that you allow seven days for any repeat medication.”

Jill Paterson, Director of Primary Care, Community and Long Term Care for Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “We wish to reassure patients that GP services are still available to you. When you contact your practice, you will speak to the most appropriate person for your condition and if you need to be seen in person, you will be given an appointment at the practice.

“It may take longer than normal to get through on the phone and you may wish to contact your doctor’s surgery online, if possible.

“We have had reports of verbal abuse targeted at Primary Care staff and this will not be tolerated; please remember they are working very hard to help their patients and we thank you for your patience at this time.

“Many conditions can be treated over the phone with advice and if required, a prescription can be issued to your nominated pharmacy. Please do not put off seeking treatment.

“Pharmacies offer a wide range of services including treatment for minor ailments. Please be aware that pharmacies are also operating at capacity and you may have to wait longer than usual.”

Responding to the latest Welsh Government press conference and the announcement of additional funding towards easing winter pressures, Darren Hughes, director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, said:

“We welcome the announcement of further funding to support health and care organisations during a time of unprecedented pressures.

“The issues in social care have not gone away but have been exacerbated by the latest wave of the virus. Health and care services continue to work together in innovative ways to both help prevent hospital admissions and support the discharge of as many medically fit patients as is possible, given the constraints.

“It’s important we recognise that all parts of the system are experiencing extreme levels of demand at a time of record high staff absences: not just in our hospitals but in GP surgeries, pharmacies and the community, too. Although Covid hospitalisations aren’t at the highest they’ve been throughout the pandemic, in part thanks to the vaccination programme, GPs are absorbing much of this demand as many patients turn to them for support with Covid symptoms.

“The coming weeks will be some of the most challenging in the NHS’ history as it seeks to absorb the pressure of the Omicron wave amid huge demand and the challenge of significant staff absences.

“This is why the NHS needs you to access services in the right place at the right time, to make sure emergency health services are available for those who need life-saving care.”

Continue Reading

Health

Omicron peak could come in ‘the next 10 to 14 days’ in Wales

Published

on

THE FIRST MINISTER Mark Drakeford has said he is ‘hopeful’ figures in Wales could start to reduce from around two weeks’ time.

The comments came during the live briefing held yesterday lunchtime in Cardiff, with the First Minister referring to modelling several times and comparing it to what has been recorded in firm figures.

The First Minister said of the above slide, “It shows you how the modelling that we’ve had done for us here in Wales shows how the Omicron wave wave is expected to behave. The blue line shows how cases are predicted to grow over the coming weeks. The black line shows the actual confirmed cases.

“As you can see, the actual cases are following very closely the predicted wave, and what the wave shows is the speed at which the Omicron wave will break over us and then how cases decline at a relatively rapid rate as well.

“Now we haven’t reached the peak of that wave yet, it could be within the next 10 to 14 days. But we will get to the top of the wave and then hopefully we will see the numbers reducing again here in Wales.

“The latest figures show that there are more than 2300 cases per 100,000 people across Wales. Cases are highest amongst 20- to 39-year-olds but we are also now seeing rises in older age groups. As community transmission increases rapidly, while the figures are clearly concerning, they are in line with what the modelling forecasts told us.”

“Every close contact is an opportunity for it to spread.”

Data was also released on the number of people to being admitted to hospital with coronavirus, “The latest figures show that there are now a total of 994, just under 1000, COVID-19 patients in our hospitals in Wales and that is a 43% increase on a single week and that number is the highest we have seen in Welsh hospitals since March of last year”.

“There are now around 40 people are so ill in hospital that they have to receive critical care and the majority of those people are people who have not been vaccinated. Very sadly since just the start of this year, public health Wales has reported 38 New deaths from coronavirus.”

When asked about reversing restrictions, and what timeframes could be involved, the First Minister said, “As people will have seen from the model that we showed earlier, the position over the next 10 days to two weeks is not going to be one that is easing.

“The numbers are likely to continue to rise. So it will not be until we have past the peak of infections and we are sure that we can see the pressures on the spread of this virus in the community are beginning to reduce, and will then take a while as it always does to feed through into reducing pressure on health services, hospital services, critical care services.

“So I don’t anticipate that over the next fortnight we will be in a position to move away from the level of restrictions we currently have in place. But, we will track it every day. We will review it every week. And when we see that corner being turned and we can see the number as we hope coming down reasonably rapidly. That will be the point at which we will be able to assess when it is safe to begin to lift the extra restrictions and protections we put in place so far.”

Continue Reading

Health

Most stupid and inappropriate calls to the Welsh Ambulance Service revealed

Published

on

THE WELSH AMBULANCE SERVICE has revealed the most inappropriate calls made to 999 in the past year.

Among them was someone who had eaten a mouldy tomato and someone who had got their plaster cast wet.

One person with an earring lodged inside their ear asked for a “lift” to the Emergency Department, while another dialled 999 for a papercut.

Of the 470,653 incidents recorded by the service in the last 12 months, nearly a quarter were non-essential, including someone with diarrhoea and someone enquiring about their medication.

In the face of unprecedented demand, the ambulance service is reminding people only to call 999 in a serious or life-threatening emergency.

Chief Executive Jason Killens said: “Our ambulance service exists to help people who are seriously ill or injured, or where there is an immediate threat to their life.

“That’s people who’ve stopped breathing, people with chest pain or breathing difficulties, loss of consciousness, choking, severe allergic reactions, catastrophic bleeding or someone who is having a stroke.

“People with something stuck in their ear still have a clinical need, but calling 999 for that is ill-judged when there are so many other ways to access more appropriate help.

“Non-essential calls represent nearly a quarter of our total 999 calls, and time spent dealing with these could be time spent helping someone in a life or death situation.”

As Covid-19 tightens is grip, the Trust is asking the public to think about the many alternatives to 999.

Director of Operations Lee Brooks said: “Winter is traditionally our busiest period, and we also have a global pandemic to contend with.

“It’s easy to make fun of the people who call 999 foolishly, but actually, these people do have a legitimate clinical need – they just don’t know where to turn for it.

“We’re asking the public to educate themselves on the NHS services available in their area, of which there are many.

“The symptom checkers on the NHS 111 Wales website are a good place to start for advice and information, or you could phone 111 to speak to a nurse or health information advisor.

“Also think about your local pharmacist, dentist and optician, as well as your minor injuries unit and GP.

“Also ensure you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet for things which can be treated at home, like coughs and colds, sore throats and grazed knees.

“Every single one of us has a responsibility to use NHS services wisely and protect them for those who need them most.

“Help us to help you, and think twice before you call 999.”

Examples
The following are real 999 calls made to the Welsh Ambulance Service in the past year –

Call 1
Caller: Basically, I had a piercing a few weeks ago in my ear. Everything’s been fine but last night I woke up and the piercing had gone. I can’t find the piercing and it feels like it might be in my ear drum.
Operator: Right, OK.
Caller: Normally I would go to A&E myself but I don’t actually have any money. A lift to A&E would be amazing.

Call 2
Caller: My neighbour came here and she gave me a sandwich, cheese and tomato. Anyway, I feel quite sick now. I looked at the tomatoes and there’s mildew on them.
Operator: OK, is that why you’re requiring an ambulance?

Call 3
Caller: I was mucking about with my plaster cast and it’s coming apart. I don’t know whether to get a taxi or an ambulance.
Operator: From the information you’ve given, you require a more detailed assessment by a nurse. An ambulance will not be sent at this time.
Caller: Oh, you’re joking. Are you being serious?
Operator: We’re extremely busy at the moment.
Caller: I’ll get a taxi.

Call 4
Caller: I cut my arm, my arm’s cut.
Operator: How did you do that?
Caller: I sliced it on a piece of paper.
Operator: When did this happen?
Caller: About half an hour ago.
Operator: Is there any serious bleeding?
Caller: No.

Call 5
Operator: Tell me exactly what’s happened.
Caller: Basically, my mum drank apple vinegar but mixed it with water and lemon. Now she has diarrhoea.

Call 6
Caller: Oh, hi there. Basically, I’ve got my hand in a cast. It’s been in there for three weeks and I’ve got it wet.
Operator: OK.
Caller: It’s not an actual emergency, I just need to get to hospital.

Call 7
Caller: What it is, right, I’ve got different medication and I don’t know whether I can take these or not now.
Operator: What’s your telephone number?
Caller: I don’t want an ambulance, I just don’t know if I can take my meds or not.

Continue Reading

News16 hours ago

Fishguard RNLI launch to attend injured fisherman 13 miles offshore

FISHGUARD’s RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat launched early on Monday (Jan 17), with a full volunteer crew, to rendezvous with an Irish...

News21 hours ago

Brains’ £100 million sell-off plan includes local pubs in Pembrokeshire

SA BRAINs is close to completing a £100m deal which will see the sale of 100 Wales pubs, including Pembrokeshire...

News4 days ago

Haines appears at crown court for the second time accused of the murder of Lily Sullivan

A MAN charged with the murder of Lily Sullivan on December 17, has appeared at Swansea Crown Court this morning...

News4 days ago

First Minister of Wales to set out plans to ease restrictions

MARK DRAKEFORD, First Minister of Wales, will today (Friday) set out how Wales plans to move back to alert level...

News4 days ago

Police launch appeal following allegation of rape in Milford Haven

DYFED POWYS POLICE has confirmed that it is investigating an allegation of rape in the Milford Haven area on Monday,...

News5 days ago

Officers competence questioned over Council Chief’s pay-off

AUDIT WALES published its long-awaited report on the departure of former Council CEO Ian Westley on Thursday (January 13). Audit...

Health5 days ago

Omicron ‘challenging all parts of healthcare provision’

THE INCREASING challenge on healthcare from the Omicron variant is currently affecting all parts of healthcare, including GP, dental, pharmacy...

News5 days ago

Inquest into death of Lily Sullivan opened and adjourned by coroner

THE LIFELESS body of 18-year-old Lily Ann Sullivan was discovered in the Mill Pond, Pembroke, just a week before Christmas....

Community6 days ago

Sky Cinema original ‘Save The Cinema’ filmed in Carmarthen to hit local screen

CARMARTHENSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has annonuced that it has secured a two-week showing of Sky Cinema original movie Save The Cinema...

News6 days ago

Homeless man threatened to slit the throats of Haverfordwest Job Centre staff

A HOMELESS man who threatened to slit the throats of staff working at the Haverfordwest Job Centre and hurl a...

Popular This Week