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Andrew Street Surgery saga ends

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Retired: Dr Pradobh Devichand

Retired: Dr Pradobh Devichand

Nia Griffith told us: “It is imperative that the health board get this sorted out immediately so that patients have a doctor when they call in or turn up ill at the surgery. It was quite clear in the autumn that Dr Devichand was anxious to go as soon as possible. It was very concerning to hear that new arrangements may not be in place until the 1st of August. This is a problem that we want to avoid. Seeing a doctor at the surgery is a key facility when people are ill.”

The Herald met with Labour’s Llanelli AM Candidate Lee Waters and Minister for Health and Social Services Mark Drakeford AM later that morning.

BOARD NEEDS TO ACT

Speaking about the absence of a doctor at the surgery that morning Lee Waters said, “This is something the Health Board needs to sort out. This has been bubbling along for months. They knew the changes were coming. The Health Board have a responsibility to provide a doctor at Andrew Street.

“The situation this morning was alarming. From what I understand they had security present and not doctors. They had the foresight to provide a security guard so they should have had the foresight to supply a doctor. We are putting pressure on them to make sure the patients at Andrew Street have a proper service as soon as possible.”

The Herald asked Mark Drakeford AM what could be done to avoid a similar situation happening again. He said, “Changes in GP services are inevitable in Wales and they are happening in parts of Wales already. We have to strengthen the other members of the primary care team, who can do more to free up GP’s to do the things only a GP can do.

“In the future the relationship a patient will have will be with the whole of the practice and so you have got examples in Wales and in Hywel Dda as well as having a GP in the surgery you have an advanced practice nurse, an advanced practice physiotherapist, a pharmacist who could see lots of the people a doctor would have had to previously see, paramedics working as part of the team; and then doctors, who are the scarcest and most skilled people we have in the system, don’t spend their time seeing people who could be equally, sensibly and properly looked after by somebody else.

“The situation in Andrew Street today is one the Health Board needs to get a grip of. Things did move over the weekend in terms of securing the lease of the premises. There is a plan there to make that service secure for the future. Now we need to make sure that it is delivered and delivered quickly.”

Hywel Dda University Health Board issued a statement following The Herald’s report on Monday morning.

RETIREMENT WAS ‘SHORT NOTICE’

The Board said: ‘Temporary changes to the way some patients are seen at Llanelli’s Andrews Medical Practice have been put in place today, following the short-notice retirement of locum GP Dr Prabodh Devichand on Friday.

‘Patients at the practice will still be seen by doctors and the practice nurse as usual, but clinics will be organised in a different way for a short period of time. The practice nurse will see and triage (assess) patients throughout the morning as usual, and a travelling GP from Rosedale Medical Group will be present at the practice to sign prescriptions, deal with urgent queries and run an afternoon surgery. No patients will be dispersed to other practices.

‘Patients are asked to phone the surgery if they need an appointment, rather than turn up on the day as they would have done; many patients will be able to be treated by other healthcare professionals, but for a short period of time those who need to see a doctor will either be allocated an afternoon clinic slot, or in some instances will need to see the nurse and doctor. Rosedale Medical Group are also finalising plans to put longer-term GP cover in place to provide continuity for patients.

The statement concluded: ‘Patients can also play their part by Choosing Well and ensuring that they find the right service for their individual need, from services that support self-care in the home, to grass-root community support groups, community pharmacies, optometrists and dental services.’

APOLOGY TO PATIENTS

Kathryn Davies, Executive Director of Commissioning, Therapies and Health Science at Hywel Dda, said: “We’d like to reassure patients attending Andrews Medical Practice that they will continue to receive the treatment they require, and that the Practice is working through this temporary change.

“We apologise for any inconvenience to patients caused by this situation due to the short-notice change, and assure patients that every effort is being made to find replacement GPs.”

A spokesperson for Rosedale Medical Group added: “We are working closely with the local health board to provide continuity of GP services at Andrews Medical Practice, following the unexpected departure of Dr. Devichand at very short notice.

“There are temporary measures in place, while we consolidate a suitable long-term plan. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

By the afternoon, The Herald was contacted by Nia Griffith MP who told us: “I have now had reassurances from the Health Board that there will be a doctor at Dr Devichand’s surgery this afternoon.”

For the Board, Kathryn Davies said: “The Health Board and Rosedale Medical Group can confirm that, from [Tuesday, February 2], the Andrews Medical Practice in Llanelli will return to delivering a full GMS service with a full workforce.

“Following the short-notice retirement of Dr Devichand on Friday, a Rosedale GP partner from Neath Port Talbot has now been appointed to work at the practice all day, every day, on an ongoing basis.

“The practice will adopt a new triage system, which will involve all patients phoning in and a doctor then ringing them back to either book them in for an appointment, deal with the problem on the phone, or signpost patients to other healthcare professionals. Details of this system will be fully communicated to the public by the practice.

“It is important to note that patients will always be given a GP appointment if they want to see a GP specifically, and those patients that are invited in will be offered a time slot that is convenient to them.”

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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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