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Assurances sought over health board review

Thomas Sinclair

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Mark Tierny: “I will play an active role”

Mark Tierny: “I will play an active role”

A LABOUR Assembly candidate has written to Hywel Dda seeking assurances over the transparency of an upcoming review.

Marc Tierney, who will be standing in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire has contacted the Hywel Dda Chief Executive Steve Moore after an independent evaluation of the changes in women and children’s healthcare in west Wales was announced at a meeting in Withybush Hospital last Thursday (May 28).

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) are due to undertake an independent evaluation. Hywel Dda has said that the review will ‘provide an impartial and expert evaluation, including representation from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, plus a midwifery, paediatric and neonatal nursing view, and a lay representative.’

The evaluation was commissioned by Hywel Dda University Health Board following a request by the Welsh Government Health Minister in January 2014 for a formal evaluation after 12 months of the service change on the ‘the impact of the revised neonatal service on newborn outcomes and patient experience’.

Changes to neonatal and maternity services were made in August 2014, when the University Health Board created a single site Special Care Baby Unit at Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen, and established a Midwife Led Unit in Withybush Hospital, with all high risk pregnancies being scheduled for birth, or transferred as necessary, to a Consultant Led Unit at Glangwili Hospital.

In October, the Universiaty Health Board also made changes to paediatric services, establishing a Paediatric Ambulatory Care Unit (or assessment unit) in Withybush Hospital, open 10am-10pm seven days a week, and a PACU and inpatient paediatric ward at Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen.

Marc Tierney, who was present for the announcement of the review at the Health Board meeting last Thursday, said he believed it was important that the process is both transparent and understandable by staff and patients.

“The decision and subsequent removal of services last year was difficult and many of us shared our deep concerns about the process and implementation. The new management has listened to those concerns.

“But I want to be absolutely sure that the review’s terms of reference currently being written will be made public so that patients and staff fully understand the shape of the review and what potential outcomes are possible. The health service needs to prove it can once again be trusted with the way it makes these big decisions.

“To make that a reality, I hope that the Community Health Council (CHC) will play an active role in this review and that local residents who accessed women and children’s services since last August at either Withybush or Glangwili will take part. The health service must open to listening to those patient experiences, and I urge the public to come forward – either to the CHC or the Health Board so that their views are counted.”

The evaluation, scheduled to begin imminently, will assess the services against the benefit criteria identified in ‘Your Health Your Future,’ review the impact and outcomes of the neonatal service change, and determine how the current services meet recognised Royal College standards.

Speaking last week about the review, Mr Moore said: “We acknowledge that there has been significant public concern over the changes we made to some women and children’s services last year, particularly for our population in Pembrokeshire. For this reason, as well as assurance for us as a Board and our patients, an independent expert evaluation is essential.”

Anyone wishing to share their experience as a patient, or family member/carer, can visit www.hywelddahb.wales.nhs.uk/ myexperience and fill in a survey. You can also pick one up from the main reception at hospital or request one by calling 01554 899 056.

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Four charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs

Carli Newell

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FOUR people have been arrested and charged as part of an investigation into an organised crime gang supplying class A drugs from London to Aberystwyth, Llanelli and Swansea.

Dyfed-Powys Police, with support from The Met Police, carried out warrants at four addresses on July 21, resulting in four arrests.

Mohammed Osman, aged 23, Yonis Mohammed, aged 20, Salman Mohamoud, aged 23 – all from Islington – and Amy Simmons, aged 21, from Dulwich were charged with a total of 12 offences:

  • Mohammed Osman: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine,
  • Yonis Mohammed: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.
  • Salman Mohamoud: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine
  • Amy Simmons: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.

All four appeared at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Friday, July 23, where they were remanded in custody. They are due to appear at Swansea Crown Court for their next hearing on August 20.

The investigation is being carried out by the Ceredigion Serious and Organised Crime Team, Aberystwyth CID and the Operation Orochi command of the Met Police.

Detective Sergeant Steve Jones said: “These four arrests and charges are the result of a coordinated approach to target an organised crime gang we believe is running a county lines operation into the Dyfed-Powys Police force area.

“We will continue to work diligently to disrupt gangs of this kind, to prevent the supply of illegal substances into our community.

“I would like to thank all officers involved, as well as the Met Police for their part in the operation.”

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New children’s play area in Bryn as part of new council housing development

Carli Newell

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A NEW children’s play area has opened in time for the summer holidays in Bryn, Llanelli as part of a new £5.9million council housing development.

Carmarthenshire County Council is building 32 new homes on land close to the Dylan housing estate in Bryn.

The scheme will be made up of 22 two-bedroom homes, four two-bedroom bungalows and six four-bedroom homes and is part of the council’s ongoing drive to deliver more affordable homes across the county. It has been part funded through the Welsh Government’s Affordable Housing Grant.

The development also includes a new children’s play area, funded by the council in partnership with Llanelli Rural Council, which will take over the running and maintenance of the play area on completion.

Executive Board Member for Housing Cllr Linda Evans said: “I am delighted the park has been completed in time for the summer holidays for the local children to enjoy.

“We are committed to delivering more affordable housing across Carmarthenshire and this development will benefit dozens of families in Llanelli, as well as proving much needed facilities for the local community.

“I would like to thank the rural council for collaborating with this us on this and I hope the children are thrilled with it.”

Before designing the play area, the rural council liaised with local schoolchildren to find out what play equipment they wanted at their new park.

Llanelli Rural Council Chairman Cllr Tegwen Devichand said: “The council is delighted to be working in partnership with Carmarthenshire County Council to provide this wonderful new play area for the community.

“The opening of the play area couldn’t have been better timed to coincide with the school holidays. I hope the local children will enjoy the range of challenging play equipment on offer and that they have lots of fun using it over the summer.”

The housing development is due to be completed by the beginning of 2022.

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Burry Port Harbour lighthouse overhaul tops council’s £2million investment

Carli Newell

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A £2MILLION investment in Burry Port Harbour is nearing completion, topped off with the iconic lighthouse getting a fresh lick of paint.

Carmarthenshire County Council is behind a range of improvements to maintain and restore the historic harbour which is one of the county’s most loved and well visited beauty spots.

Restoration of the Grade II listed harbour walls, undertaken under the guidance of CADW, will conclude within the next few weeks.

The council has also been working alongside The Marine Group, which operates the harbour, to improve mooring facilities. They are working closely with fishermen to bid for funding for new commercial pontoon infrastructure.

It will add to investment made over previous years which saw the council spend almost £1.5million on new pontoons, and over £300,000 in maintaining the harbour railings and bridge.

A local operator has agreed a lease for a cafe and public toilets on east side of Harbour, and the refurbishment of the old RNLI harbour office has recently started by The Marine Group (TMG) to create a harbour-side coffee house.

TMG has also invested in a state-of-the-art dredger which arrived at the harbour last autumn. Dredging is well underway and will continue until targeted depths are reached.

Boat lifting equipment and new fuelling points are also planned.

The council has introduced community safety officers to patrol the harbour assisting tourists and local people during the summer months, especially to advise around Covid regulations, as part of a tourism hotspot plan to take care of issues such as parking, litter, street cleansing, enforcement and signage.

Temporary car parking surfacing has also been laid on the east side along with new pay and display facilities ahead of a wider multi-million regeneration plan that will transform the harbour with a mix of housing, commercial and leisure space covering around 13 acres of prime development site.

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “We are proud of our continued investment in Burry Port Harbour. We are spending millions restoring and maintaining historic features that are much-loved by local people and visitors who come from far and wide to enjoy what the harbour has to offer.

“We continue to work closely alongside The Marine Group and Pembrey and Burry Port Town Council to plan and prioritise works and ongoing maintenance. We are as keen as everyone else to ensure it is well-maintained and continues to be a place people can enjoy.

“We appreciate that there has been some upheaval during these improvement works but we ask people to understand that our investment will make Burry Port Harbour an even better place for the future.”

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