Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport, Vaughan Gething, visited the health board several times during August to find out more about the services we provide and also to speak to staff.

A ‘Cabinet Connect’ session was held on August 9th at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital which provided the opportunity for Mr Gething to speak with and listen to staff about health services.

Whilst at the hospital, Mr Gething was shown how work is progressing with the Diagnostics Hub and he also visited the Ambulatory Emergency Care Unit (AECU) to talk to staff about the service.

He then travelled to Ysbyty Cwm Cynon to meet the Specialist Dementia Team.

The team is the first of its kind in Wales to provide an alternative to medication, working closely with the person and their relatives. They are also helping care home staff to increase their knowledge and confidence in being able to understand and manage challenging behaviours relating to stress and distress.

Fiona Senior, clinical psychologist, said:  “To offer a service without medication is amazing.”

Mr Gething said: “I have had the great pleasure of meeting many frontline health employees during visits across Wales.

“Visiting their place of work gives me a real idea of the challenges their particular Health Board faces.

“It was good to see first-hand how Cwm Taf University Health Board is implementing innovative systems and treatments to improve services for patients.”

A few days later, Mr Gething visited Tirion Birth Centre at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital.  Opened in May 2016, the centre (an Alongside Midwifery Unit) has been successfully supporting pregnant women who are healthy and suitable for midwifery-led care.  The name was  chosen by service users and means ‘gentle’ in Welsh,

The team all have the same passion for normal birth and a holistic approach to care, providing aromatherapy and massage for pain relief.

Centre lead, Kay Williams said: “All the midwives working in Tirion Birth Centre aim to give women and their families a positive birth experience by creating a calm and relaxed atmosphere.

“A home from home experience is what we aim for.

“Mr Gething sat on one of our bean bags during his visit chatting to a patient who had just arrived about her antenatal care, and also as to why she had chosen to come to Tirion Birth Centre.”

Of the 327 women who have given birth in the centre, around 85% used the pool to birth their babies and around 97% used the pool at some stage to help manage their pain in labour.

Speaking after the visit, Mr Gething said: “As a father who has benefitted from similar services in the last few years, I was really pleased to have had the opportunity to visit the birth centre and meet the dedicated staff who work there.

“I am extremely proud of the work of midwives in Wales and how they lead the way in ensuring a positive birth experience for women and families.

“The naming of the unit by women and families as Tirion, meaning ‘gentle’, perfectly expresses the calm environment I saw there, a haven for families and normal birth.”

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