PEOPLE in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire are being asked for their views on how support and care for people with, or recovering from, major injuries or major trauma is delivered.

Last year, health boards across Wales, agreed with a recommendation to develop a major trauma network for South and West Wales and South Powys, with a Major Trauma Centre at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff. This followed recommendations by a panel of expert clinicians and a Wales-wide public consultation.

Hywel Dda University Health Board now needs to designate a local Trauma Unit which will provide care for moderate trauma. The proposal is to designate Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen, in the years leading up to the building a new Urgent and Planned Care Hospital in the south of the Hywel Dda area.

This is because it is the closest local hospital to meeting national trauma standards with on-site, on-call for surgical specialties, access to an emergency medicine consultant and paediatrics 24/7, plus 24/7 staffing for theatres and a dedicated trauma and orthopaedic theatre most days of the week.

Current trauma and emergency services at Bronglais Hospital, Aberystwyth, and Withybush Hospital, Haverfordwest, would not be downgraded on the basis of this proposal. They would continue to deal with less severe traumatic injury and retain the ability to stabilise and transfer patients with moderate or severe trauma to Glangwili Hospital, or the Major Trauma Centre, Cardiff.

The health board says it would need to strengthen trauma services at the three hospitals currently providing trauma care.

For example, there would need to be an increase in access to physiotherapy, occupational therapy and rehabilitation consultants and psychologists at Glangwili Hospital, as well as increased operating time. The strategic importance of Bronglais and Withybush hospitals in serving remote and rural populations is also recognised, and there would be a need for 24/7 support response from the national trauma desk, including telemedicine from an expert in acute trauma, a policy to support the hospital teams to be prepared to receive and stabilise major or moderate trauma and ongoing education and training for different professional staff.

The health board has had assurances that Wales Air Ambulance Charity and the consultant-led Emergency Medical Retrieval & Transfer Service (EMRTS or ‘flying medics’) will benefit from becoming 24/7 services, instead of the current 12 hours.

Dr Stuart Gill Anaesthetics Consultant and Major Trauma Clinical Lead for Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “The opportunity for us to designate one of our hospitals as a Trauma Unit and for our acute hospitals to benefit from the support of the trauma network will significantly improve the service for our local patients and provide a greater level of support for doctors, nurses and allied health care professionals.

“Improving timely access to specialist care through the network and expansion of Wales Air Ambulance Charity and EMRTS to 24/7 services will save more lives and improve outcomes for major trauma patients such as less long-term disability, less need for long-term NHS care and more support for patients to be able to return to their lives and work and do the things they love.”

Hywel Dda University Health Board’s Executive Director for Planning, Performance and Commissioning Karen Miles added: “We are looking forward to talking further with our staff and communities about the proposal and to hear people’s views and answer any questions. We are particularly keen to hear about what people feel we need to consider, what good rehabilitation should look like and whether there would be any positive or negative affects to individuals or groups of people from the proposal.”

Further information and an online survey link will be available from a web resource from the launch of six weeks of engagement on Monday June 24, running until Monday August 5. This can be accessed atwww.hywelddahb.wales.nhs.uk/TraumaServices

Alternatively, if you need to contact the health board, you can emailHyweldda.engagement@wales.nhs.uk or phone 01554 899056 (you can leave a message on the answer phone and request a call back so you do not have to pay for the call).

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