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Welsh health news - March 2002

5 July 2005 - 9:10am

Time running out for air ambulance and other stories...

Friday 01.03.02 WESTERN MAIL

Time running out for Air Ambulance Time is running out for the Wales Air Ambulance with just five months left to find funding to keep it airborne.  In its first 12 months it has flown 350 life saving missions but a private sponsor has not been found to replace the AA.

Live longer, live in Monmouthshire If you want the longest life in Wales, be born in Monmouthshire says a report published today.  The rural county has the highest life expectancy.  Not surprisingly the lowest life expectancy is to be found in the valleys.  Blaenau Gwent and Rhondda Cynon Taff being the worst.

Constituent scandal Reports on a potential health scandal involving the Health Minister Jane Hutt AM.  It concerns her alleged intervention with a local NHS Trust on behalf of one of her constituents.

Focus on overseas recruits Profiles GP Om Aggarwal who has been a practising GP in Cardiff for 26 years.  The article highlights the growing numbers of staff being recruited into Wales from abroad.


Car parking hike in prices Reports that parking charges at Cardiff's University Hospital if Wales are expected to rise again – almost doubling the cost of a space in six years.  It costs more to park t UHW than anywhere else in Wales.  The rise has been slammed by the CHC.

Sunday 03.03.02 WALES ON SUNDAY

Waiting lists rise Reports that waiting lists continue to rise.  The number of people waiting for in-patient treatment has risen by 1,147.  However, the numbers waiting for a first out-patient appointment has fallen.

The cost of delayed transfers Reports on a 'bed blocking' crisis costing the NHS in Wales a staggering £42m a year.  Assembly statistics say that between January and December last year the number of 'delayed transfers of care' patients in Welsh hospitals rose from 789 to 814.

Monday 04.03.02 WESTERN MAIL

Pro-life group raises concern Reports that the first public advertisements for the morning after pill are due to appear in magazines aimed at young women.  The pro-life group 'Life' has raised concerns.

Constituent row continues The row over the Health Minister's involvement in the care of a constituent continues.  She may face calls for her resignation if it is shown that she tried to influence doctors' decisions at the hospital.  Opposition parties are demanding she publish all correspondence between her department and the local NHS Trust in the row over waiting lists for colostomy patients.

Relatives demand answers Angry relatives are demanding an explanation from West Wales General Hospital where they claim the hospital staff left a blind 84 year old man in a corner to die.


Appointment blunder A Cardiff woman has been given a consultant appointment at the UHW, three months after she died.  Her devastated husband is demanding an apology from the hospital and an assurance that nobody else goes through the same heartache.

New surgery unit opens Reports on the opening of a massive new surgery centre at the University Hospital of Wales, which is hoped, will see an extra 3,000 operations per year.

St David's Hospital open St David's Community Hospital in Cardiff is now open for business.  Patients from Lansdowne Hospital and the Royal Hamadryad are to be moved there.

Tuesday 05.03.02 WESTERN MAIL

High Court action Three women from Wales are among seven lead claimants who have begun a High Court action against the manufacturers of a contraceptive pill.


Court case for North Wales GP A North Wales GP charged with indecently assaulting 17 female patients at his practice described the allegations against him as 'absolutely ridiculous' during the case at Chester Crown Court.

Wednesday 06.03.02 SOUTH WALES ECHO

Sister retires after 40 years Profiles Sister Mona James a children's nurse who is retiring after 40 years of working on the children's ward at UHW.

New ambulance station for Merthyr Health Minister Jane Hutt AM opened a new ambulance station in Merthyr Tydfil.  The new station is the result of a two-year campaign by Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney AM Huw Lewis.


Carlile report is published Reports on the outcomes of the Carlile Review of safeguards for children cared for by the NHS published today.  The report makes 150 recommendations.

Friday 07.03.02 WESTERN MAIL

Good news on meningitis Reports on the announcement of a major breakthrough in the search for a vaccine against the deadly B strain of meningitis.


Op gives young girl lease of life Features a 10-year-old girl who is now able to walk and ride a bicycle thanks to a revolutionary operation at Oswestry Hospital to make corrections to her spine.  The girl was born with cerebral palsy and the article highlights how her young life revolved around physiotherapy.

Politicians demand answers Both Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives are demanding answers from the Health Minister in the wake of the row over treatment of a patient in her Vale of Glamorgan constituency.

Friday 08.03.02 WESTERN MAIL

Women in society On International Women's Day an article on Society focuses on the fact that women drink and smoke more now than ever before.


Rising demands on the health service Figures released today show evidence of the rising demands on the NHS in Wales.  IN just five years the numbers of new patients attending hospital clinics has increased 6% to nearly 700,000 a year.  The NHS now employs 55,700 people – a rise of 4% in the past five years.

Saturday 09.03.02 WESTERN MAIL

Call for urgent review of complaints procedure Patient groups have called for an urgent review of the NHS complaints procedure after it took a 10 year legal battle for a women to receive compensation for a medical blender that left her brain damaged and paralysed.

Monday 11.03.02 SOUTH WALES ECHO

Hospitals full – without flu Reports that hospitals across South Wales are near to bursting point with emergency patients despite having no winter flu epidemic to cope with.


BMA warning The number of family doctors under 40 has fallen by a quarter in the past five years, sparking fears of a massive shortage of GPs in some of Wales' most deprived areas.  Whilst the number of young people entering primary care has gone down more doctors have been reaching retirement age.  There are 140 GP vacancies currently.

People still ignorant about meningitis Research commissioned by the Meningitis Trust has revealed that despite extensive campaigning in recent years 28% of people are still unable to spot the common symptoms of the disease.


Minister aims to shift away from 'sick service' Welsh Health Minister, Jane Hutt, has admitted that it could be 10 years before the country's health services improve.  She told the reporter that part of the problem is that Wales has poor health and that there needs to be a shift away from being the 'sick man of Europe' to improving health as well as improving the NHS.


Research into prostate cancer The biggest ever investigation into prostate cancer is being launched in Cardiff.  More than 25,000 men will be taking part in the £1m study aimed at improving treatment of the disease.

Wednesday 13.03.02 WESTERN MAIL

CMOs report published The Chief Medical Officer's report is published today.  Key findings show life expectancy of 74.8 years for men and 79.7 for women up from 72.9 and 78.5 in 1990.  However highest life expectancy is found in rural and coastal Ceredigion and lowest in Merthyr Tydfil.

Site for new hospital The site of the closed down Ebbw Vale Steelworks could be considered as a location for Blaenau Gwent's new community hospital.

Work begins on Wales' children's hospital A historic moment has been recorded as work begins on the site of the new children's hospital for Wales.  Next month Ian Botham will attempt to raise half a million pounds for the Noah's Ark Appeal when he walks from Machynlleth to Cardiff.

Care homes heading for meltdown Reports that care home services are heading for meltdown in the crisis which could damage the NHS in Wales.  According to Assembly statistics, the number of available private nursing home and hospital beds dipped by 13% between 1997 and 2000.  Separate figures show that 27% or 6,000 NHS beds in Wales have been lost in the last decade.


New advocate in Wales for CF Health focus meets Janet Rogers who has just been appointed as cystic fibrosis advocate for Wales by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.  Janet has suffered with CF since childhood.

State of the nation's health Also reports on the state of the nation's health – the annual report from the Chief Medical Officer Dr Ruth Hall.

Inquiry launched An enquiry has been launched into the care provided by 10 old people's homes in South Wales, announced by Health Minister Jane Hutt AM.  The investigation followed concerns about Hazelcroft Residential Home in Fairwater.

Thursday 14.03.02 WESTERN MAIL

Stress worries Stress and worry resulting form prolonged and regular periods of waiting is exerting a devastating toll on many people a psychologist has warned.  In new research, seven out of ten people in Cardiff admit feeling stressed by everyday waits like cancelled trains and delayed buses.

Meningitis charity hits back A Welsh meningitis charity has hit out at statistics published this week that revealed that Welsh people were still ignorant of the common symptoms of the disease.

Six weeks free home care to start Vulnerable people who need care after being in hospital re to benefit from six weeks free home care in a bid to combat bed blocking.

Wasted food – wasted money Wasted food in Welsh hospitals is costing the NHS nearly £1m a year according to a new report from the Audit Commission.  The NHS in Wales produces in excess of 16 meals a year but according to the commission, half of our hospitals are wasting 10% or more of the meals they produce.

Money promised to crisis hit care homes Health Minister Jane Hutt AM reported at Committee that more money would go to the crisis hit care home sector as three more homes announced they are to close with the loss of 80 beds.  Also, a strategy group is to be set up to map out a 10-year plan for the sector.  Care homes are facing a crisis because they have to comply with new legislation coming into force on 1 April, which will substantially increase their costs.


More on 6 weeks free home care Reports on the announcement by Jane Hutt AM that a £3m package will go to local authorities to pay for six weeks of free home care for elderly patients following their discharge from hospital.

Inquiry welcomed Opposition parties have welcomed the launch of a National Assembly investigation into 10 care homes in South Wales.  The investigation will look at arrangements between Hafod Housing Association and Cardiff City Council.

Friday 15.03.02 WESTERN MAIL

Complaints procedure debated Plans to speed up the NHS complaints system and make it more independent were debated in the National Assembly's plenary session.  The Assembly is piloting patient support officers and advocates in a bid to improve the system.  Plaid Cymru and Tory calls for CHCs to be given an enhanced role in the complaints system were voted down.  The Minister, Jane Hutt AM, said they were unnecessary as action was being addressed under a new NHS (Wales) Bill.

Wales' poor neurological services Wales has the worst provision of neurological services in Europe it has been revealed.  The Association of British Neurologists' report revealed that service provision across Europe is up to 30 times better.  In Britain as a whole the average provision is one neurologist to 177,000 people.  In some parts of Wales it is one to 290,000.

Saturday 16.03.02 WESTERN MAIL

Fringe meeting for Arthritis Care and the CSP Small reference to the fringe meeting being put on at the Plaid Cymru Conference in Swansea by Arthritis Care and the CSP.

Swansea hospital has largest wait Doctors have launched a bitter attack on the National Assembly after it was revealed that Morriston Hospital in Swansea has the longest waiting time at the burns and plastic surgery centre in the developed world.


NICE announcement Reports that a drug, which prolongs the life of women with a certain type of breast cancer, has been given the green light for availability on the NHS from NICE.

Tory's launch battle van Health has become the key political battleground in Wales as the Welsh Conservatives unveiled an ad-van outside the Assembly declaring their campaign slogan: Putting Patient Care First.

Union boss to retire Reports that Welsh union boss, Derek Gregory, is to retire.  The union has denied there was any link between Mr Gregory's decision to retire and the bullying case brought against him earlier this year.

Monday 18.03.02 SOUTH WALES ECHO

Extra funding to ease pressure on beds A new drive has been launched to cut the numbers of patients taking up hospital beds.  An extra £7m is being handed to local councils to provide increased care packages.  The new cash is on top of £5m that has already been allocated by the National Assembly to help tackle problems.  In Cardiff and the Vale NHS Trust there are currently 100 patients taking up beds because a programme of care or home help is not in place.

Mental health teams including physios developed Also notes that in Cardiff and the Vale NHS Trust 58 patients with mental health problems are taking up beds while they await transfer to the community.  In a bid to reduce the problem, the Trust has created a special team of health workers – including nurses and physiotherapist who pay house calls on potential patient who would otherwise be admitted to hospital.


School term time contracts introduced Nurses in North Wales are being offered jobs based around school terms in a bid to avert a staffing crisis.  Hospitals are offering contracts, which include school holidays as they try to fill dozens of vacancies.

'Gagging' Underfire council bosses have gagged staff working at care homes threatened with closure.


Ticking time bomb Reports that a quarter of nurses in Wales are close to retirement.  The NHS is facing a nursing recruitment timebomb, a survey by the RCN has revealed.

Wednesday 20.03.02 WESTERN MAIL

Shortage of SALTS Children with communication problems are being denied vital help because of chronic shortage of speech and language therapists.  The RCSLT estimates there is a shortage of between 2,500 to 3,000 therapists.

Clinical negligence claims rise Clinical negligence claims against the NHS are rocketing and there was a warning that near-tripling insurance premiums are hitting patient care budgets.


Profile on Consultant nurse Health focus meets new Consultant Nurse Simon O'Donovan from Cardiff and the Vale NHS Trust.

Experts gather on smoking cessation Experts from around the world gather in Cardiff for a day on smoking cessation.  Sonja Edwards, the first smoking cessation counselor funded by the NHS, based at Llandough Hospital in Cardiff will address the meeting.

Thursday 21.03.02 WESTERN MAIL Midwife crisis warning Almost 50 midwifery posts are currently unfilled in Wales.  The RCM are warning of a major crisis.

Dentist crisis warning Wales is facing a huge shortage of young dentists and the Assembly is being urged to act.  A spokesperson for the Assembly said they would be putting in measures to address the problems.

Trying to train as a midwife Further coverage of the difficulty for people to train as midwives.

New voice for complaints Health Minister Jane Hutt has launched a new network of patient support and advocacy services.  There are to be 8 pilot projects across Wales.  6 will be patient support schemes and 2 are complaint advocacy schemes.

New information on Arthritis Arthritis Care, the leading UK-wide voluntary organisation has published new information booklets for patients.


Public urged to have their say on the NHS A search has been launched to find 400 people in Cardiff who are keen to help improve local health services.  The project is being organised by the Cardiff Local Health group.

Saturday 23.03.02 DAILY POST

NICE gives ruling on anti – TNF drugs NICE have ruled that two key treatments for rheumatoid arthritis should be available on the NHS.


CSP and Arthritis Care fringe meeting at the Wales Labour Party Spring Conference Small piece saying that the CSP and Arthritis Care are holding a fringe meeting with Ann Jones AM as chair.

Minister urges children to consider a career in the NHS Jane Hutt AM launches a new video to encourage school children to consider a career in the NHS.

Staff complain to the minister Staff at Ystrad Mynach Hospital have complained to Jane Hutt AM about proposed changes to their working practice to be imposed by Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust.

NHS in Wales is running out of consultants The National Assembly is thinking of recruiting medical consultants from overseas as the NHS in Wales faces yet another staffing crisis.

Monday 25.03.02 SOUTH WALES ECHO

No overnight achievements Jane Hutt, speaking at the Wales Labour Party Spring Conference, warned that improvements in the Welsh NHS cannot be achieved overnight but she had already implemented measures to speed up reform and deliver better services for patients.


End of post code lottery for rheumatology patients Reports on the decision by NICE that anti TNF treatment must be available on the NHS.  (Coincided well with the spring conference fringe meeting put on by Arthritis Care and the CSP)

ME sufferers benefit from a special diet workshop A special diet developed by a mother from Bridgend is helping more than 100 people combat ME.

Minister misses deadline Reports that heart patients are still dying while waiting for surgery despite an Assembly cash injection of £30m.

Tuesday 26.03.02 WESTERN MAIL

Palliative Medicine Unit opened The Minister has opened a new unit for palliative medicine at Velindre hospital in Cardiff.  She also announced that a strategy for palliative care was being developed.

Wales lagging behind in treating strokes A report by a medical data company in collaboration with the Stroke Association has found that Wales has insufficient specialist units to deal with disability which affects 8,500 new victims a year.

Wednesday 27.03.02 WESTERN MAIL

Minister on Finnish Visit The health minister has gone on a two-day visit to Finland to see how they have tackled coronary heart disease.


Focus on Arthritis Health focus features patient Nancy Nicholas who has waited to see a Consultant Rheumatologist for 18 months.  The article highlights the lack of a multi-disciplinary team at the UHW.  The peer review carried out recently commented that the lack of arthritis physiotherapists was 'embarrassing'.

Thursday 28.03.02 DAILY POST

Plaid Cymru attacks The health service was labelled a 'national disgrace' by shadow Health Minister Dr Dai Lloyd AM after another devastating rise in waiting lists.

Assembly urged to act in Powys Unions have demanded guarantees that the National Assembly will foot the bill to bring pay for staff in Powys back to national standards.  Half the nurses in Powys are being paid up to £3,000 a year less than their colleagues who remained on national terms and conditions.

Saturday 30.03.02 WESTERN MAIL

Patients will have to travel further Patients in Wales will have to travel further for treatment because of a shortage of hospital consultants warns John Osbourne, an ear nose and throat specialist at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.

Car parking anger An article and the editorial discuss the yawning divide in car-parking charges at hospitals in Wales.  Unions and patients groups both angry over car parking charge rises at the UHW.


Complaint lodged with the ombudsman A patients' watchdog has complained to the Health Ombudsman after a woman with a brain haemorrhage was sent home because doctors thought she had been drinking.



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