This column was published on the Llanelli Star on 13rd January 2016
The funny thing about people in Llanelli is that they don’t like to blow their own trumpet.
We don’t like to show-off.
As I walked around the new emergency unit at Prince Philip Hospital last week, with Health Minister Mark drakeford, there was definite pride amongst the nurses and the Doctors who had worked hard to come up with a new model of A&E. But it was almost as an aside that they mentioned that this new unit was being talked about as the future model to be copied across the whole of the UK.
If we were Americans we’d be shouting from the rooftops that our town was leading the way!
When it opens on February 22nd the new ‘front of house’ facility (which is a bit confusing as it’s actually round the back of the hospital!) will streamline the way patients coming to A&E are treated. Instead of going through a pecking order of Doctors before treatment - as is traditional in casualty departments - people will be assessed as soon as they arrive and dealt first time by the right person in the right place.
Patients arriving by ambulance will have a dedicated entrance and a dedicated team using state of the art facilities. People walking into A&E will be assessed by a GP or experienced enhanced nurse practitioner and treated according to their needs.
If patients come in with conditions that need highly specialised treatment – like acute abdominal pain – they’ll be rushed to the nearest specialist centre where experts will treat them. Likewise sick children will be treated in the closest specialist hospital.
The change at Prince Philip hasn’t been easy, but the thing that has impressed me most is how campaigners and protesters have been willing to roll their sleeves up and get involved in finding a way forward.
When it’s fully operational in the middle of May Llanelli should be a bit more American, and shout from the rooftops about the innovation we started.
Lee Waters is Welsh Labour’s Assembly candidate for Llanelli