HYWEL DDA UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD are formally announcing the launch of their consultation at County Hall in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, this morning (Apr 19).
The proposals, the Board say, will shape the future provision of health and care services to the general population.
These provisions will be ‘safe, viable and offer an improvement to what is currently provided’.
The Herald will be attending the event, which starts at 9:30am.
You can watch a live stream here.
The 12-week consultation, which is clinically-led, will involve a number of events for communities, both general and targeted, as well as an awareness raising campaign.
It is expected that the announcements will have big changes for Withbyush, Glangwili, Prince Philip and Bronglais hospitals.
‘NO WAY’: AM says hospital plans a non-starter
by Lee Waters
I’M BITTERLY disappointed by the proposals that Hywel Dda have published. For the last two years they’ve been telling me that they regard Llanelli’s Prince Philip hospital as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the health board, and the minor injury unit as one of the few in the country to meet its targets despite treating a growing number of patients.
And now they are consulting on a proposal to downgrade our General Hospital to a Community Hospital. Well, let me tell them in very simple language what my response is: NO WAY.
It is daft to expect people to travel from Llanelli to Whitland. They must surely know that this is a non-starter and raising this unrealistic prospect in the first place is going to cause unnecessary anxiety.
I have made clear to the Chief Executive of the Health Board that Nia Griffith and I will fight the suggestion tooth and nail.
I sympathise with the real problems they are having getting enough Doctor and nurses to fill their rotas. But the answer to that is not to downgrade hospitals, it’s to recruit more staff.
I’m not pretending this is easy, it is clearly not. But that’s where we should be directing our energies not in downgrading a hospital they claim to celebrate.
I accept that the NHS has to change to deal with the massive challenges it faces. The lengthy consultation document sets out the extra pressures that are building on our hospitals from an ageing population. 70% of the hospital beds are occupied by patients over the age of 65, and the number of people of that age is set to rise by 60% over the next 20 years. That extra demand on the system will push many wards over the brink unless we change the way we treat people.
As the document rightly says too many people are seen in A&E and admitted to hospital when there are potentially other ways of looking after people in our communities to prevent a stay in hospital.
I welcome the proposal in Hywel Dda’s document to create a ‘Community Hub’ in the new Wellness Village in Llanelli’s Delta Lakes and in Cross Hands. These hubs will be designed to provide more care closer to home.
I also strongly support to push to use technology far more to cut down the need for travel, and to enable people to look after their own health needs, and I’m putting pressure on the Government in the Assembly to raise our game in embracing digital forms of healthcare in the NHS.
When I spoke to him the Health Board Chief Executive was at pains to emphasise that these are just proposals and they could well change as a result of the consultation 12 week consultation exercise that will run from Thursday 19th April until Thursday 12 July. The Health board are holding a drop-in event on Tuesday May 22nd between 2pm-7pm at the Selwyn Samuel Centre where people are able to have their say.
I’m confident that people will speak with one voice in rejecting the idea of downgrading our hospital.
NIA GRIFFITH COMMENTS
Nia Griffith MP said: “With the hospital consultation starting this week, I will be telling the Health Board in no uncertain terms that we absolutely must keep a proper general hospital at Prince Philip, with a full range of services. And, if need be, I’ll be taking the fight all the way to Welsh Government.
“Llanelli is by far the largest town in the Hywel Dda area, so I am very concerned indeed to see an option in the consultation that would downgrade services at Prince Philip. People cannot be expected to travel miles.
“I know I do not need to remind people here in Llanelli to respond to the consultation and make sure that our voices are heard loudly and clearly.”
Lifeline for cockle-gathers could be on the way after Llangennech rail crash
Plaid Cymru MS Helen Mary Jones has raised the impact on cockle-gathers of the Llangennech derailment last year.
She received an assurance from the First Minister that the Welsh Government was looking at way to help the cockle industry.
Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Economy, Transport and Tackling Poverty Minister, Helen Mary Jones MS said:
“In the Senedd I congratulated the public services for the way they co-operated around the clean-up after the Llangennech derailment, which, so far, has been very successful. I demanded a life-line scheme to help the cockle gathers.
“I raised with the First Minister issues for two groups of businesses particularly badly affected in the short-term by the derailment.
“One of those was the very important cockle-gathering industry, the other, of course, were farmers who graze animals on those low-lying banks by the river.
“There has been a request for the Welsh Government to consider whether some interim financial support might be made available to the cockle gatherers and the grazers while responsibility for the derailment and long-term compensation becomes a possibility. Many of these are small businesses; they operate on quite low margins and currently in difficult circumstances.
“The First Minister emphasised he was aware of the impact on cockle gatherers and particularly that they were unable to carry out their normal activities while the level of environmental contaminants in the estuary were being surveyed.
“Plaid Cymru believes it must be the polluter in the end that must pay for the damage that has been caused, but the rail accident investigation branch work is not coming to a conclusion quickly.
“The Welsh Government is expecting to receive advice in the next few days whether or not it is possible to devise a scheme through the Welsh Government in which some interim assistance to those industries could be supplied.
“The Welsh Government is keen to obtain that advice from officials in case it is possible, before the rail accident investigation is completed, so they can offer some assistance to those who have been most directly affected.”
The environmental impact of the Llangennech derailment last year was amongst the most significant in Wales since the Sea Empress disaster of 25 years ago.
Monitoring of the site and surrounding area, which includes four sites of special scientific interest and a special area of conservation will continue for many years to come.
UK Budget must take crucial steps to help recovery
LLANELLI Labour representatives are urging the UK Government to take the necessary steps to begin recovery and secure prosperity across all parts of the UK.
Llanelli’s MP Nia Griffith and MS Lee Waters set out Wales’ priorities ahead of the UK Budget on Wednesday March 3 2021.
They are urging the UK Government to make a series of commitments to Wales, including:
• sustaining UK-wide business support
• delivering welfare and taxation measures to support the most vulnerable
• redressing the historical under investment in Wales on research and development and rail infrastructure
• providing an injection of funding to support the transition to Net Zero carbon emissions
• providing guarantees for Wales’ specific funding pressures
Speaking ahead of the UK Budget announcement, Nia Griffith MP reiterated her calls for continued business support for those on the lowest of incomes. She said:
“It is vital that the Job Retention Scheme and Self Employed Income Support Scheme are retained – not threatened with being removed at the eleventh hour and putting livelihoods at risk. A delay to repayments should also be introduced for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme with recognition given to the self-employed who are facing deferred bills.”
“It is also vital that the £20 per week increase to Universal Credit is maintained and put on a permanent basis, making it available to people in receipt of legacy means-tested benefits. More than 300,000 families in Wales have benefitted from an extra £1,000 a year as a result of the uplift and removing this now would have a detrimental and long-lasting effect on thousands of households across Wales.”
Lee Waters MS said:
“The UK Government should continue to take advantage of historically low interest rates to invest in Wales’ infrastructure and public services. Particularly on rail, where we have been underfunded to the tune of billions since the start of devolution, this is the moment where Rishi Sunak can demonstrate his commitment to ‘levelling up’ all four nations of the UK.”
“This budget is a chance to hardwire a greener, fairer way of doing things into our recovery from Coronavirus. We are ambitious about our target of being Net Zero carbon by 2050, and averting the climate crisis which is increasingly affecting Wales through flooding. But to make that transition, we need a step change from the UK Government’s budget that allows us to invest in renewable energy and green jobs.”
Search for Susan Smith continues
THE search for missing Susan Smith is now in it’s third day. She was last seen on Saturday (Feb 27), walking in the Kidwelly area.
Speaking to The Herald, a police spokesperson said: “We are continuing to search for Susan Smith who has been reported missing.”
“The search is continuing today with specialist police officers making house to house enquiries in the Kidwelly, St Ishamels, Ferryside and surrounding areas.
Sergeant Fiona Phillips said: “It is important that we build a picture of Susan’s movements after she was last seen on Saturday and I would appeal to anyone who believes they may have seen her to contact police.”
Susan was last seen 1.30pm Saturday, February 27 2021, walking in the Carmarthen Bay Holiday Village, Kidwelly area. She is known to walk along the beach to St Ishmaels and Ferryside.
She is described as approximately 5ft2 inches tall, petite with shoulder length blonde hair and believed to be wearing black jeans, a black fleece type jacket and navy and grey walking boots.
Any who has seen Susan or anyone who may have information that could help the search is asked to contact Dyfed-Powys Police, quoting reference 285 of Saturday 27th February.
Police can be contacted either online at bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908
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