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Campaign to save GP surgery

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Nia Griffith MP and Dr. Devichand: With patients at the Andrew Street surgery

Nia Griffith MP and Dr. Devichand: With patients at the Andrew Street
surgery

LLANELLI MP Nia Griffith is backing a petition to make a doctor’s surgery in Llanelli a managed surgery.

Suzy Curry, a patient at the Andrew Street surgery, started the petition, which reads: ‘We the undersigned, (many of whom are patients of Dr Devichand) call on the Hywel Dda University Health Board to take over the running of Dr Devichand’s surgery as a managed practice, to ensure the continuity of care of his patients’.

Dr. Devichand is due to retire in September of this year and he has given notice to that effect to the Hywel Dda University Health Board. As a result the board have decided to launch a public consultation in order to decide the fate of up to 3,000 of Dr. Devichand’s patients and a large number of staff employed at the Andrew Street and Dafen surgery as well as at the Dafen pharmacy. At present there are a number of managed doctor’s surgeries around Carmarthenshire.

Dr. Devichand told the Herald: “I am 71 in September and so I told the health board I was going to retire. I have given three months’ notice. After they got that notice they told me that they would let me know what they were going to do with the practice.”

Dr Devichand continued: “The local medical committee and community health council are supportive of the practice being managed. They can put in a salaried doctor; it isn’t a new thing it is being done all the time. The vacant practice panel makes the final decision and they have asked to advertise to see if someone wants to take over the practice, which is a long shot. They have also asked for a public consultation.”

Pointing out the difficulty of locating appropriate GP services, Dr Devichand said: “There are 35 or more GP’s and they could go to them but they do not wish to take on the practice list. It is a big uncertainty for some seriously ill patients, some with cancer and mental health problems. They may find themselves without adequate provision.”

With his retirement not long away, Dr Devichand looked forward to the potential for healthcare issues later in the year: “In October we start doing immunisation for flu. I have to order these in advance but I have had to negotiate and delay the orders. The flu clinics and the nurses also have to be booked. Employment wise I have 11 staff members. If it is managed they will continue otherwise they may have to seek other employment. I have a surgery in Dafen and it also supports a pharmacy. It has been proposed that the health board makes this a managed surgery and employs a salaried G.P., which they could do in newer premises.”

Marjorie Roberts, one of Dr Devichand’s patients, said: “It is terrible. My argument is that this surgery works perfectly. It is a system I remember as a child. You can walk in and see a doctor without an appointment. Dr. Devichand gives us time. If it is not broken don’t fix it. My husband couldn’t come today because he is unwell. Where would we go if this were closed?”

Another patient, Brenda Edmunds, told The Herald: “I am very sad because we have a marvellous surgery here. Dr. Devichand saved my life he is a wonderful doctor. I can’t understand the delay in making this a managed surgery. I am an ex nurse and I think they just want to bring in a new system.”

Speaking to The Herald about the campaign to retain the surgery’s services, Nia Griffth MP said: “The GP service is the front line of the health service. We know Dr. Devichand cannot go on forever and it is high time the health board gets the plans in place so that in September there will be a proper managed service. You know that other services are crowded out and we need prompt action to ensure they put in G.P.s to look after everyone here and at the Dafen surgery.”

She concluded by praising Dr Devichand’s commitment to his practice: “We know that what Dr. Devichand does here is equivalent to the work of two doctors and we will be looking for at least that amount from the health board. We very much hope we will get an answer soon so that people can get the reassurance and not be worrying what’s going to happen come September.”

We asked the Local Health Board to comments and were provided with the following statement:

‘Dr Prabodh Devichand, a well-regarded and supported GP who has worked for over 30 years in Llanelli, will retire from the Andrew Street practice on September 30.

Hywel Dda University Health Board (UHB) will now seek to identify whether there is another group of GPs who would like to take on the Practice. This opportunity is currently being advertised.

In the interest of openness and clarity with patients, the Health Board is sharing that should no interest in taking on the practice be received, it may be an option that patients are registered with one of the other practices close to where they live. However, no decisions have been made and this will depend on whether a new provider is found, the outcome of patient feedback and our ongoing discussions with other practices. Hywel Dda UHB will provide regular updates to keep patients and stakeholders informed’.

Elaine Lorton, Assistant Director of Primary Care for Hywel Dda UHB, said: “First, I would like to thank Dr Devichand. The Health Board recognises how difficult a decision it was for Dr Devichand to retire after so many years of service to the community and appreciates the support many patients have already given him. We wish him every happiness for the future and we’d like to reassure Andrew Street patients that Hywel Dda UHB is working hard to make sure that the transition from one GP to a new service is completed smoothly. Following this news, we are in the process of writing to patients registered at the Andrew Street practice to keep them informed. We would like to hear from them regarding what matters most and any concerns they may have. The letter will include a questionnaire which we are asking all patients to please take the opportunity to complete and return to the freepost address provided by July 31.”

Hywel Dda UHB understands how important it is that it hears what Andrew Street patients have to say as the final decision has not yet been made. In addition to the questionnaire, Hywel Dda UHB will hold a drop in session at the Selwyn Samuel Centre between 12-2pm on Wednesday July 22 if anyone would like to come and speak to us about this change, ask any questions you may have or to let Hywel Dda UHB know your views.

If Andrew Street patients have any queries they are asked to contact Ceinwen Richards, Senior Primary Care Locality Development Manager on 07805 799658 or Hywel Dda UHB’s Patient Support Services on 0300 0200 159.

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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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