Extra paramedics will help reduce intake at Neath Port Talbot Hospital
A MASSIVE publicity campaign will be launched to explain the changes at Neath Port Talbot Hospital.
Health chiefs want to get the message out to the county's 130,000 residents — and that will involve distributing leaflets to some 40,000 households as well as putting up posters in NHS buildings.
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board has also revealed a team of "super- paramedics" will be recruited and that should reduce the number of people needing admission to hospital.
The board revealed is bringing forward the withdrawal of emergency medical services from Neath Port Talbot to next week.
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From midnight next Tuesday, 999 medical admissions and GP referrals there will cease, with patients taken to hospitals in Swansea or Bridgend instead.
An expanded clinical decision unit at Morriston Hospital will be available from next Wednesday, as will 22 beds at Ward 6 in Singleton and 10 beds in Ward 20 at Princess of Wales in Bridgend.
These beds, along with nursing staff moving from Neath Port Talbot Hospital, will accommodate Neath Port Talbot acute medical patients.
Two wards are being kept at Neath Port Talbot for them to move to once their initial acute care in the other hospitals is completed.
A team of nurses will visit the wards in Swansea and Bridgend daily to identify those who are well enough to transfer.
This will involve a bespoke transport system using non-emergency ambulances, with agreement now reached between ABM and the Wales Ambulance Service.
An ABM spokeswoman said: "More ambulances are being made available specifically for discharges and transfers.
"In addition a new advanced paramedic practitioner service is being set up at Neath Port Talbot Hospital.
"These highly-skilled paramedics have additional diagnostic and treatment skills and will be able to safely deal directly with a high proportion of patients without them even needing to come to hospital.
"Where advanced paramedic practitioners have been used elsewhere in the NHS, the numbers of patients coming to hospital have been halved.
"The additional ambulance transport will be place in time for the urgent service change at Neath Port Talbot Hospital, with the advanced paramedic practitioner team arriving shortly afterwards once the recruitment process is complete."
Meanwhile, she said, ABM would be working very hard to communicate the changes to patients, the public and staff.
She added: "Leaflets will be sent to households in the Neath Port Talbot area as soon as possible.
"Information will be available in GP surgeries and other local NHS buildings, and on our network of hospital information screens."
It's also available at www.abm.wales.nhs.uk.