Coleg Gwent supports Public Health Wales AAA Screening Initiative in Ebbw Vale

This August, Coleg Gwent is proud to be supporting Public Health Wales with a targeted health care initiative in Ebbw Vale to deliver accessible AAA screening to the local community at Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone.  

Offered to 65-year-old men living in Wales, the Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening Programme has been impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic. Screening was paused between March and August 2020 due to the pandemic, and since August 2020, staff from Public Health Wales have been working hard to restart the screening programme. 

However, there is a backlog of men waiting to be offered appointments and a reduction in clinic space available in the local area. So, to help Public Health Wales with their mission to screen men aged 65 and over, Coleg Gwent has offered their premises at Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone in Ebbw Vale as a base for the screening service. 

As a further education college which trains the next generation of health care workers, Coleg Gwent has worked closely with the local Aneurin Bevan University Health Board to support them during the COVID 19 pandemic, enabling learners to gain valuable experience on the frontline at the same time. This new partnership between Public Health Wales and Coleg Gwent will enable Public Health Wales to catch up with their screening programme in the local community, benefitting residents in the Blaenau Gwent region. 

Faculty Director for Care and Community Studies, Gary Handley, commented; 

“We’re really pleased to support our local NHS and Public Health Wales in this way. Throughout the pandemic we’ve worked very closely with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and this is another opportunity for us to both support a local community in which we’re based, but also to raise awareness of general health matters with learners; many of whom are on health care courses. In particular, we want to provide support in any way we can to help ease the backlog in preventative early diagnosis that has come about due to the impact of Covid-19 on our ‘normal’ health care provision.” 

The AAA screening service at Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone is currently by invitation only between August 2nd-23rd, for men aged 65 in Ebbw Vale, Brynmawr, Abertillery and surrounding areas. Invitations will be sent to men who are now 66 years old who weren’t invited in their 65th year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Men cannot turn up on the day and request a scan; however, those over the age of 65 who have never attended for this test can self-refer by calling 01443 235161. 

This initiative has been made possible thanks to the staff at Coleg Gwent’s Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone in Ebbw Vale, who have kindly offered rooms to run screening clinics at their venue. Public Health Wales will be operating at the campus four days a week in August to offer an additional 350 appointments to men in the local area. The public are advised not to attend unless invited to do so. 

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