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Ambulance service criticised

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Ambulance serviceA FIRE SERVICE professional has criticised the Welsh Ambulance service after it took five hours for assistance to reach his disabled daughter.

Former fire service-worker Jo Mayne, 66, who now works as a fire officer on Valero oil refinery, told the Herald that his daughter Joanne suffered nerve damage following an operation and has limited mobility. She had recently married and moved to Ammanford.

Mr Mayne, a resident of Milford Haven, said that on Friday (May 22) morning, Joanne phoned him at 11.30, saying that she had suffered a fall. She couldn’t get up, and was bleeding from her leg. Her husband, who is also disabled, was at work.

After receiving the call, Mr Mayne phoned for an ambulance. He clearly stated that Joanne was disabled, was unable to get up, was alone in the house, and didn’t know anyone in the area who could physically help her.

He then phoned his daughter, and asked her to keep him informed about which hospital she was taken to.

However, at 1.30pm, his daughter phoned again. “She was in tears, saying the ambulance still hadn’t arrived,” he remembered.

Joanne’s 85-year-old father in law, who lives nearby, visited Joanne and did his best to make her comfortable. However, he was caring for his seriously ill wife, and was unable to stay.

After hearing this, Mr Mayne went to Milford Haven Fire Station, and asked if MAWWFS could offer any assistance. While he was in the fire station, an ambulance driver came in and told him that an ambulance had just been dispatched from Withybush.

He left Milford Haven with his wife, and arrived at his daughter’s house at the same time as the ambulance – around 4.20pm.

It transpired that the ambulance that had been sent was a St Johns ambulance. “They’re usually used for patient transfer,” Mr Mayne said. “I don’t know why they sent it out on something like this.”

A highly-trained first-aider, Mr Mayne then inspected the injury to his daughter’s leg, and splinted it using materials from the ambulance. She was also given pain relief by the ambulance crew.

At this point the ambulance crew told Mr Mayne that if he couldn’t get his daughter into a wheelchair and into the back of the ambulance, they would have to contact ambulance control and send out another ambulance, which could take 2-3 hours.

“I’m 66, I still work, and I still pay tax. I don’t mind paying more for a service, but that is not a service,” he said.

He then managed to get daughter into a wheelchair and into the ambulance. They arrived at Glangwili at 5.35pm. After treatment, they left the hospital at 12.45am.

Mr Mayne was keen to state that the treatment his daughter received was of high quality, and praised the effort of the St Johns team.

He has also written to Paul Davies AM and Stephen Crabb outlining his concerns, but has not yet received a reply.

“It was a nightmare,” he said. “I just want to try and make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

The Welsh Ambulance Service states that their target response time for non life-threatening calls is 30 minutes. We contacted the Ambulance Service asking the reasons for the five hour delay, and whether or not the response team sent out had the necessary equipment and training to deal with the situation outlined. At the time of going to press we had received no response.

However, a recent Freedom of Information Act request by Plaid Cymru, revealed that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of private ambulances used in Wales over the last two years.

The number of non-NHS ambulances used by the Welsh Ambulance Service rose from 1,248 in 2012-13 to 9,242 in 2014-15; an increase of more than 600%.

And the bill for using the ‘private providers’ jumped from just £172,000 to £2,086,000 over the same period. The number of taxis hired to take patients also rose from 682 in 2012- 13 to 868 in 2014-15 after a fall to 363 in 2013-14.

Elin Jones, Shadow Assembly Minister for Health, said: “I was shocked when I saw the extent of the increased use of private providers by the Trust. The dramatic rise in the use of private ambulances for emergency transport indicates a desperate need for a long term plan to meet demand in-house.

“The number of emergency calls has stayed fairly static in recent years and using private providers is short sighted. The Trust needs to think long-term.

“It may be proportionate to use the third sector such as St John’s in non-emergency hospital transfers but NHS ambulances are needed for emergency transport.”

Responding to Plaid Cymru on the use of private providers for emergency calls the Trust said: “More latterly, the Trust has made a conscious decision to support internal capacity with the use of private providers for responses to emergency calls. These do require ALS (advanced life support) skills and are, therefore, more expensive.”

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Cllr Kevin Madge elected as new county council Chairman

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THE new chair of Carmarthenshire County Council said he will work tirelessly during his term of office.

Cllr Kevin Madge, member for Garnant, takes the chain of office whilst celebrating 40 years as a councillor.

Taking the chair, Cllr Madge paid tribute to outgoing chairman Cllr Mansel Charles, member for Llanegwad, saying he had fulfilled his duties with passion.

Cllr Madge will chair the council for the next 12 months, with Cllr Ieuan Davies, member for Llanybydder, as his vice chair, and his wife Catrin as his consort.

“I’m very much looking forward to the year ahead, I will do my best for everyone. I will work tirelessly,” he said.

Cllr Madge has chosen the Trussell Trust, which supports a nationwide network of food banks and emergency food provision for people in crisis, as his Chairman’s Charity of the Year.

The Chair is the first citizen of Carmarthenshire County Council, and is elected at the Annual General Meeting.

Duties include chairing full meetings of the council, representing the council at formal and ceremonial occasions, welcoming visitors to the county, and attending and supporting events organised by local people and organisations.

Cllr Madge has been a county councillor since 1996, and a member of Cwmaman Town Council since 1979.

He also serves as chairman of the Royal British Legion Garnant branch, Garnant Family Centre and Cwmaman Meals on Wheels, and is a member of Amman Valley League of Friends.

He represents the county council on the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, and the Mynydd y Betws Wind Farm Community Fund, and is on the governing body of Ysgol Y Bedol.

A former pupil of Amman Valley School, Cllr Madge has worked in the Amman Valley throughout his life, most recently as agent and researcher to Dr Alan Williams MP until 2001.

A keen football supporter, he has served as chair and president of Cwmaman Football Club and spent 25 years as a Welsh League and Neath and District football referee.

He is married with two children and three grandchildren.

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‘UK Government should work with the Welsh Labour Government on Tata’

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LOCAL Assembly Member Lee Waters and Nia Griffith MP have called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Labour Government to come up with a deal to protect steel making at Trostre, and across Wales and the UK.

Lee Waters AM met with representatives from Tata Steel on Wednesday to discuss the future for steel making at the plant following the reported collapse of the proposed joint venture with Thyssenkrupp.

During the meeting he stressed the need to protect the entire steel supply chain in Wales, including the high quality jobs at Trostre, and those that depend on its presence in Llanelli.

Lee Waters AM said “It’s clear that the support Welsh Government provided during the crisis of 2016 has been critical in getting extra investment into Port Talbot which will secure the works for years to come. However, Tata is a company run from India, and we simply don’t know what the board will decide about its future strategy. They may well be looking for a new joint venture partner, so we’ll have to vigilant about the implications for our local plants.”

“Tata has said it intends to continue with its existing business plan, and honor commitments made to the Trade Unions, so Nia and I will be keeping a close eye to make sure that happens.”

Welsh Government has been in active discussions with Tata steel following the collapse of the merger with Thyssenkrupp. In a written statement and during questions on Wednesday, the Welsh Government committed to invest in Welsh steel to protect its future and is looking at a range of measures to assist on energy costs, business rates and procurement of steel for public sector contracts.

Lee Waters AM said “The Welsh Government have given significant support to the steel industry here but it can’t do everything, and we now need the UK Government to work with them to ensure a future for skilled work in the steel industry in Llanelli and elsewhere in Wales.”

Nia Griffith AM said ““This latest news from Tata means yet more uncertainty for steelworkers. Their announcement about keeping Port Talbot is a start, but now we need real commitment from Tata on Trostre.

“We also need close cooperation from the company with the Trade Unions. Lee Waters AM and I will be urging the UK Government to follow Welsh Government in doing everything possible to secure the future of our steel industry.”

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MP and AM call for Trostre certainty after merger fails

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LOCAL ASSEMBLY MEMBER Lee Waters and Nia Griffith MP have called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Labour Government to come up with a deal to protect steel making at Trostre, and across Wales and the UK.

Lee Waters AM met with representatives from Tata Steel on Wednesday to discuss the future for steel making at the plant following the reported collapse of the proposed joint venture with Thyssenkrupp.

During the meeting he stressed the need to protect the entire steel supply chain in Wales, including the high quality jobs at Trostre, and those that depend on its presence in Llanelli.

Lee Waters AM said “It’s clear that the support Welsh Government provided during the crisis of 2016 has been critical in getting extra investment into Port Talbot which will secure the works for years to come. However, Tata is a company run from India, and we simply don’t know what the board will decide about its future strategy. They may well be looking for a new joint venture partner, so we’ll have to vigilant about the implications for our local plants.”

“Tata has said it intends to continue with its existing business plan, and honor commitments made to the Trade Unions, so Nia and I will be keeping a close eye to make sure that happens.”

Welsh Government has been in active discussions with Tata steel following the collapse of the merger with Thyssenkrupp. In a written statement and during questions on Wednesday, the Welsh Government committed to invest in Welsh steel to protect its future and is looking at a range of measures to assist on energy costs, business rates and procurement of steel for public sector contracts.

Lee Waters AM said “The Welsh Government have given significant support to the steel industry here but it can’t do everything, and we now need the UK Government to work with them to ensure a future for skilled work in the steel industry in Llanelli and elsewhere in Wales.”

Nia Griffith AM said “This latest news from Tata means yet more uncertainty for steelworkers. Their announcement about keeping Port Talbot is a start, but now we need real commitment from Tata on Trostre.

“We also need close cooperation from the company with the Trade Unions. Lee Waters AM and I will be urging the UK Government to follow Welsh Government in doing everything possible to secure the future of our steel industry.”

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