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Families ‘distraught’ as council ends contract

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dorothy mcdonald

‘We have been treated unfairly’: Dorothy McDonald, founder and trustee of the home in Glanamman

A SMALL care home providing facilities for dementia sufferers has had its contract with Carmarthenshire County Council terminated at short notice, The Herald can reveal.
The families of Hafan Croeso Care Home’s clients have been informed of the decision, which will involve removing their relatives from the care home they have lived in for the last ten years.
Dennis King Chair of Amman Care told the Herald: “We had notice on Tuesday that social services were finishing their contracts with us from this Friday (Jun 26). Until then we had no idea that the council were planning to remove our clients on such short notice. There are no other facilities like ours. We are the only specialist providers for dementia care in Carmarthenshire.”
Mr King pointed out that the home was run by volunteers and that Welsh Minister Edwina Hart said it was a model she would like to see throughout Wales. He also told us: “We also had the older people’s commissioner come down and she said if she had to go into a care home it would be this one!”
Dorothy McDonald is a trustee at Amman Care and she told the Herald: “We run a small community home in Ammanford. We have had problems trying to keep managers over the years. The manger we have is leaving on Friday. We appointed a new manager last Thursday and informed CSSIW and Social services but they had already placed an embargo on us. We couldn’t admit any new residents.”
Dorothy explained the steps taken to resolve the situation: “We went to see Neil Edwards, the Adult Safeguarding and Commissioning Manager for the local authority. He told us there would be a meeting to decide what would happen. We called him but he only came to the phone when Cllr Tegwen Devichand said he had two choices, either see us or we would go to press. We didn’t hear anymore from Neil until noon on Tuesday, when a letter containing all sorts of legal jargon was delivered to the home. Then, at 5pm, one of the staff rang me to ask if I knew that social services were removing the seven residents this Friday.”
Ms McDonald went on to say: “The families are very distressed and fearful about the effect of the sudden move on their loved ones. There should have been consultation Where are their human rights? We have been forbidden from contacting the families but they have been in touch with us. They are distraught.”
Expressing further concerns about the way events had developed, Dorothy told us: “David Jenkins is our councillor and he didn’t even know what was happening. Surely he should know as deputy leader.”
The Herald contacted CSSIW, which is responsible for inspecting care and social services in Wales, who told us: “We’re aware that the provider has been without both a Responsible Individual since May 29 and as of Friday 26 June will also be without a Registered Manager. This presents a significant risk to the safety and wellbeing of the vulnerable people living in the home, and we are seeking assurances from the provider on the arrangements in place after the Registered Manager has left post, to ensure that existing residents continue to receive appropriate care. In the meantime, and until we are satisfied with the management arrangements, we have issued a condition that prevents the provider taking on new residents into Hafan Croeso Care Home. We have been advised that Carmarthenshire County Council intends to terminate its contract with the care home with effect from Friday June 26, and we are also seeking assurances from the council on the continuity of care for existing residents.”
Mrs McDonald was asked what her next steps would be and she said: “Our next step is to get legal advice and see how we can get our clients back. It seems the authority have been down on us for a while. They tell us not to get involved but when something goes wrong they blame us.”
She concluded: “Our local representatives were not told anything about this. David Jenkins has been supportive and we hope he will help us now. There is a shortage of care managers in Wales. We have been treated unfairly and what they are doing is denying help and care to people in need. It is an injustice. None of us claim travelling expenses and we are all over 80 ourselves.”
The Herald contacted the local authority for a response but had received none by the time this story went to press.
Local MP Jonathan Edwards told The Herald: “We know there is a shortage of dementia care services in Carmarthenshire. It is crucial such services – which have been established and operated by the good will of so many volunteers – are encouraged in our community.
“I am surprised at how quickly this process has moved and I urge the local authority and home to work together as closely as possible. The care provided to what are extremely vulnerable residents is paramount at this time.”
Jake Morgan, Director of Community Services, said: “Carmarthenshire County Council’s priority is to support vulnerable users and their families to receive safe and high quality care. We agree with the position of the CSSIW that this provider falls short of the standards we should all expect. As of today all but one resident has moved to more suitable providers.
“We will continue to work with Hafan Croeso to assist them in developing plans to deliver the quality of care that both the county council and the CSSIW require and we are sure they would wish to provide.”

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Health

Those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster should get jabbed by end of June

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ALL those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster are being urged to take up their offer of the vaccine before the end of next month.

A deadline of 30 June has been introduced to ensure all those eligible for the spring booster will have a long-enough interval between this and the autumn 2022 booster, if they are also eligible.

An announcement by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) about which groups will be eligible for the autumn booster is due to be published shortly.

The JCVI has advised that people over-75, older care home residents and all those aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed are eligible for the spring booster.

Those who are 75 on or before 30 June, can get their booster at any point up to the deadline.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “It is important we continue our very high take up levels of the vaccine to help protect us against the risk of serious illness from Covid-19. I would urge everyone who is offered a spring booster vaccination takes up the invitation.”

If someone eligible for a spring booster has had a Covid infection recently, they will need to wait 28 days from the date they tested positive before they can be vaccinated. They will still be able to get vaccinated after 30 June as part of this campaign if they have to postpone their appointment.

All those eligible for spring boosters will be invited by their health board or GP.

It is not too late for anyone who needs a primary dose (first, second or third) to be vaccinated.

Please check for local arrangements.

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Health

Young people in Wales being failed when moving from child to adult mental health services

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MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES are failing young people when they move from child to adult services, says a mental health charity.

Mind Cymru is calling for Welsh Government to make urgent changes to improve the system.

Nia Evans, Children and Young People Manager at Mind Cymru, said: “Young people have told us that their needs, thoughts, and feelings about moving to adult services are often unheard, or ignored.

“Welsh Government must support Local Health Boards to make sure this doesn’t happen, change the way services are run and make sure our young people are being heard and properly cared for.”

Mind Cymru has published a report, in ate the result of interviews with young people about their experiences of moving from Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – (SCAMHS) to AMHS.

They highlighted five key areas where services are failing young people:
– Poor information offered to young people, particularly on their rights
– Inconsistent use and follow through of care and treatment plans
– High thresholds for SCAMHS and AMHS referrals to be accepted
– Feeling abandoned / cut off from SCAMHS
– Age still dominates decision making process for moving from SCAMHS to AMHS

Nia Evans said: “Any one of these issues could make the process of moving from children’s services to adult services difficult for our young people. But often, more than one is happening at any one time.”

“Our young people have a right to care and support from a mental health system that has been put in place to help them recover. Action must be taken immediately to make sure support systems are robust and doing the job they were designed to do.”

Mind Cymru is asking people to email their Member of the Senedd (MS) and amplify the voices of these young people whose experiences are often unheard, and use the #SortTheSwitch hashtag on social media.

The full report is available here, including what a good move from SCAMHS to AMHS would look like for young people, and where the current system could improve.

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Business

Average UK price of diesel hits record of more than £1.80 a litre

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LESS than two months after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a 5p a litre cut on the average price of fuel – diesel prices have reached a record high price of 180.29p a litre.
The previous high of 179.90p was recorded on March 23rd 2022 – the day of the Spring Statement from Sunak.

In recent weeks, the UK government has tried to move away from its reliance on importing Russian oil, following President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Worryingly for drivers of petrol cars, the price per litre is fast approaching the record levels of 167.3p per litre set on March 22nd.

This latest price rise adds another challenge to UK households, as the cost of living crisis continues to impact families across the country.

RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Sadly, despite the Chancellor’s 5p a litre duty cut the average price of a litre of diesel has hit a new record high at 180.29p.”

“Efforts to move away from importing Russian diesel have led to a tightening of supply and pushed up the price retailers pay for diesel.”

“While the wholesale price has eased in the last few days this is likely to be temporary, especially if the EU agrees to ban imports of Russian oil.”

“Unfortunately, drivers with diesel vehicles need to brace themselves for yet more pain at the pumps. Had Mr Sunak reduced VAT to 15% as we call on him to do instead of cutting duty by 5p, drivers of diesel vehicles would be around 2p a litre better off, or £1 for every full tank.”

“As it is, drivers are still paying 27p VAT on petrol and 29p on diesel, which is just the same as before the Spring Statement.”

“The average price of petrol is also on the rise having gone up nearly 3p a litre since the start of the month to 166.65p which means it’s less than a penny away from the all-time high of 167.30p set on 22 March.”

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