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Fears that Andrew St Surgery could close

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‘Up in the air’: Dr Devichand will shut doors unless lease is agreed

‘Up in the air’: Dr Devichand will shut doors unless lease is agreed

WORRIED patients from the Andrew Street Surgery, Llanelli, contacted the Herald reporting rumours that the Dr Devichand was leaving the practice on Jan 29.

We contacted County Councillor Jan Williams, who is a also a patient at the Andrew Street surgery. Cllr Williams confirmed that Dr. Devichand had indicated that he was leaving the surgery.

She told The Herald: “It is an absolute tragedy. I am not sure if Dr. Devichand will go through with it but if he does then there will be people in a very difficult position, many of those people are already suffering from medical conditions such as heart problems. I hope that this can be sorted out very quickly for everyone concerned.”

Dr Devichand has a surgery in Andrew Street and a surgery in Dafen. At an initial meeting between the new doctors and Dr Devichand’s patients in September last year, Dr Huw Perry told patients that there had been a lot of uncertainty and anxiety but that nothing was going to change for some time. Dr Perry told patients that Dr Devichand would stay as long as he wanted to and that upon his retirement other doctors would service the practice.

That time it seems has now come as Dr Devichand confirmed to The Herald that he intends leaving with effect from the evening of Friday (Jan 29).

All seemed well, until earlier this month. At that time, The Herald was contacted by patients from Dr Devichand’s rpactice in Andrew Street who raised concerns amid rumours that the surgery would be moving to a Portakabin at Prince Phillip Hospital. Patients told The Herald that they had not seen the doctors who were meant to be taking over the practice and that Dr Devichand himself was still running the surgery.

Dr Williams, of the new GP partnership, told The Herald that the practice was certainly not moving to a portacabin at Prince Phillip Hospital but said that the location in Andrew Street and the site in Dafen were not fit for purpose. He also stressed that the new practice members were in the process of finding an appropriate location with a timeline of 29 weeks to do so.

Dr Williams said: “We are in the hands of the people who are responsible for the NHS estates and they know what kind of place that resembles a health care facility. We have moved into several new buildings in the past and you just can’t just move into an empty building. The building is the issue and it will get rectified.”

This week matters have come to a head. Dr Devichand told The Herald he has been trying to arrange a lease for the new practice to use his existing surgeries until the new premises are available but has not been able to get any answers.

He told The Herald: “I have given an ultimatum to the new doctors. Unless a lease is signed in the next three days, the surgeries will not be available for them to work from.”

Dr Devichand continued: “It has all been up in the air. I sent an email to the new doctors saying that I am finishing on the evening of January 29th and I sent a copy to Hywel Dda Health Board. That means that unless a lease is signed the surgery will not be available from February 1 onwards. If that happens then there will be uncertainty for both staff and patients. I don’t want patients to suffer but unless this is resolved the premises will not be available as from Monday, February 1.”

The Herald contacted the Hywel Dda Health Board following Dr Devichand’s announcement that he was going to finish work.

Elaine Lorton Assistant Director of Primary Care said: “The terms for the lease of the building have been agreed and we are currently in communication with Dr Devichand to finalise this. We cannot comment on staff or equipment matters as this forms part of private internal discussions between Dr Devichand and the contract holder, which the Health Board is not party to. We expect the surgery to be open as usual on Monday morning.”

We contacted the other doctors concerned but at the time of going to press we had not received any reply.

Shadow Secretary of State for Wales Nia Griffith MP said: “It is vital that the immediate arrangements at the surgeries are sorted out as soon as possible so that there is no disruption to services for patients, when Dr Devichand finishes this week. I have also stressed to the Hywel Dda Health Board the urgency of finding appropriate premises for the new GPs, as has been agreed, because I know that uncertainty about the future is causing anxiety to some patients, and we’d all like to see matters settled.”

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Conservatives in disarray over alleged Christmas party lockdown breach

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THE CONSERVATIVE Party is investigating the attendance of senior Senedd members and staff at a Christmas party held during December’s lockdown.

Lockdown restrictions prohibit mixing with people outside your own household.

The Welsh restrictions barring such gatherings follow the basic outline of those imposed by the Conservative UK Government in December.

Those attending the drinks party included Paul Smith, the Conservative Chief of Staff at the Senedd, Darren Millar, the Party’s Chief Whip and campaign coordinator, and Preseli Pembrokeshire MS and Conservative Senedd Group Leader Paul Davies.

The Herald understands that a Labour Senedd Member who attended the Party has been suspended by the Labour Senedd Group pending its own investigation.

The Conservatives’ embarrassment at talking the talk but not walking the walk is intensified by Darren Millar’s presence at the shindig.

In May, Mr Millar led calls for Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething to be sacked for eating a bag of chips in a park with one of his own children.

If the Conservative Party follows the logic of their previously stated positions, Mr Millar’s and Mr Davies’ futures look bleak indeed.

With a Senedd election only months away, the revelations have thrown the Conservatives into disarray.

If they do nothing, the Conservatives will – at the very least – face claims they are hypocrites.

If the Conservative Party acts decisively, it faces massive internal problems.

The Conservatives responded to our request for a response to our story.

Those involved stressed they did not host a Christmas Party.

The incident happened on December 8, when the above met in the members’ tea room to discuss legislation for possible inclusion in the Welsh Conservative manifesto with a Labour backbencher.

During the evening they did drink a glass or two of wine.

They stress that at no point were there more than four people in the room at any one time and that they maintained social distancing.

A joint statement from Paul Davies, Darren Millar, and Paul Smith said: “We are profoundly sorry for our actions.

“While we did not break the rules, we recognise that what was part of a day’s work would not be seen to be following the spirit of them, especially given the tough time the country has been going through.”

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Family tribute to Carole Patricia Fowler

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Carole was a teacher for 30 years at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Llanelli. She loved children and they loved her. 

As one of her past colleagues said: “I know she made such a difference to every child she taught.” She was very popular with staff and well respected and loved by parents. She was dedicated and conscientious, always 100% for the children. She led the music there and was always popular with her guitar accompaniments for services and concerts. 

Likewise, she was a valued member of the choir at Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, Gendros, Swansea, where she would often accompany hymns with her guitar and gave guitar lessons to the children in the church’s Saturday Music Club. She was also a keen member of Côr Persain, Ammanford. 

She was talented, loved and in demand. A convicted and devout Catholic all her life, through good and bad.

Carole was an avid and very gifted crocheter and was always crocheting or knitting something for someone. She had been spending her time recently, during the Covid crisis, crocheting NHS teddies in scrubs and rainbows, with many given to practising nurses. Carole had recently started learning to make bobbin lace. She was also capable of some very decent sewing, too. 

She was also learning Welsh, doing ‘pilates’ and was considering taking up yoga lessons as well.

She was a busy lady! As one of her work colleagues said of her: “She was wise, strong, beautiful, generous, devout and feisty. And I loved her for all those qualities.”

Above all, she was an immeasurably loved Mam, daughter, sister and a doting Mamgu and so much loved by her fiancé. Having been together for 14 years, they would have been married last July 20th had covid allowed! 

Her premature passing at 61 is tragic and she is already sorely, painfully missed. She leaves behind a huge chasm in so many hearts that cannot be filled.

“Eternal rest grant unto her, o Lord, may perpetual light shine about her, may she rest in peace.”

If anyone witnessed the collision or may have been travelling on the M4 at the relevant time, please contact the Serious Collision Unit quoting police reference DPP-20210113-317

Police can be contacted either online at: bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, 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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Tip off leads to pensioner’s drug stash

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A BRIEFCASE full of drugs has been recovered during a raid in Swansea suburb.
Police acting on information provided by a member of the public executed a warrant in Gorseinon and recovered a large quantity of cannabis.
A man was arrested on suspicion of possession of the class B drug, with intent to supply.
A South Wales Police spokesman said: “At around 5.40pm on Wednesday, January 6, following an intelligence led operation, a 68 year-old man from Gorseinon was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply cannabis.
“He was taken to Swansea central police station for questioning. He has been released under investigation”.

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