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Families ‘distraught’ as council ends contract

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‘We have been treated unfairly’: Dorothy McDonald, founder and trustee of the home in Glanamman

A SMALL care home providing facilities for dementia sufferers has had its contract with Carmarthenshire County Council terminated at short notice, The Herald can reveal.
The families of Hafan Croeso Care Home’s clients have been informed of the decision, which will involve removing their relatives from the care home they have lived in for the last ten years.
Dennis King Chair of Amman Care told the Herald: “We had notice on Tuesday that social services were finishing their contracts with us from this Friday (Jun 26). Until then we had no idea that the council were planning to remove our clients on such short notice. There are no other facilities like ours. We are the only specialist providers for dementia care in Carmarthenshire.”
Mr King pointed out that the home was run by volunteers and that Welsh Minister Edwina Hart said it was a model she would like to see throughout Wales. He also told us: “We also had the older people’s commissioner come down and she said if she had to go into a care home it would be this one!”
Dorothy McDonald is a trustee at Amman Care and she told the Herald: “We run a small community home in Ammanford. We have had problems trying to keep managers over the years. The manger we have is leaving on Friday. We appointed a new manager last Thursday and informed CSSIW and Social services but they had already placed an embargo on us. We couldn’t admit any new residents.”
Dorothy explained the steps taken to resolve the situation: “We went to see Neil Edwards, the Adult Safeguarding and Commissioning Manager for the local authority. He told us there would be a meeting to decide what would happen. We called him but he only came to the phone when Cllr Tegwen Devichand said he had two choices, either see us or we would go to press. We didn’t hear anymore from Neil until noon on Tuesday, when a letter containing all sorts of legal jargon was delivered to the home. Then, at 5pm, one of the staff rang me to ask if I knew that social services were removing the seven residents this Friday.”
Ms McDonald went on to say: “The families are very distressed and fearful about the effect of the sudden move on their loved ones. There should have been consultation Where are their human rights? We have been forbidden from contacting the families but they have been in touch with us. They are distraught.”
Expressing further concerns about the way events had developed, Dorothy told us: “David Jenkins is our councillor and he didn’t even know what was happening. Surely he should know as deputy leader.”
The Herald contacted CSSIW, which is responsible for inspecting care and social services in Wales, who told us: “We’re aware that the provider has been without both a Responsible Individual since May 29 and as of Friday 26 June will also be without a Registered Manager. This presents a significant risk to the safety and wellbeing of the vulnerable people living in the home, and we are seeking assurances from the provider on the arrangements in place after the Registered Manager has left post, to ensure that existing residents continue to receive appropriate care. In the meantime, and until we are satisfied with the management arrangements, we have issued a condition that prevents the provider taking on new residents into Hafan Croeso Care Home. We have been advised that Carmarthenshire County Council intends to terminate its contract with the care home with effect from Friday June 26, and we are also seeking assurances from the council on the continuity of care for existing residents.”
Mrs McDonald was asked what her next steps would be and she said: “Our next step is to get legal advice and see how we can get our clients back. It seems the authority have been down on us for a while. They tell us not to get involved but when something goes wrong they blame us.”
She concluded: “Our local representatives were not told anything about this. David Jenkins has been supportive and we hope he will help us now. There is a shortage of care managers in Wales. We have been treated unfairly and what they are doing is denying help and care to people in need. It is an injustice. None of us claim travelling expenses and we are all over 80 ourselves.”
The Herald contacted the local authority for a response but had received none by the time this story went to press.
Local MP Jonathan Edwards told The Herald: “We know there is a shortage of dementia care services in Carmarthenshire. It is crucial such services – which have been established and operated by the good will of so many volunteers – are encouraged in our community.
“I am surprised at how quickly this process has moved and I urge the local authority and home to work together as closely as possible. The care provided to what are extremely vulnerable residents is paramount at this time.”
Jake Morgan, Director of Community Services, said: “Carmarthenshire County Council’s priority is to support vulnerable users and their families to receive safe and high quality care. We agree with the position of the CSSIW that this provider falls short of the standards we should all expect. As of today all but one resident has moved to more suitable providers.
“We will continue to work with Hafan Croeso to assist them in developing plans to deliver the quality of care that both the county council and the CSSIW require and we are sure they would wish to provide.”

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Health board provides assurance to local residents following Llanelli lockdown restrictions

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Following the introduction of temporary lockdown measures in the Llanelli area the health board is moving to reassure local communities that they can still access hospital and community healthcare services, including urgent care.

The health board is continuing to focus on providing these essential services and patients should access Prince Philip Hospital if they have an urgent care need or a scheduled clinic appointment.

Planned operations continue to be prioritised based on clinical urgency (including patients with cancer and other urgent care needs) and people should attend these if they have a confirmed admission date.

These measures apply to people with appointments at Prince Philip Hospital (regardless of where you live), and for people living in the Llanelli restricted zone. Arrangements are also continuing with access to primary care services – please phone your doctor’s surgery, dentist or optometrist to find out more and follow instructions at your community pharmacist.

All GP practices and a number of community pharmacies are continuing to offer the flu jab by appointment – again please check arrangements with these providers locally and make sure you keep your appointment if you’ve been offered one.  If you do not have an appointment arranged and you are in one of the “at risk” categories, please contact your GP Practice to check on the arrangements for this year.

Visiting continues to be restricted at all Hywel Dda University Health Board hospitals and these must be pre-planned and agreed with the sister/charge nurse. 

The exceptions to this arrangement are:
One parent/guardian at a time to visit their child
For birthing mothers – only one birthing partner
Patients considered to be at the end of life or receiving palliative care. 

We have also introduced local exemptions to this where you can visit if you are supporting someone with a mental health issue such as dementia, a learning disability or autism, where not being present would cause the patient to become distressed. 

In all cases we are urging patients to continue to follow infection prevention and control guidance, as well as use of face coverings and maintaining social distance.  Further information and updates about local lockdowns can be found on the Welsh Government’s website here.

Mandy Rayani, Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Experience at Hywel Dda, said: “It’s really important that people living in areas affected by the new lockdowns know that they can still access services in the same way as they have been able to for the last few months.

“At the same time, it’s also important that people choose the right healthcare service for their need so that our hospitals can manage the extra demand that we always face at this time of the year.

“We will continue to prioritise urgent and emergency care, including planned operations based on clinical urgency, and I’d also like to remind people that arrangements are in place at a local level for community services such as GPs, pharmacies, optometrists and dentists.

“If you do need to attend a healthcare setting please remember to follow guidance on hand hygiene, face coverings and social distancing and please contact the senior sister or charge nurse if you want to find out about visiting relatives in hospital.

“Remember, COVID-19 is a serious disease which is sadly having real and tragic consequences for many people and families. We will endeavour to do all that we can to keep our communities safe and we’d like to thank the public for their patience and understanding as we continue to work through these new arrangements.”

Remember – if you or any member of your household develop symptoms of COVID-19 it is important that you self-isolate and do NOT attend any appointments or visit our sites.

If you have symptoms (raised temperature, new persistent cough OR loss or change of smell or taste) please book a test as soon as possible. You can do this via the UK Portal here

Any Llanelli residents having problems booking a test can contact us on 0300 333 2222 or via covidenquiries.hdd@wales.nhs.uk
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Police appeal for witnesses after 20-year-old pedestrian tragically killed on A40

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is appealing for witnesses to a fatal road traffic collision on the A40 west of Carmarthen on Saturday (Sept 26) in which a 20-year-old man, a pedestrian, lost his life.

The police have asked The Pembrokeshire Herald to publicise this appeal.

A spokesman for the police told this newspaper: “At around 9.40pm, a white VW Transporter was in collision with a pedestrian on the A40 westbound, near the junction of Llangynog, Carmarthen.

“The pedestrian, a 20-year-old male, died as a result of his injuries.

“It appears the pedestrian had left his vehicle, a black Seat, following a single-vehicle collision further along the westbound carriageway shortly before.

The police have asked that if anyone has any information on either or both collisions, or may have been travelling along the A40 at the relevant time, please contact the serious collision investigation unit, quoting reference DPP-20200926-339.

This can be done by email: contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, by phone on 101 or by text: If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Llanelli becomes a Covid-19 ‘health protection zone’

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RESIDENTS in a large part of Llanelli are being put under new local restrictions in a ‘health protection zone’ following a rapid increase in Covid-19 cases in the area.

The town is seeing a concentrated spread of cases compared with other parts of Carmarthenshire – in the last seven days, 85 positive cases have been identified in Llanelli (151.6 per 100,000 of the population) compared to 24 cases in the rest of Carmarthenshire (18.1 per 100,000 of the population).*

Public Health Wales officials are expecting numbers to continue rising over the coming week.

Carmarthenshire County Council and Hywel Dda University Health Board have worked with the Welsh Government and Public Health Wales to agree the temporary restrictions at sub-county level to try and halt the spread of the virus.

As of 6pm on Saturday September 26, 2020, residents living in defined parts of Llanelli will not be able to visit anyone else’s home, or accept visitors into their home, unless they have a ‘reasonable excuse’ such as providing care for a vulnerable person.

They should not arrange to meet indoors with anyone who they don’t live with, and travel in and out of the ‘health protection zone’ will also be limited – people should not leave the area or travel into the area unless it is essential. Travelling in and out of the zone for a holiday is not considered a reasonable excuse.

People are being asked to wear face coverings anywhere where they cannot maintain a two-metre distance from other people, including collecting children from school, in addition to the rules which already require them to wear a face covering in indoor spaces like shops and on public transport.

All indoor and outdoor visits to residential care homes have also been suspended.

Students may still travel into and out of the ‘health protection zone’ to go to school or college.

People living in the defined area of Llanelli must work from home, and employers must take all reasonable steps to support staff to do so.

Indoor public spaces such as leisure centres should only be used by people living in the defined area.

Shops will remain open, but people living outside the defined area of Llanelli should avoid travelling to visit them and shop in their own locality wherever possible.

The specific wards covered in the defined area of Llanelli are:

  • Bigyn
  • Bynea
  • Dafen
  • Elli
  • Felinfoel
  • Glanymor
  • Hendy
  • Hengoed
  • Llangennech
  • Lliedi
  • Llwynhendy
  • Tyisha
  • Swiss Valley

Although the pattern of increased positive cases is overwhelmingly concentrated in the Llanelli area where the restrictions have been strengthened, the whole of Carmarthenshire has now been put on alert, with a warning that the tighter restrictions may be extended if cases continue to spread.

Everyone – including those in the defined areas of Llanelli – is being urged to follow the national guidance around social distancing, good hygiene, self-isolation, testing and face coverings.

Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, Cllr Emlyn Dole, said: “It is worrying to see how sharply the number of positive cases has risen in the Llanelli area, and action has had to be taken to help stop the spread and break the chain of infections concentrated in this area to prevent a whole county lockdown.

“We must all do the right thing, follow the advice and protect each other. In parts of Llanelli, we’re asking people and businesses to make even greater sacrifices – we fully appreciate the impact this will have, but there is no other way. We must stop the spread.”

A mobile testing unit has been set up in Llanelli to manage the increased demand by local residents who have any of the Covid-19 symptoms – either a high temperature, a change or loss to taste or smell or a new continuous cough.

Reporting of positive cases in the town is fully expected to rise during the next two weeks with the increase in more targeted testing. But this is a positive indicator that cases are being identified and control measures put in place.

Chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board Maria Battle said: “Our local community has given us such tremendous support during the past few months. To protect the health of our people, including the most vulnerable, and to ensure our NHS resources are available to provide people with the care they need; we need the help of our Llanelli population and wider community now more than ever before. Whilst hospital admissions have not yet increased again for COVID cases, we have seen a sharp rise in positive cases in the community, and in time this is likely to have an impact on hospital admissions. The very best way we can support each other and those we love, is to follow local restrictions, minimise our contacts, practice good hygiene and self-isolate and book a test if we have any COVID-19 symptoms.”

Increased testing capacity for residents in Llanelli is available by appointment at the following locations:

  • Parc y Scarlets Car Park B, accessed via Trostre Retail Park, in Llanelli
  • The Ty’r Nant site (next to KFC), Trostre, Llanelli
  • The Carmarthen showground (signposted in both directions off the A40)

There should be no reason for Llanelli residents to travel excessive distances for a test, as there will be tests available in Llanelli and Carmarthen. Tests should be booked via the UK Portal. Any Llanelli residents experiencing difficulty booking a test locally via the UK portal can instead email covidenquiries.hdd@wales.nhs.uk or by calling 0300 333 2222.

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