AT WEDNESDAYS (Dec 9) meeting of Carmarthenshire County Council, Labour leader Jeff Edmunds raised concerns regarding the council’s involvement in the COASTAL care scheme. Referring to revelations in the last two weeks’ editions of the Carmarthenshire Herald, reporting instances of mismanagement and financial irregularities in the scheme’s operation. By reference to a cache of internal council documents, The Herald was able to demonstrate that the Council was well-aware of instances of mismanagement and embarked upon a policy of falsification of time and staffing records in an effort to obscure its maladministration of millions of pounds of public money.
Following a spiky exchange between himself and Council Chair Peter Hughes Griffiths, Cllr Edmunds asked Executive Board Member Jane Tremlett to facilitate a public inquiry into financial and management irregularities in the County Council’s management of the Coastal Care Programme as a matter of urgency. Responding to Cllr Edmunds, Jane Tremlett provided background before answering: “There were monitoring visits and compliance audits. In accordance with practice, claims were adjusted.
I have seen no information that would lead me to investigate further.” Pressing home his point, Jeff Edmunds asked Cllr Tremlett whether she would provide councillors with documents relating to the instances of whistleblowing reported by The Herald. Councillor Tremlett failed to answer the question asked at all and merely referred Cllr Edmunds to her previous answer, inviting Cllr Edmunds to submit new evidence, if he had any. It appeared as though a line had been agreed with council officers and Cllr Tremlett was unprepared and therefore unable to answer any supplemental questions of substance.
As Chair Peter Hughes Griffiths moved briskly on to the next point on the agenda, there was no opportunity to point out Cllr Tremlett’s bare-faced evasion of the question. Following the meeting Cllr Edmunds expressed his frustration at the stonewalling offered: “They (the council) have denied everything and said that there is no wrong doing. They also say that it has all been audited externally. I was stopped by the chair of council from giving substance to my questions. They also appear to deny the existence of whistle-blowers.” Following the webcast of the council meeting, a staff member with knowledge of the efforts the Council has made to cover up any wrongdoing in relation to Coastal told The Herald: “I am concerned that the council seem to be denying any of this happened and I am concerned that should an inquiry take place that evidence provided to the authority flagging the irregularities and mismanagement will no longer exist and that staff may be held responsible for the Council’s actions.”
Those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster should get jabbed by end of June
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.
Young people in Wales being failed when moving from child to adult mental health services
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.
Average UK price of diesel hits record of more than £1.80 a litre
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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