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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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Llanelli: Stop notice issued for school planning application

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A CONTROVERSIAL planning application for a new 480-spaced school in Llanelli has been issued a stop notice by the Welsh Government.
Carmarthenshire County Council is proposing to build a new £9.1m school on Llanerch Fields in Llanelli and were looking to determine the planning application in the coming weeks. Welsh Government will now decide whether to call in the application or not.
The new school would accommodate 420 primary and 60 nursery pupils, set over two floors with larger classrooms with integrated IT facilities, a multi-purpose hall and specialist provision for pupils with additional learning needs.
Over recent years there has been much debate in the area on the choice of site for the new school with campaigners arguing that they support a new school, but object against Llanerch fields being built upon. Last year an attempt to get the land designated as a village green was turned down.
In 2017, Ysgol Dewi Sant as the first Welsh medium primary school to be provided by a local authority celebrated its 70th birthday.
Councillor Rob James, local member for Lliedi, stated “From day one I have raised concerns that the Council’s site choice and planning process opened the Council up to the possibility of the Welsh Government calling in the planning application. It is clear that these concerns were not misplaced and there is now a really chance that it will be. 

“As a local Councillor, a school governor and a parent, I am passionate about the need for a new school for the pupils of Ysgol Dewi Sant and it is important that local pupils get the benefits of a 21st century school.
“I will now be working with Council Officers to ensure that contingency plans are prepared in case the Welsh Government state that the planning application does not comply with national planning policy.
“I will also work with parents, pupils, residents and interested parties are able to engage with the Welsh Government during this process.”

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Third annual Burry Port Raft Race is eagerly awaited

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THE THIRD ANNUAL BURRY PORT RAFT RACE, organised by Burry Port couple, Craig and Isabel Goodman, will be held on Saturday (July 27).

The event which is held in Burry Port Harbour, raises much needed funds for both Burry Port RNLI and a children’s football academy and primary school the couple support in The Gambia.

The day launches at 12pm with stands, food stalls and children’s inflatable games and rides and these will be available until 5pm. You’ll also have a chance to meet the crews, who’ll be busy putting the final touches to their rafts.

Rafts launch at 3pm, followed by a presentation ceremony, including prizes for first raft over the line, first raft to sink and best dressed raft.

Craig said: ” A huge thank you goes to all our sponsors, including overall sponsor Dawsons, along with continued sponsorship from Celtic Couriers, Parker Plant Hire, Burns Pet Nutrition, Burry Port Co-Op, Llanelli Star, LBS Builders Merchants, Burry Port Marina, First Choice Flooring and Pembrey and Burry Port Town Council.

For any further information about the event, please contact 07825 842981.

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Compensation offered after FSCS declares Llanelli firm in default

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CONSUMERS could get back money they have lost as a result of their dealings with a failed regulated firm in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire. The firm is Hayden Williams Independent Financial Services Limited formerly Assura Protect, Room 1, 7 Meadows Bridge, Parc Menter, Cross Hands, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales SA14 6RA.

The firm was declared in default in June 2019 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

FSCS is the UK’s statutory compensation scheme that protects customers of authorised financial services firms that carry out certain regulated activities. A declaration of default means FSCS is satisfied a firm is unable to pay claims for compensation made against it. This paves the way for customers of that firm to make a claim for compensation with FSCS.

Alex Kuczynski, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at FSCS, said: “FSCS steps in to protect consumers around the UK when authorised financial services firms go bust. This vital service, which is free to consumers, protects deposits, insurance, investments, home finance and debt management. We want anyone who believes they may be owed money as a result of their dealings with this firm to get in touch, as we may be able to help you.”

Since it began in 2001, FSCS has helped more than 4.5m people, paying out more than £26bn in compensation.

If you wish to make a claim with FSCS against Hayden Williams Independent Financial Services Limited, you may be able to do so using FSCS’s online claims service at https://claims.fscs.org.uk Or you can contact its Customer Services Team on 0800 678 1100 or 020 7741 4100

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