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Health Board ‘working hard’ to fill GP gaps

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HYWEL DDA UHB has announced that it has managed to fill gaps in the rota for the out of hours GP service at Prince Philip Hospital, meaning that the service will be available this weekend.

However, at the time of writing, the board has not been able to staff the Friday night out of hours service at Glangwili Hospital.

Yesterday (Mar 8) it emerged that following last Sunday’s closure of the Prince Philip out of hours service Hywel Dda UHB was unable to staff the evening service on Thursday or Friday night.

Llanelli MP Nia Griffith described the situation as ‘completely unacceptable’.

“To make matters worse, the Health Board have not yet been able to staff the Friday evening shift at Glangwili Hospital. So even those Llanelli residents who are able to travel to Carmarthen to get urgent care may find themselves with nowhere to turn tomorrow night. In any case, no-one should be having to take a sick relative all the way to Carmarthen or Swansea.

“Shortly afterwards, Hywel Dda UHB released an updated statement, which said that the health board was ‘finding it increasingly difficult’ to staff rotas.

“While there remain gaps in the Out of Hours rota the only site that currently doesn’t have cover is Glangwili Hospital on Friday evening,” they added.

“The situation is changing quickly and an update will be provided on Friday afternoon 09.3.18 – please keep an eye on our website for further details. Regardless of rotas anyone in Carmarthenshire who is unwell and needs to see a GP should call 111.”

“I have written to the Chief Executive of Hywel Dda demanding a meeting and an explanation for why this has been allowed to happen. It is vital that we keep the out-of-hours GP service open in Llanelli, so I will be pressing the Health Board to explain how it plans to prevent further temporary closures and ensure a long-term future for the service.”

Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Operations Joe Teape said: “I would like to apologise for any concern or inconvenience caused due to ongoing staffing issues in the Out of Hours GP service. This is currently a familiar trend among other health boards across the country. We know that all of our staff and GPs are working really hard to provide safe services for our patients and we appreciate this. We are working together across the whole health board area and across different services to provide a safety net for our patients.

“The public’s health is our number one priority and although we sometimes cannot achieve everything that we want to achieve, we are doing our utmost to ensure that we can continue to provide services that are safe and robust for our local communities.”

In the instance of rotas not being filled, Hywel Dda UHB advised that other health care services such as minor injury units, 111 and community pharmacy, continue to be available. If after a telephone based GP assessment has been completed and someone needs to see a GP face to face they could be asked to travel to a neighbouring county within the Hywel Dda region to see the nearest available GP (the nearest available GP which may be Glangwili or Prince Philip Hospital if one of the rotas can be filled, or Withybush General Hospital, Haverfordwest, or their nearest alternative GP as instructed by 111 operators).

Following the updated statement, Lee Waters AM said he had received ‘a detailed briefing’ on the efforts made by
the health board to fill the gaps in the rota.

“With some their regular GPs away and one off sick they are really struggling to find enough Doctors provide cover, and they are having problems in Glangwili too,” he added.

“Nobody thinks this is good enough.

“The Chief Executive assures me he thinks things should be back to normal by the end of the month but they are expecting some problems in the meantime.

“This is not only a problem in our health board but right across the UK at the moment. The NHS is under enormous strain.

“We can help by using the pharmacy, NHS Direct and the 111 phone service.

“And the Health Board needs to do more to actively recruit more GPs from across the area to help out in out of hours.

If you live in Carmarthenshire and are unwell out of hours during the evenings and weekend you can do a number of things:
• for health information and advice, including online symptom checkers, please visit NHS Direct Wales: www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk
• call 111 – they can help to signpost you to the right service, for example a GP, nurse, pharmacist or Minor Injury Unit, they also provide health information on a wide range of conditions for self care if appropriate
• use your community pharmacy, some of these have enhanced services like ‘triage and treat’ for treatment of minor conditions, including Burry Port Pharmacy
• for a minor injury, you can visit Prince Philip Hospital’s Minor Injury Unit, which is open 24/7
• ONLY in an emergency for serious or life-threatening conditions should you dial 999

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Recycling plant closed after collision

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LLANELLI RECYCLING CENTRE is currently closed following a road traffic collision outside.

Police and collision investigation teams are at the scene, but no further details have been made available at this stage.

Carmarthenshire Roads Policing Unit said that the location would be closed ‘until further notice’. ‏


A spokesperson for Dyfed Powys Police said: “Dyfed-Powys Police was called to Trostre Industrial Park at 2.12pm following a report of a pedestrian being hit by a vehicle.

“The ambulance service is also in attendance, and the road leading to the recycling centre is currently closed.”

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Modern and traditional methods used by Neighbourhood Watch groups

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TRADITIONAL monthly meetings and Facebook groups might seem worlds apart, but these are the methods two Carmarthenshire communities are using to keep their neighbours safe.

As part of Neighbourhood Watch Week, the long-standing Glanmor group and the newer Llwynhendy and Pemberton group have shared the secrets to their success – be it through old-school meetings or the reach of social media.

Jason Hart helped to set up the Llwynhendy and Pemberton Neighbourhood Watch group last summer following a spate of burglaries in the area. Although he admits it was slow to get off the ground using traditional means, the launch of a Facebook group saw the scheme take off.

“We still hold monthly meetings, but we found we have more of an impact on social media,” he said. “We set the Facebook group up and had over 400 members in a couple of weeks.

“A lot of people who work or who have children can’t make it to our meetings, so for them a Facebook group is ideal.”

Members are approved before joining, and can then post on the group’s timeline. Mr Hart explained that it gives people the opportunity to raise issues or concerns if they are unable to attend the evening meetings.

“They post about things like suspicious vehicles in the area, or if they have seen someone trying car doors, and we will then report it to the police,” he said. “We also feed in information from the police if something has happened, and people let us know if they have seen or heard anything.”

The success of the group is such that people living in the neighbouring community of Bryn have asked for it to expand.

Mr Hart said: “We will invite them to come along to our meetings to see how it works, and if there is enough interest they can break off and form their own group. It’s great that people think it’s working and want to see it covering their area too.”

Meetings are held from 5pm at the Bryn and Trallwm Social Club on the third Tuesday of the month, and the Facebook group can be found by searching Llwynhendy and Pemberton Neighbourhood Watch.

Over on the other side of Llanelli is the longstanding Glanmor Neighbourhood Watch group, which has been running for the past 17 years. The watch covers Nelson Terrace, Richmond Terrace, Llys yr Orsaf, Llys y Gof and part of Bryn Road, does not use social media and stands by the routine of monthly meetings.

Group coordinator John Jones said: “We had a lot of trouble in the area at that time, and everyone was complaining to me as I was a magistrate. We decided that the best way forward was to set up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme so people could meet regularly and discuss any problems in the community.

“It went from there, and we are still going 17 years later.

“The number of people who attend depends on what problems there are each month, but there is a core membership who always comes along. We aim to deal with issues straight away.”

Meetings are held at The Cambrian, in Marine Street, at 6.30pm on the first Monday of the month – unless it is a bank holiday, when it will be held the following Monday.

Sergeant Dawn Fencot-Price, of the Dyfed-Powys Police Crime and Harm Reduction Team, said: “We would like to thank both Neighbourhood Watch groups for their support in keeping our communities safe.

“It is great to see people working together in this way, sharing crime prevention messages and looking out for each other.

“We are always looking for innovative ways of keeping our communities safe. If you’re interested in setting up a Neighbourhood Watch group, or have an idea you think might work in your area, contact your local Neighbourhood Policing Team on 101.”

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3,000 Welsh landlords still unregistered

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JANET FINCH-SAUNDERS AM has called on the Welsh Government to urgently work to improve landlord registration under Rent Smart Wales, as estimates released indicate around 3,000 remain unregistered.

Ms Finch-Saunders said: “Rent Smart Wales estimates that still 3,000 landlords are unregistered here in Wales.

“Whilst that makes up a small percentage of our total landlords, it is most concerning for those living in properties leased to them by those who have not yet registered.

“The Welsh Government has confirmed that a landlord who is not registered with Rent Smart Wales is unable to serve a valid Section 21 eviction notice – so where unregistered landlords do indicate that they want tenants to vacate a property, this is not recognised by local housing associations, which can cause stress to tenants who may not be aware of their full rights under the law.

“By focusing on ensuring that all landlords are properly registered, the Welsh Government can alleviate such concerns, and I will be urging the Cabinet Secretary to act to ensure all landlords are abiding by this legislation in full.”

The Minister for Housing and Regeneration told Ms Finch-Saunders that the latest figures released by Rent Smart Wales show that 90,812 landlords are now registered. Rent Smart Wales’ latest estimate for the number of unregistered landlords is approximately 3,000.

This is based on the dwelling stock estimates recently published by StatsWales, and an estimation of the average number of properties owned by each landlord.

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