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Who is to blame for rat ‘infestation’?

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Rat infestation: Should CCC have in-house pest control?

A QUESTION relating to ‘a number’ of rat infestations in Llanelli was raised at Wednesday’s (Jan 13) full council meeting.

Former Executive Member for Housing Tegwen Devichand told the current holder of the portfolio Linda Evans that she had received ‘a number of complaints’ from tenants and residents relating to rat infestations in their properties. “Although continued baiting has been carried out, rats are still invading a number of homes,” Cllr Devichand added. “They are destroying the personal effects of the residents and tenants and also chewing electric wires etc. One lady told me she was afraid to get out of bed in the night to use the bathroom in case she was attacked by one of these vermin.”

Cllr Devichand suggested that the rats were entering the properties via outside drains, and that this had become more of an issue since Dwr Cymru had stopped baiting their drains, and asked whether Cllr Evans could contact the water board and other agencies to look for a solution to this problem. Shortly before Cllr Devichand asked this question, Council Chair Peter Hughes-Griffiths asked councillors raising questions at a full council meeting whether or not they could, in some instances, be addressed privately to officers and members of the Executive Board to get a ‘fuller answer’. Whether or not this was aimed at Cllr Devichand’s query, she responded by stating that her question was ‘very important for tenants and the population’ of the county. Cllr Evans began her response by suggesting that the issue, which related to the health, wellbeing and belongings of residents, should have been addressed to Executive Member for Environment and Public Protection Jim Jones. However, she added, as it had been addressed to her, she would answer.

The council was informed that across Carmarthenshire CCC had received 255 requests for assistance with vermin in the last year, 77 of which were related to council-owned properties: “Having received the complaint, officers will offer advice,” she added, mentioning that the disposal of waste food was frequently an issue. “In extreme circumstances, enforcement action will be taken,” she added. Apparently this had happened 27 times, though it was unclear whether the action had been taken against the complainant or a third party. In relation to the ‘number of complaints’ from Cllr Devichand’s Dafen ward, Cllr Evans said that they could only find one instance of a complaint being made – an incident where rats had damaged electrical wiring – and that council officers had visited the property in December. She asked Cllr Devichand to provide details of the other cases in order for investigations to begin.

Cllr Evans and Cllr Jones would also write to Dwr Cymru and other agencies for information about the methods they used, she added. Cllr Devichand responded by saying that the complaints had come to her, not in her capacity as a county councillor, but because she had formerly held the post of Executive Member for Housing for three years, and still received complaints. In a supplementary question, Cllr Devichand claimed that the public had been ‘more confident’ in their pest control when the local authority had an in-house pest control department, and asked whether it could be re-instated. This service was abolished under the Labour-Independent coalition in 2011 – something Cllr Evans wasted no time in pointing out, although, as is becoming traditional, the role of their new coalition partners in this was not mentioned. The question of whether pest control services should be brought in-house again was also avoided.

This is far from the first time that residents have raised complaints about the council’s lack of pest control, with one woman even going as far as leaving a live rat with receptionists at County Hall with instructions to pass it on to Chief Executive Mark James. As is still the case today, a council spokesperson said that they would have offered advice to the person about how they could deal with the problem themselves.

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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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