Please see below for an up to date poster detailing Covid response resources to help with our patients' mental health.
Also, in addition to these, please be aware there is a 'Safe Space Cafe' which will be taking place at Salem Chapel (in Church Village) between 10am and 12, starting after Easter, and this would be ideal for those experiencing anxiousness, loneliness and the vulnerable.
And finally, please note that our Community Co-ordinators are keeping up to date information about local activities on their new facebook page.
Important information for people in groups 1 to 4 who have yet to receive a COVID-19 vaccine appointment
By the end of this week (February 14), we want to have offered a vaccine to all of our top four priority groups.
If you are in the top four groups, by now you should have had your first dose already or have a vaccination appointment in the next couple of days. If not, then you need to contact us.
Firstly, please double check you are in the top four groups (chart below).
Group 4, clinically extremely vulnerable individuals will have received a shielding letter from Wales’ Chief Medical Officer. If you do not have a shielding letter, you are not in group 4.
We are not currently vaccinating groups 5 to 9, so please do not contact us at this stage if you are in those groups.
If you still believe you are in groups 1 to 4 and have had no contact regarding your vaccine then please click on the link below. It will ask you to state which group you are in, and will ask you for your name, date of birth, postcode, contact number, and depending which group you are in, your GP practice and address. Please double check you provide us with the correct details to contact you.
The link below will take you to an external site hosted by our local authority partners.
Please click here -> Priority Group 1-4 Appointment Offer Follow Up – Vaccine Appointments (rctcbc.gov.uk)
Once you have completed and submitted the form you will be contacted within five days.
GP surgeries in the Taff Ely area are now vaccinating priority group 2 - All those 80 years of age and over.
Patients in this cohort will be contacted by their GP practice to book appointments. Due to the extreme demand of the rollout, please do not call the practice to book your vaccine unless the next priority group has been opened and you still haven't received your first dose.
Practices will invite patients to attend for a vaccination.
To keep up to date with information about the vaccination programme across the Cwm Taf Morgannwg area please visit the Cwm Taf Morgannwg website cwmtafmorgannwg.wales
If you have any health concerns over the Christmas period, your local healthcare team are here to help you. Patients are urged to think carefully about which service is right for their needs and access the healthcare appropriate for them.
If you have a minor illness or ailment your local pharmacist may be able to help. Opening times for Pharmacies in our area are available on our website here: https://cwmtafmorgannwg.wales/services/pharmacy-medicines-management/
If you have tooth ache or mouth pain, dentists will be open on regular working days but services may be subject to reduced hours. Emergency arrangements will be in place where practices are closed – please contact your regular dentist to access urgent treatment.
If you do not have a regular dentist and need treatment please contact our emergency lines. Patients living in RCT and Merthyr Tydfil should call 01443 680168/ 01443 680166 and patients in Bridgend can call 111 to access emergency dental treatment.
Dental practices will be closed on weekends and bank holidays. If you need urgent treatment at this time please contact our out of hours service on 0300 123 5060 if you live in RCT or Merthyr Tydfil areas or 111 if you live in the Bridgend area.
Your local opticians can help with eye issues. Please check with them directly for information about opening times. If you require an urgent appointment over the Christmas period, your local opticians who will be able to provide information on services.
GP practices are open as usual on Thursday 24th December. Individual practices can advise patients on their opening times over the Christmas period. The majority of practices will be closed over bank holiday and weekends, including 25th -28th December and 1st January. A small number of practices will be open all day on 28th December – please check your practice website or social media pages for details.
If you do need non-urgent medical advice and your GP surgery is closed, you can access e-Consult (via your practice website or social media sites), visit your community pharmacy or call 111, the new easy to remember shared number for NHS Direct Wales and the GP out-of-hours service or visit the website – www.111.wales.nhs.uk.
In an emergency dial 999
If you have Covid-19 symptoms no matter how mild, please self-isolate and book a test. You can do this online at gov.uk or by telephone by calling 119.
If you require urgent healthcare please advise of your symptoms when contacting us.
We are inviting patients to tell us about pharmacy services in your area. This is to help us plan for services for our patients now and in the future to make sure they meet your needs, using a process called a ‘Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment’.
Your answers will help us identify if there are any service gaps, for example whether a pharmacy (also called a ‘chemist’) is needed in a particular area, or whether more pharmacies need to provide a particular service.
We will also look at the dispensing service that some GP practices provide in rural areas – this service allows GPs to provide the prescribed medicines to people instead of giving them a prescription to take to a pharmacy.
Looking to the future, we will look at what may change over the next five years and whether there will be enough pharmacies in the right places, providing the services that people need as, for example, more houses are built.
Your views are important to us so please spare a few minutes to complete this questionnaire. We estimate it will take you about 10 to 15 minutes to complete.
The questionnaire is anonymous and any information you give will not be linked to you.
If you would like more information about the questionnaire or have questions on how to complete the questionnaire, please contact CTM.PNAqueries@wales.nhs.uk with “PNA questionnaire” in the subject header.
The questionnaire is available in both Welsh and English and can be accessed by clicking on the links below.
Visiting your GP Surgery
It is now compulsory to wear a face covering in shops and public spaces in Wales. This includes your local GP surgery, pharmacy, hospitals and all other health premises.
Everyone over the age of 11 will be required to wear a face covering, with limited exemptions for people with certain disabilities and medical conditions.
There are a large number of queries coming into GP surgeries around exemption certificates for facemasks. Please DO NOT contact your GP Practice for an exemption letter/certificate.
Guidance around wearing face coverings can be found on the Welsh Government website and states:
How can I show that I am not required to wear a face covering?
Whether somebody has a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering will not always be obvious. Disabilities and impairments are not always visible to others, and respect and understanding should be shown to those who have good reasons not to wear face coverings.
We advise people to carry information if possible which demonstrates why they have a reasonable excuse (for example a prescription or evidence such as a hospital appointment letter relating to a medical condition). A number of organisations such as transport operators have created cards that can be downloaded from their websites and printed.
Sufferers of certain conditions can download a face covering exemption card or badge from the below specialist sites:
British Lung Foundation
Please remember, if you or anyone you live with has symptoms of Coronavirus you should book a test online via www.gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-covid-19-test or telephone 119
You should only be tested if you CURRENTLY have Coronavirus symptoms:
- A new, continuous cough
- High temperature
- Loss/change of taste/smell
A new temporary testing centre is opening in Porth, Rhondda Cynon Taf this week. The testing centre is available for residents living anywhere in Rhondda Cynon Taf. Test bookings need to be made in advance via this link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/get-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/
A number of frequently asked questions have been developed in partnership with RCT Council – in relation to the testing facility an what to expect from the testing process: https://www.rctcbc.gov.uk/EN/Newsroom/PressReleases/2020/TemporaryTestingFacilityPorthFrequentlyAskedQuestions.aspx
Please only book an appointment if you are showing signs of Coronavirus symptoms:
The Staying Well at Work project have just launched a series of live webinars on health and well-being in the work place. Here's a bit more about the work they do:
The Staying Well at Work project is led by Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, is part funded by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government, and aims to provide support to small businesses and their employees.
The support is offered at no cost, and focussed on a bespoke range of products to improve employee Health and Wellbeing and businesses to manage employees with disabilities/work limiting health conditions.
Services we offer include; coaching, counselling, physiotherapy, occupational health advice, health surveillance checks, specialist business and people support.
For more information regarding European Funding please visit : www.gov.wales/eu-funds
What problems can we help with?
Staying Well at Work specialises in designing and delivering services including consultancy, training and clinical support. Our proactive and integrated approach supports the prevention and management of physical ill health, mental health, rehabilitation and long term conditions. We provide clinical support for people to improve their daily functioning and symptom management so that they can return to or continue to work.
The service offers direct access to specialist support at no cost in the following areas:
What problems can’t we help with?
We cannot provide the service to individuals who:
How to access the service?
You can self-refer without seeing a GP first.
You are advised to telephone the Staying Well at Work Centre. The center is open Monday to Friday 9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
You will be asked to complete a self-referral form prior to attending an appointment. Self-referral forms are available at the GP practice or alternatively can be sent out via post or email.
Telephone: 01443 827317
Website: Staying Well at Work
Young people and their parents and carers have described a family wellbeing course as ‘comforting and reassuring’ during difficult times.
The Families 2gether 4 Wellbeing course, run by wellbeing charity Valleys Steps, is a free course designed for young people, aged 14-18, accompanied by their parent or carer.
Developed last year through a partnership with Cwm Taf Morgannwg’s Taff Ely Primary Care Cluster, the course aims to provide a range of ideas and practical steps to improve mental health and wellbeing. Practical techniques such as mindfulness and stress management are taught over six weeks by a Valleys Steps practitioner.
The course was developed after GPs in the Taff Ely Primary Care Cluster noticed an increase in the numbers of young people coming to them with anxiety, stress and finding they were unable to cope with some everyday situations. Valleys Steps was asked to develop a course that would meet the needs of teenagers and developed the course with input from pupils and staff at local schools in the area.
Dr Ian Morris, a GP at Old School Surgery in Pontyclun, said: “Mental health and wellbeing are such important areas to address in the modern world. Work, school, exams and the everyday stresses and strains of being a teenager can impact on family life and we increasingly see evidence of this in our surgeries. As a cluster we asked Valleys Steps to develop a family project to promote wellbeing for young people and the result is this fantastic course that is already helping families in the Taff Ely area.”
Initially developed as eight face-to-face sessions, the course was adapted to six sessions, delivered online, due to the pandemic.
Despite the changes, the course has been given a 100% approval rate by the families who have taken part, with every participant saying they would recommend the course to other families. One parent who attended with their teenager said: “I really found this course helpful. It was really positive to participate with my teenage daughter as a team. My daughter and I both took a lot of good tips and advice from the course. It was also comforting to see other parents in similar situations.”
Research suggests that over time mindfulness brings about long term changes in mood and levels of happiness. Mindfulness can help prevent or reduce depression and can help when stress and anxiety issues arise.
Clare McRobbie, Wellbeing Course Practitioner for Valleys Steps and a former teacher, developed and delivered the course. She said:
“The Mindfulness and Wellbeing course was developed for parents and young people to learn together in a way that felt invitational and gently encouraged them to use the mindfulness and stress reduction techniques, taught in the weekly sessions to reduce stress and anxiety.
“I really enjoyed teaching this course and felt that the group grew in confidence each week in a safe and nurturing environment with lots of different learning activities to keep young people and their parents engaged. I look forward to our next course starting.”
The next course, starting on September 17, is now open for registration. The course is free for young people aged 14 to 18 and their parent or carer. Participants must live in the Taff Ely area of RCT or be registered with a Taff Ely GP practice.
Please contact Valleys Steps on email@example.com or call 01443 803048 to register or for further information.
For further information on health and wellbeing services and other cluster initiatives in the Taff Ely area visit www.taffelycluster.com