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.”
Station Road: Off-licence refused alcohol licence
AN OFF-LICENCE on Llanelli’s Station Road has been refused an alcohol licence by Carmarthenshire County Council after councillors decided it could add to the area’s crime and disorder problems.
The Licensing Committee’s decision has been upheld after the applicant, who runs the shop Kubus, appealed to the courts.
The applicant, Aram Mahmood, had asked the council for permission to sell alcohol at his shop between 9am and 9pm Monday to Sunday.
However councillors felt that granting the licence would contravene the authority’s Cumulative Impact Policy, which creates a presumption against the granting of premises licences in the Station Road area, due to anti-social behaviour and alcohol-fuelled crime issues.
A Dyfed Powys Police representative said Station Road is still identified as a crime and disorder hot spot, and a Drinking in Public Places Order (DPPO) is in place.
During April 2017 and March 2018, 164 anti-social behaviour incidents were recorded in Station Road, over a quarter having occurred within licensed premises.
A fifth of all related crime and 13 per cent of all alcohol related anti-social behavior incidents recorded in Llanelli town occurred in Station Road.
Over 40 alcohol related violent crimes were also recorded there during the same period.
Although there are now fewer premises selling alcohol in Station Road, statistics show there is still a high level of alcohol related crime and disorder in the area.
The applicant told the committee that his main customers were families wishing to buy Polish and European foods and products.
He told councillors he had ordered a CCTV system and assured them that the management of alcohol would be well controlled by staff, though believed that his customers would not cause problems.
The licensing committee’s decision was upheld following the applicant’s appeal to Llanelli Magistrates Court.
Justices found that there was no evidence of exceptional reasons to justify departing from the Cumulative Impact Policy and were satisfied with the committee’s decision.
Cllr Kevin Madge elected as new county council Chairman
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.
‘UK Government should work with the Welsh Labour Government on Tata’
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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