Written by Gavin on 30th September 2020
Temporary service restrictions to be put in place at Royal Glamorgan Hospital as part of strong action to respond to COVID-19 outbreak
Significant temporary service restrictions will be put in place at Royal Glamorgan Hospital from 14.00 Wednesday September 30th as increased action is taken to contain a COVID-19 outbreak within the hospital.
Teams have been working at pace to implement robust measures to manage the outbreak, however additional cases linked to transmission within the hospital have been confirmed in recent days with the number of cases currently standing at 82.
Given the extent of this outbreak, and on advice of Public Health Wales, the Health Board is taking a number of urgent and significant actions to ensure the safety of our staff, patients and communities.
· The temporary suspension of planned surgery at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital (with the exception of a very small number of urgent cancer cases which have been clinically prioritised);
· Any adult patient requiring an emergency admission following assessment who would normally be admitted to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital will be taken to either Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil, or the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff;
· The Emergency Department at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital will remain open for walk-in patients and those who can be treated in ambulatory care department (i.e. an area in the Emergency Department at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital);
· Welsh Ambulance Service (999) patients (excluding children) will be diverted temporarily to alternative sites, namely Princess of Wales Hospital Bridgend, Prince Charles Hospital Merthyr Tydfil and University Hospital of Wales Cardiff;
· There will be no change to the self-contained paediatric wards at Royal Glamorgan Hospital, they will remain open;
· The Tirion Birthing Centre, which has been temporarily closed during the pandemic, is due to re-open on October 5th . We are currently working with the clinical teams to review that this can go ahead in light of the current situation at Royal Glamorgan Hospital;
· We are working closely with Public Health Wales to increase the capacity and speed of testing and results for both patients and staff.
These changes will be reviewed on a daily basis and decisions to re-start emergency admissions at Royal Glamorgan Hospital will be made in conjunction with Public Health Wales.
Paul Mears, CEO of Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, said: “We recognise the concern that these temporary changes will cause and would like to assure our patients and communities that managing this outbreak is our key priority.
“Our teams continue to work to take all necessary measures to achieve this and we have taken range of swift and decisive actions to try to manage this outbreak which include immediate closure of affected wards, risk assessments of affected and at-risk wards, reviews of infection prevention and control measures and their implementation, increased testing of healthcare staff and testing of all hospital admissions.
“These decisions have not been taken lightly, and we understand that they will impact our patients, their families, our staff and partner organisations. However, the safety of our patients and staff is of the utmost importance and we believe this is the right course of action, based on the professional advice given to us.
“It’s important to state that Royal Glamorgan Hospital is still open for patients requiring emergency department services, although we would encourage everyone at this time to consider where alternative services can provide the care suitable for their needs such as the NHS 111 Wales website, minor injury units and GP services. Details can be found on our website.
“We will provide further advice and guidance within the next 24 hours and will continue to communicate widely with our communities, patients, stakeholders and colleagues to ensure everyone is aware of the temporary changes and what this means for accessing services at Royal Glamorgan Hospital.
“We remain grateful to all members of our community who are continuing to adhere to the guidance in order to help control the spread of this virus by wearing of facemasks, washing hands regularly and maintaining a 2m distance between people.”
Responding to the news that a major Covid-19 outbreak has occurred at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, Member of Senedd Mick Antoniw and Member of Parliament Alex Davies-Jones said:
“We are extremely concerned by this major covid-19 outbreak at our local hospital.
“It is absolutely right that Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board has suspended all but the most urgent surgeries at the Royal Glamorgan until the situation is resolved.
“Sadly, this outbreak is a reflection of the increase in Covid-19 infections in Rhondda Cynon Taf generally and we understand that local people will be very concerned about this development.
“We are seeking an urgent meeting with the Health Board to discuss its plan to stabilise the situation and to ensure that the impact on those who were scheduled to have surgery and other treatments is minimised.”
Plaid Cymru Rhondda MS, Leanne Wood said,
“This is deeply concerning news, as is the rise in infection figures for the Royal Glamorgan. I know many people who have been waiting for medical procedures who have already had them cancelled – and so this news is going to provide for great anxiety for many people.
“I have many questions about this – how can extra capacity be organised quickly to make sure area are kept covid free, enabling elective work to continue? Can unused capacity – like for example the empty wards at Ysbyty George Thomas be utilised to help this situation? And can this be done quickly so that there is as little further disruption to people’s lives?
“Are there improvements that can be made in terms of regularly testing of all staff as well as patients – those with symptoms and without, as has been done in care homes for some time?
“Losing access to our A&E will mean people will have to travel further and this will be a cause of concern too – as was seen in the recent successful campaign to save it. We need to get the situation at our hospital under control and all the stops need to be pulled out to get there, so these measures are in place for as short a time as possible.
“I feel for the all of the staff who are already tired out after a gruelling Spring and early Summer – that after dealing with the closure threat and now this. They deserve all the protections that can be provided. I will be asking questions and raising these issues with the minister and the health board today.”
Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Health, Andrew RT Davies MS, said:
“This is very concerning particularly as many of the additional cases are linked to transmission within the hospital, and so questions over processes and protocols must be asked.
“However, on the face of it, the situation at the Royal Glamorgan seems like the spike in infections at Wrexham Maelor Hospital in July. At the time, the Health Minister admitted that the situation could have been managed better. We had hoped that lessons would have been learnt, but it appears they were not.
“The Welsh-labour Led Government must ensure all avenues are explored including the activation of field hospitals and use of ‘Covid-light’ hospitals in the region to help alleviate pressure at Royal Glamorgan, and to protect patients and staff.”