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Prince Philip to retain ‘acute hospital services’ following consultation

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THE HEALTH BOARD has presented its recommendations to major changes in the way health services are delivered in west Wales today (Sept 26) – and Prince Philip Hosptial will retain ‘acute hospital services’.

The biggest change is plans to downgrade Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen and Withybush General Hospital in Pembrokeshire.

At the meeting at County Hall, Carmarthen, the Hywel Dda UHB presented outputs from its recent consultation on the future provision of health and care services to the general population together with a clinical recommendation which will be considered by the Board.

The health board’s recommendation has now been published.

The recommendations were:

• Bronglais and Prince Philip in Llanelli will retain ‘acute hospital services’
• Glangwili and Withybush will be downgraded – they will be ‘repurposed’ to offer a range of services to support a social model for health and well-being, designed with local people to meet their needs.
• A new urgent and planned care hospital will be developed in the south of the health board area.

This is not the final decision, but at this stage a recommendation.

A further detailed meeting is scheduled for the end of November. If the local community health council refuses to back the plan then it could be sent to Health Secretary Vaughan Gething for a final decision.

However, Mr Gething warned earlier this year that NHS services in Wales could ‘collapse’ without urgent transformation and called on politicians from all parties to be ‘grown up’ and to not ‘run away’ from difficult choices.

Campaigners may also ultimately try to challenge the health board’s plans in the courts – although previous attempts to overturn decisions were unsuccessful.

March: Campaigners wanted to retain all Withybush General Hospital’s services (Pic Herald)

One of the recommendations in the board papers is to develop plans for the new hospital. The board is asked to progress consideration of location options within the defined new hospital zone, between Narberth and St. Clears, through a formal feasibility study.

  • Work with local people to develop models to provide enhanced support to those communities furthest from main urgent care and hospital services.
  • Consider the impact and opportunities a new hospital in the south of the Health Board area would provide to Bronglais General Hospital.
  • Develop a plan for the approach to managing emergency conditions which are time-sensitive.

Chair of the Community Health Council Dr John Morgan said: “In our day-to-day work we’re clear that the public’s frustrations come from big problems in the health system, so over the coming years the whole system has to change to give people what they need. For that reason we think the Health Board should continue to make major system-wide plans.

“However, some of the proposed changes have really worried people. Given that we feel any change to health services must provide better quality health services to the public these changes need to be looked at individually with more public involvement. With a number of the proposed changes years away the Health Board needs to provide more detail on how they would work. Only then will the CHC be in a position to consider whether we think the more controversial changes are in the public’s best interests.”

The CHC has seen how people are welcoming more care being provided in community settings close to home.

People are less happy about placing any services further away especially if they needed care in an emergency.

Public involvement in the consultation and large-scale petitions has communicated these views loud and clear.

Dr Morgan continued: “Listening to what the public have said, the consultation has created as many questions as answers. We think that there need to be strong foundations in place to build a new system upon. This means GP practices that are more robust, well-functioning established community services, better use of technology and better travel and transport arrangements, to name but a few.”

Chief Officer Sam Dentten added: “We’re starting a long journey over the next few years. We welcome change because it’s needed, but that change must bring accessible, high quality and safe NHS services. The Health Board must commit to more engagement with the public as its plans unfold and the CHC will be listening closely, maintaining our right to take matters further if we don’t think the change is in the public interest.”

Lee Waters AM and Nia Griffith MP welcome retention of services at Prince Philip General Hospital

Lee Waters AM said: “I’m glad that the Health Board listened to the strong representations that Nia and I made to them. Turning Prince Phillip into a Community Hospital was not on.”

Nia Griffith MP said: “We welcome the announcement today by the Hywel Dda Health Board to keep Prince Philip Hospital as a General Hospital and to keep acute medicine here in Llanelli, and I welcome close cooperation with ABMU, the Swansea Health Board.”

But both warned that the move of some of the planned operations out of Prince Phillip and all from Glangwili hospital into a new purpose built super-hospital near Whitland will need to be carefully managed.

Nia Griffith said: “The new hospital will be an hour away by car for most people in the Llanelli constituency, and many will be closer to hospitals in Swansea and along the M4. It’s essential that there are no bureaucratic boundaries between the health boards which get in the way of people being treated as close to home as possible.”

Lee Waters added: “About 25% of households don’t have a car and we need to make sure they can easily access the healthcare they need. And we need to make sure we can the most of digital communication so that people can have face-to-face contact without always needing to travel.”

The MP and AM will tell Health Secretary Vaughan Gething that Prince Philip needs to receive continued investment to secure a long term future.

Nia Griffith MP added: “We will be keeping close watch on the further development of the Board’s thinking on emergency, urgent and planned care.”

Lee Waters also said he was very concerned about the announcement that mental health services for the most serious cases will be provided outside of the area.

He added: “I’m worried that the new Mental Health treatment unit that was being planned for Llanelli will now be placed at the proposed new hospital near Whitland, alongside the planned new assessment unit. Llanelli is still on course to have a Community mental health centre, but that will not deal with more serious cases. Nia and I will be meeting with the Health Board to discuss this.”

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Llanelli to holds it first food and drink festival

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THIS SATURDAY (Oct 20), Llanelli town centre is holding it’s first ever Food and Drink Festival.

The festival which is being funded by Ymlaen Llanelli Business Improvement District, Llanelli Town Council and Welsh Government will see the town filled with a selection of artisan and street food and drink stalls from 9am to 4pm on Saturday, 20th October. Visitors will be able to buy everything from cheese and chutneys and to craft beer and wine.

In the St Elli shopping centre there will be a show demonstration kitchen where local chefs will be showing off their cooking skills from 10am on a variety of themes including the Big Welsh Breakfast, Fish is the Dish and Keep It Local.

You can also learn how to make bread, mill flower and churn butter at free workshops in the St Elli Centre and well as listen to live music in the entertainment marquee in Vaughan Street.

There are free activities for children throughout the day too including a toddler trail, disco potatoes and a pottery bus.

Llanelli market who are pioneers of little or no packaging will be taking part in a Go Green Trail and offering free canvas bags to customers on the day.

There is free parking all day in town too!

On Friday night the festival is kicked off by a food trail around some of the town’s best bars and restaurants. The Thomas Arms, Ruby’s, Llanelly House and Marzano’s will be offering tasters of their favourite dishes to some lucky customers. Anyone that completes the trail and get a stamp at every location gets entered into a prize draw to win a £50 voucher to spend at any of the four restaurants. You can pick up a stamp card at any of the four up until Friday evening.

Paolo Piana will be hosting a Come Dine With Me evening at Y Lle on Old Castle Road where participants will take part in an interactive dining experience and learn how to cook some Italian dishes from scratch. There is also a Welsh Cheese and Wine Evening taking place at the mayor’s parlour to raise money for the mayors chosen charity (both of these events have limited space to booking is essential).

Chair of Ymlaen Llanelli, Lesley Richards said: “It’s great to see months of work finally coming to fruition with our First Food and Drink Festival this weekend and we are all very much looking forward to it. We hope to see a large number of visitors in the town centre on Saturday to visit the food and drink stalls. Once they see what fantastic businesses we have in Llanelli, we hope they will return to support our lovely town which is a great place to do your Christmas shopping. Don’t forget there’s free parking all day too!”

Llanelli Town Mayor, Cllr. David Darkin said: “I’m really excited about the upcoming food festival. I’m sure this will be a fantastic showcase of what Llanelli town has to offer and a great family friendly event. Llanelli Town Council is very pleased to see this event taking place in our community.”

 

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A Llanelli pub wants to pay you to drink beer

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A LLANELLI pub has launched a search for the UK’s first ever ‘Pub-licist’ and is encouraging locals to apply for the coveted role – which will include drinking beer and catching up with friends.

The New Stepney Hungry Horse pub on Eastgate, is advertising the dream job for pub goers and calling for a local spokesperson to represent the pub company in return for a £500 salary.

As well as drinking on the job, the Pub-licist will also be faced with responsibilities that will include tucking into pies, lasagne, and fish & chips, and attending entertainment events at their local pub, on top of playing the odd game of darts, karaoke or taking part in the pub quiz.

The Pub-licist will also be required to make a number of visits to their local, in order to provide feedback and recommendations to help make their pub the best in the country.

Each task must be reviewed thoroughly and key feedback provided to management, to help the pub stay ahead of competitors and retain its role as the hub of the community.

The winning candidate should know their cask from their craft, be a pro at pub quizzes and have a taste for the finest pub-grub. Interested applicants should visit hungryhorse.co.uk/publicist before Tuesday 13 November explaining why they’ve got what it takes to be Hungry Horse’s first Pub-licist.

Andrea Daniels, general manager at the New Stepney, said: “Nothing beats the atmosphere and comradery of a local pub – and it really is the guests who make it such a great place to be.

“We’re searching for a pub fanatic who just loves a trip to their local, to become our first ever Pub-licist and help us to become the best pub the community.

“So, if you fancy taking part in a pub quiz, sipping on a cold beer or tucking into traditional pub classics – all while getting paid to do so, then we want to hear from you. We’d love it if the UK’s first ever Pub-licist was from Llanelli!”

Applications are open from Tuesday 16 October – Tuesday 13 November to apply or find out more, visit: hungryhorse.co.uk/publicist.

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Police say ‘stop protecting’ murder suspect Steve Baxter

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JUST over two weeks ago Simon Clark, aged 54, was found dead at Grove Caravan Park in Pendine, Carmarthenshire.

Dyfed-Powys Police is continuing its manhunt for Steve Baxter, who is wanted on suspicion of Simon’s murder.

Baxter also known as Steve Tidy, Steve Rowley, Wayne Tidy or William Tidy, is aged 52, 5’5” (1.65cm) tall and has tattoos on his forearms – the name Chez and entwined circles on his left arm and a serpent on his right arm.

He has connections in the West Wales, South Wales, South West and North England areas of the UK.

Officers and staff are working round the clock to follow all possible lines of enquiry.

The independent charity Crimestoppers is also offering a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to the arrest of Steve Baxter and he has been added to the Most Wanted section of their website. Information would be taken by the charity anonymously.

Detective Superintendent Huw Davies said: “It’s over two weeks since Simon Clark was murdered at Grove Caravan Park, Pendine.

“The manhunt for Steve Baxter is ongoing and I must stress to the public that officers and staff are working round the clock to investigate all possible lines of enquiry that could lead us to him.

“I urge anyone with information of Baxter’s whereabouts to come forward. If you do not want to speak to police directly, you can speak to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, which is also offering a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to his arrest.

“Someone knows where he is or has been in the last two weeks. Please stop protecting him. Simon Clark’s family deserve to see all those involved in his death brought to justice.”

Four people have been charged in connection with the murder: Jeffrey Stephen Ward, aged 40, from Pendine, has been charged with murder; Linda Mary Rowley, aged 52, from Pendine, has been charged with assisting an offender (murder); Kirston Macklin, aged 52, from Newport, Gwent, has been charged with assisting an offender (murder) and Julie Louise Harris, aged 46, from Tonypandy, has been charged with assisting an offender (murder).

If you see Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 999. Do not approach him.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 101 immediately.

To pass on information anonymously, contact Crimestoppers 100 per cent anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through the non-traceable anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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