Save Sam’s Ward

After the fabulous finale in Barrybados it’s time to say so long to Pride Season by releasing the Rainbow and polishing up a very different type of placard.

On Saturday I am double busy at my first proper Protest March for ages as I step out with community campaigners fighting to save the award-winning Sam Davies Ward at Barry Hospital.

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board want to close the ward as part of a wider reorganisation but UNISON Cymru Wales have accused them of a “complete failure” to properly engage with staff, and the local community.

They are fighting the proposed closure, are clear in stressing that people rely on local and easily accessible public services. And can’t understand why the Health Board “thinks it’s acceptable to close the Sam Davies Ward and force patients to travel to health services based at Llandough or the Heath Hospital.”

Feelings are also running high in the community with more than 6000 people already supporting a petition to save the Sam Davies Ward.

Some even claim that patients from Barry and the rural Vale could be forced to travel out of the town for “step-down” care.

The Health Board deny this and says it wants to get patients home sooner as even short stays in hospital with reduced mobility can lead to muscle wastage, especially among elderly and frail people

In my view, it’s vital we keep our local community services, especially if they help patients’ well-being. I like this holistic approach that considers the person not just their illness – never mind the absolute double whammy nightmare of traffic and parking at places like The Heath.

To be honest, I’m really looking forward to strutting the streets again. As many of you know I’m not backward in coming forward to stand up for what I believe in

Giving something back to the community that has given me so much is hugely important to me too.

Just this last year or so, I have boxed clever for The Gloves Are On Campaign – see what I did there.

The Gobaith (Barri) Suicide Support Centre Sponsored Hike saw me stagger up Pen y Fan…at pace too! Believe me that was no mean feat as this ex (ish!) smoker probably has more tar in her lungs than the M4.

I have also, purely in the interests of community of course, sampled the delights of ‘Donna’s Daytime Disaster’ at our Keep Cadstock Alive Campaign HQ, The Butterfly Collector.

Well, you need something to oil the brain cells while you’re planning tactics don’t you so it would rude not too. Thanks to my fellow ‘The Jam’ fan Gareth for being the hostess with mostest – and for having the best named place in town.

How many flippin’ proud protest Pride Marches have I been on too – less than the amount of Rainbow whistles there are in the world – but much, much more than there are unicorns.

And, as always I’ll be rocking with Rhys, my ever gorgeous Gig Girls, and my fellow marvellous music lovers at the annual Neil Lewis Fundraiser the night before the Protest.

Then it’s time to show my very visible support to another cracking community cause.

Named after a well-known local GP, the late Sam Davies, the Ward is a 23 bedded older persons acute rehabilitation ward. The services include stroke, orthopaedic, and medical rehabilitation amongst other key health services. It also has two respite beds.

In one of those bizarre twists of life, Sam’s widow was herself on the Ward as a patient when she developed Alzheimer’s. Their daughter Sian Maguire described her care as “fantastic.” 

She told me that, “as has been said time and time again,” having the Ward in Barry meant that local friends were able to pop in and see Mum, which probably wouldn’t have happened if she’d been in a Cardiff hospital. This was such a comfort to Sian and the wider family who no longer live in the area.

Surely we can’t risk vulnerable and elderly patients feeling isolated and lonely away from their loved ones can we – what does that say about us as a caring community?

I The Save the Sam Davies Ward March, organised by UNISON, takes place on Saturday October 5 starting at the Barry Hospital entrance, marching to King Square by 12am with a Rally at 1.

My good self, Sam’s Family, and half of Barry will be there.

Come join us.

Speak soon.

SVJ

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.

She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.

Click here to see more of her news, views, campaigns, community causes, social action stories, blogs and bright ideas, from our town – and around.

And please feel free to join the conversation – everyone is welcome to get involved.