LLANELLI MP Nia Griffith is backing a petition to make a doctor’s surgery in Llanelli a managed surgery.
Suzy Curry, a patient at the Andrew Street surgery, started the petition, which reads: ‘We the undersigned, (many of whom are patients of Dr Devichand) call on the Hywel Dda University Health Board to take over the running of Dr Devichand’s surgery as a managed practice, to ensure the continuity of care of his patients’.
Dr. Devichand is due to retire in September of this year and he has given notice to that effect to the Hywel Dda University Health Board. As a result the board have decided to launch a public consultation in order to decide the fate of up to 3,000 of Dr. Devichand’s patients and a large number of staff employed at the Andrew Street and Dafen surgery as well as at the Dafen pharmacy. At present there are a number of managed doctor’s surgeries around Carmarthenshire.
Dr. Devichand told the Herald: “I am 71 in September and so I told the health board I was going to retire. I have given three months’ notice. After they got that notice they told me that they would let me know what they were going to do with the practice.”
Dr Devichand continued: “The local medical committee and community health council are supportive of the practice being managed. They can put in a salaried doctor; it isn’t a new thing it is being done all the time. The vacant practice panel makes the final decision and they have asked to advertise to see if someone wants to take over the practice, which is a long shot. They have also asked for a public consultation.”
Pointing out the difficulty of locating appropriate GP services, Dr Devichand said: “There are 35 or more GP’s and they could go to them but they do not wish to take on the practice list. It is a big uncertainty for some seriously ill patients, some with cancer and mental health problems. They may find themselves without adequate provision.”
With his retirement not long away, Dr Devichand looked forward to the potential for healthcare issues later in the year: “In October we start doing immunisation for flu. I have to order these in advance but I have had to negotiate and delay the orders. The flu clinics and the nurses also have to be booked. Employment wise I have 11 staff members. If it is managed they will continue otherwise they may have to seek other employment. I have a surgery in Dafen and it also supports a pharmacy. It has been proposed that the health board makes this a managed surgery and employs a salaried G.P., which they could do in newer premises.”
Marjorie Roberts, one of Dr Devichand’s patients, said: “It is terrible. My argument is that this surgery works perfectly. It is a system I remember as a child. You can walk in and see a doctor without an appointment. Dr. Devichand gives us time. If it is not broken don’t fix it. My husband couldn’t come today because he is unwell. Where would we go if this were closed?”
Another patient, Brenda Edmunds, told The Herald: “I am very sad because we have a marvellous surgery here. Dr. Devichand saved my life he is a wonderful doctor. I can’t understand the delay in making this a managed surgery. I am an ex nurse and I think they just want to bring in a new system.”
Speaking to The Herald about the campaign to retain the surgery’s services, Nia Griffth MP said: “The GP service is the front line of the health service. We know Dr. Devichand cannot go on forever and it is high time the health board gets the plans in place so that in September there will be a proper managed service. You know that other services are crowded out and we need prompt action to ensure they put in G.P.s to look after everyone here and at the Dafen surgery.”
She concluded by praising Dr Devichand’s commitment to his practice: “We know that what Dr. Devichand does here is equivalent to the work of two doctors and we will be looking for at least that amount from the health board. We very much hope we will get an answer soon so that people can get the reassurance and not be worrying what’s going to happen come September.”
We asked the Local Health Board to comments and were provided with the following statement:
‘Dr Prabodh Devichand, a well-regarded and supported GP who has worked for over 30 years in Llanelli, will retire from the Andrew Street practice on September 30.
Hywel Dda University Health Board (UHB) will now seek to identify whether there is another group of GPs who would like to take on the Practice. This opportunity is currently being advertised.
In the interest of openness and clarity with patients, the Health Board is sharing that should no interest in taking on the practice be received, it may be an option that patients are registered with one of the other practices close to where they live. However, no decisions have been made and this will depend on whether a new provider is found, the outcome of patient feedback and our ongoing discussions with other practices. Hywel Dda UHB will provide regular updates to keep patients and stakeholders informed’.
Elaine Lorton, Assistant Director of Primary Care for Hywel Dda UHB, said: “First, I would like to thank Dr Devichand. The Health Board recognises how difficult a decision it was for Dr Devichand to retire after so many years of service to the community and appreciates the support many patients have already given him. We wish him every happiness for the future and we’d like to reassure Andrew Street patients that Hywel Dda UHB is working hard to make sure that the transition from one GP to a new service is completed smoothly. Following this news, we are in the process of writing to patients registered at the Andrew Street practice to keep them informed. We would like to hear from them regarding what matters most and any concerns they may have. The letter will include a questionnaire which we are asking all patients to please take the opportunity to complete and return to the freepost address provided by July 31.”
Hywel Dda UHB understands how important it is that it hears what Andrew Street patients have to say as the final decision has not yet been made. In addition to the questionnaire, Hywel Dda UHB will hold a drop in session at the Selwyn Samuel Centre between 12-2pm on Wednesday July 22 if anyone would like to come and speak to us about this change, ask any questions you may have or to let Hywel Dda UHB know your views.
If Andrew Street patients have any queries they are asked to contact Ceinwen Richards, Senior Primary Care Locality Development Manager on 07805 799658 or Hywel Dda UHB’s Patient Support Services on 0300 0200 159.
Tir Coed build outdoor classroom for Cross Hands Primary
The local charity Tir Coed teamed up with Cross Hands Primary School to design and install a locally grown woodland shelter to enable primary school pupils to benefit from outdoor lessons-even when
the rain pours!
Last year Cross Hands Primary School received funding from Carmarthenshire is Kind for their intergenerational project. The project brought the schoolchildren together with older people in the community. Through intergenerational activities, everyone involved increases social connectedness, reduces social isolation, learns from one another and has a great time!
Before the lockdown, Tir Coed was contracted to lead a group mainly made up of parents from the school on a shelter-building course. The attendees would gain knowledge and skills and the children and the older people would be able to use the shelter, a third generation now included in this
fantastic project. The plans, however, had to change due to restrictions and in an effort to have it ready for the children when they returned to school, three intrepid Activity Leaders braved the wet August weather to build the beautiful shelter .
Studies have shown that being in the outdoors significantly reduces the risk of spreading the Corona Virus. With this addition to their already impressive outdoor area, it is hoped that more learning can
take place outside the classroom. Deputy Head, Emma Walters said, “It looks amazing! I am very impressed with the shelter and I cannot thank Tir Coed enough for organising this. Additional covered space in the outdoors will mean that we can take more learning into our lovely nature
If you would like to find out more about the work of Tir Coed or have a project you would like our help with you can contact Nancy, the Carmarthenshire Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org
Local sailor taking on virtual London marathon
A local sailor based in the Falkland Islands will be taking on the Virtual London Marathon this October to raise money for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.
Curtis Bowen, 24, from Llanelli, South Wales, was due to take on the London Marathon for SSAFA this April, but following the Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown, the race was cancelled.
Fortunately, the London Marathon team created the Virtual London Marathon in its place, allowing runners to take on the challenge virtually alongside thousands of other runners on the 4th October.
Curtis said: “It was a shame that the London Marathon couldn’t go ahead as planned in April, but I think it is amazing that I am still able to partake whilst being in the Falkland Islands. I’m the first person to ever run the London Marathon in the Falkland Islands.”
Curtis is currently serving in the Royal Navy, as a Leading Supply Chain Logistician, and has served for four years. His Father also served in the Royal Navy for twenty-three years.
The live virtual event on Sunday 4th October will invite runners to run the London Marathon in their own way, joining up to 45,000 runners up and down the country – and across the world – in the virtual 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon, The 40th Race.
Curtis decided to raise money for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity after being an avid supporter of the charity and being inspired by his Father, Andrew, who raised over £6,000 for SSAFA.
“I chose to run the London Marathon for SSAFA to challenge myself and raise awareness for a great cause. My younger brother sadly took his own life a couple of years ago and I know that SSAFA are there to support those struggling with their Mental Health. I want to raise as much money as I can to support those struggling within the Armed Forces community.”
“My Father was also supposed to be running the London Marathon this year, but will now be completing the challenge virtually, alongside my brother, Luke, 12,000km away in South Wales.”
If you would like to support Curtis, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Andrew-Bowen-London-marathon2020
NHS COVID-19 app launches across Wales
People are being urged to download the NHS COVID-19 app to help stop the spread of coronavirus and protect themselves and their loved ones as case numbers rise.
The app launches today [Thursday 24] after positive trials and will be a useful tool when used alongside Wales’ successful manual contact tracing system.
It will be available to those aged 16 and over, and forms a central part of the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect programme identifying contacts of those who have tested positive for coronavirus.
The roll-out of the app in Wales coincides with a national campaign around how people in Wales can best support the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect programme, including only getting a test if they are showing symptoms; self-isolating when required; and working with local contact tracers if they are contacted.
Wales’ contact tracing system – which is a publicly-run service and locally delivered – is working well and has seen a very high contract and trace rate. Latest stats show 94% of cases are being successfully contacted.
The app works by logging the amount of time you spend near other app users, and the distance between you, so it can alert you if someone you have been close to later tests positive for COVID-19 – even if you don’t know each other.
The app will advise you to self-isolate if you have been in close contact with a confirmed case. It will also enable you to check symptoms, book a test if needed and get your test results.
Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething said:
“The launch of the NHS COVID-19 app is an important part of Wales’ coronavirus response, supporting the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect programme. The more people who download and use this app, the more it will help us to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We have worked closely with the app development team to ensure it works seamlessly across Wales and England, providing people with the right advice based on where they live. In Wales, the app will complement our existing contact tracing and testing services and will further support our co-ordinated response to COVID-19 at both a local and national level.
“I strongly encourage everyone in Wales to download and use the app to keep Wales safe.”
The app has been designed with user privacy in mind, so it tracks the virus, not people and uses the latest in data security technology to protect privacy. The system generates a random ID for an individual’s device, which can be exchanged between devices via Bluetooth. These unique random IDs regenerate frequently to add an extra layer of security and preserve anonymity.
The app does not hold personal information such as your name, address or date of birth, and only requires the first half of your postcode to ensure local outbreaks can be managed.
Today the UK’s major mobile network operators, including Vodafone, Three, EE and O2, Sky and Virgin, have confirmed that all in-app activity will not come out of customers’ data allowance.
In a joint statement Apple and Google said:
“We built the exposure notifications system to enable public health authorities in their efforts to develop apps to help reduce the spread of the virus while ensuring people can trust in the privacy-preserving design. We are committed to supporting the government’s effort to launch an app based on this technology.”
Whilst the app will be a major support for the contact tracing system, Welsh residents are being reminded to continue to keep Wales safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19 by:
• Always keeping a distance
• Washing hands regularly
• Working from home wherever possible
• Following local restrictions
• Following the rules about meeting people
• Staying at home if you or anyone in your extended household has symptoms.
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