Whether it’s enhancing cancer diagnosis, revolutionising the care of mums and newborns, or our state-of-the-art Diagnostic Hub – Cwm Taf is consistently recognised as being at the forefront of innovation in healthcare and has much to offer staff looking to develop their career.
Our university status means we’re always developing innovative service solutions helping us provide high quality, responsive care and services for our community.
Our focus on innovation is renowned across the UK and is frequently highlighted as a draw by medical staff searching for rewarding careers in Wales.
Here we explore the top six innovations which are unique to Cwm Taf.
Cwm Taf is working to enhance diagnostic facilitiesacross Wales thanks to multimillion pound diagnostics hub.
The new facility at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, features an expansion of CT and MRI scanners which will drive significant improvements in diagnosis and treatment, while helping to achieve diagnostic waiting time targets across the health board.
It will also help to improve resilience in relation to the availability of scanners across the region. Thanks to this investment, the hub will deliver on average, an additional 7,232 MRI scans and 6,599 CT scans per year. This will help reduce diagnostic waiting times while providing high-quality imaging capacity in South Wales.
Bonding After Birth Initiative (Babi)
Neonatal care is being revolutionised at Cwm Taf thanks to its innovative Bonding After Birth Initiative (BABI).
The BABI scheme utilises iPad technology to enable mothers, who may be separated from their newborns, to track their progress via a live video stream.
As part of this initiative an iPad is placed in a cart next to the mum, with its corresponding iPad placed next to the baby. This creative use of technology allows new mothers, who would have previously relied on family members to update them on their baby’s progress, to get a first-hand glimpse into their health.
It helps to support vital bonding in the initial stages after birth and allows mums to receive important updates on their baby’s progress.
Cwm Taf is the first health board in Wales to introduce these iPad carts to its neonatal units.
Enhanced cancer diagnosis
Clinicians at Cwm Taf are pioneering world-leading techniques to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
The health board has adopted an approach seen in Denmark where patients who do not have clear symptoms of a specific cancer are offered diagnostic tests within a few days, or sometimes hours of a GP making a referral.
Patients with vague symptoms can also access special one stop shop” diagnostic centres, while other open access centres are able to provide quick tests to confirm symptoms and report back quickly to GPs.
Clinicians in Cwm Taf have already adopted many of the principles of the Danish model including a ‘one stop’ neck lump diagnostic process and direct access to radiology investigation for breast lesions.
The approach is currently being piloted in the Cynon Valley but it is hoped will be rolled our across the health board.
Natural Awakening supporting dementia patients
Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda has introduced a natural awakening time for dementia patients to help introduce beneficial structure and familiarity into their hospital care.
Ward B2 at the facility has championed natural awakening, which it feels supports patients in feeling more at home and less agitated.
The initiative was so successful that it was rolled out to other wards and hospitals to help treat dementia patients.
Experts across Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda stated that a friendly and structured environment, which is similar to a patient’s home life, can ultimately benefit their well-being in hospital.
“People who live with dementia need familiarity and don’t like change. Having a friendly ward environment and a structure put in place that’s as similar to their home life as possible can benefit the patient’s well-being while at hospital enormously”.
The specialist ward has also been redecorated to create a more homely feel, and promote a more calm and comfortable environment. Stimulating activities including music therapy, bingo and reminiscing chats are also carried out through the day, with meals made fresh on the ward to enable patients to eat when they are ready.
Staff on the ward have reported that the enhanced stimulation has had a positive impact on their nutrition and hydration levels.
3D facial reconstruction
One of Prince Charles Hospital’s specialist surgeons is leading the pioneering innovation of facial reconstruction surgery using 3D technology.
Shakir Mustafa, Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, is championing the use of 3D laser engineered implants when carrying out life-changing facial reconstructions.
Mr Mustafa, who has a specialist interest in reconstructive facial surgery using patient-specific solutions, has worked alongside plastic surgeons, restorative dentists and facial surgeons as part of the project.
Mr Mustafa and his team at Cwm Taf UHB have also worked collaboratively with neighbouring health boards across south Wales to revolutionise construction surgeries.
They have developed the use of customised 3D printed titanium plates and implants in conjunction with an engineering company and the academic community, to provide a more patient-specific solution.
Mr Mustafa said this approach results in a high level of accuracy, minimises the room for error, and reduces operating times.
We’re really proud that Cwm Taf’s pathology directorate, based at Royal Glamorgan Hospital, is the only directorate in Wales fully UKAS accredited to ISO15189 standards.
This directorate will also shortly be adopting digital histology which is a truly exciting innovation, changing the way we work. Wales is set to be the first country in the world to go fully digital.