November 2013

Information via Chairman Mike….

2013 has been a very busy year both for myself and the group.

I decided this year to return to driving after a break of 9 years! I reapplied for my licence in February and received it in May.

Why did I decide to go back to driving after 9 years?…..  Because I have been “episode free” for several years and this boosted my confidence sufficiently enough for me to reapply for it.

sample licence


I have invited the DVLA to come along to one of our meetings to talk to us about the rules that affect people who have had an ICD fitted.

How things change……

When I had my first IDC fitted 9 years ago I felt very alone and felt that I was the only one in Wales to have to undergo this.  Nine tears later, however, and the University Hospital of Wales fit on average 150 ICD’s (implantable cardioverter defibrillators) a year.

When I was discharged from hospital following this procedure I was given a few sheets of paper with information about what to do / not to do, who to contact etc. This year (2013) our committee decided to publish an information folder which eventually be given to patients who will be having ICD’s fitted.

The group applied for funding from the Big Lottery Fund – Awards for All and was successful in obtaining the funding.

The grant will pay for A4 size folders, contact cards, membership “gwentdefibber” card and an information booklet.

Future pack


I would like to take this opportunity to thank Big Lottery Fund for their financial support and also to Mandie Welch (Arrhythmia nurse at UHW) and Cheryl Palfrey (Cardiac Nurse) based at Pontypool Hospital for their professional input with regards to the information booklet.

As previously reported, GwentDefibbers last years successfully sited 2 AED’s (automatic external defibrillators) in Tredegar town. To date 54 people, ordinary members of the public, have been trained to use these devices.  Recently we had another training session in the Cambrian Hotel which proved very successful – thanks to all involved and all will receive a certificate..


dummy demonstrating AED pads applied to chest


Because of the success in raising awareness of the need for AED’s the Community Council of Tredegar awarded a clock (part of a civil award) to the group as a thank you.

Our secretary, Sandra, has recently made links with The Tommy Cooper Society. This group are currently starting a Tommy Ticker Campaign to raise awareness / purchase AED’s in Caerphilly County Borough.

The Future

The committee have been requested to join the Welsh Ambulance Service – Service Users Group.

We will be attending the Arrhythmia Alliance Patients Day Conference at Birmingham on Sunday 20th October.

We will be visitng local schools to raise awareness of use of AED’s.