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Patients contacted after hospital records inappropriately accessed

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shutterstock_160262162HYWEL DDA University Health Board has written to a large number of patients, to provide them with information and support after an investigation identified a member of staff had inappropriately accessed electronic hospital records.

The individual, a nurse, has since been dismissed after breaching patient confidentiality and acting outside of their professional code of conduct and the Health Board’s own policies on data protection and information governance. The Health Board says it has also referred the situation to the Information Commissioner for independent investigation.

All patients affected, which include staff members, have been written to and offered the opportunity to discuss the situation with the Health Board through a free helpline number, which can be contacted on 0800 804 8787. Please note it is open between the hours of 5pm and 9pm Monday-Friday and 9am-4pm Saturday and Sunday until Jul 21.

Chief Executive Steve Moore said: “This is a matter that we take extremely seriously and I have written to every patient directly affected to apologise for the actions taken by this individual which go against their own professional code of conduct and health board policies and procedures.

“We are able to reassure people that our review has shown no changes or amendments were made to records. It also produced no evidence that the information has been used by the individual for any purpose other than to view.”

He added: “We understand and acknowledge how distressing this is for those individuals affected, especially for any who may be vulnerable and we have set up a free helpline should they wish to discuss this further with us.”

Members of the Health Board’s management identified the breach late last year and a review took place to establish the extent of the issue. The Health Board has identified areas for improvement and taken action to improve checking access to electronic hospital records and managing performance and supervision to avoid something similar from happening again.

The Health Board has also proactively referred this to the Information Commissioner’s Office to investigate. The Information Commissioner is responsible for upholding rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and privacy for individuals. It is an independent regulatory office dealing with the Data Protection Act and has its own enforcement rights for any breaches under the Act.

Should the Information Commissioner’s Office determine the access constitutes a breach, they have the power to commence criminal proceedings against the individual. Equally, the Information Commissioner could fine against the Health Board should they consider it failed to take appropriate organisational or technical measures to protect individuals’ personal data.

Mr Moore added: “May I again sincerely apologise that a former member of staff, whilst in a position of trust, has acted in this way. This should not have happened and I know that our own staff, like our Board, will be shocked at this situation, especially our wonderful nurses who hold patient confidentiality at the core of their values. I hope our patients, staff and public will be assured of our ongoing commitment to avoid something like this from happening again.”

If you have not been contacted directly by the health board about this situation then you are unaffected and do not need to take further action. Anyone who has been contacted and who is distressed or has concerns, can contact the free helpline on 0800 804 8787. Please note it is open between the hours of 5pm and 9pm Monday-Friday and 9am-4pm Saturday and Sunday until Jul 21.

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Llanelli Town Mayor hosted the Easter Family Fun Day

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Llanelli Town Mayor David Darkin and Mayoress Kim Darkin with Cllr Suzy Curry and Cllr John Prosser also Nia Nia Griffith MP

ON Saturday 20th April Llanelli Town Mayor hosted the Easter Family Fun Day in the Selwyn Samuel Centre Arena.

The day was a huge success and raised lots of money for the mayors chosen charities – the main charity bring CYCA which provides support to children and young people in Carmarthenshire.

Attendees were treated to taster sport sessions with Rugby Tots, a selection of songs from Shrek Jr from the Hive Theatre Company, magic and fun from Crazy Clayton and a very special visit from Belle who sung songs and played games with the children.

Emergency services information stalls

The event was supported by many local community groups and even had a fire engine pop in for a visit.

Asda llanelli donated some of the Easter eggs and a huge thank you to other raffle prize donors including Joe’s ice cream, hungry horse and berridge-Jones photography.

Cllr David Darkin would like to thank everyone who supported and gave their time to make the event the success it was.

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Wales’ Largest Ever Coastal Walking Festival Launches May

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THIS May a new walking festival celebrating seven years of the 870-mile coast path will take place. The festival’s aim is to encourage locals across Wales to get outdoors, meet new people and appreciate the beautiful Welsh landscapes.

Walks will cover seven coastal regions will be organised by the Wales Coast Path and Ramblers Cymru.

The festival not only aims to showcase Wales’ beautiful coastline and countless natural assets, the Wales Coast Path Walking Festival will also boost local tourism along the path whilst encouraging residents to come together to celebrate the country’s iconic coastline.

Taking place 4th -19th May 2019, the festival will feature over 40 new guided walks created by Ramblers Cymru. The festival programme has been specifically designed to suit all ages and abilities, with the majority of the walks free to join.

From fully accessible and short family walks tonature walks and more challenging hikes, the festival aims to encourage people to enjoy outdoor exercise while exploring Wales’ iconic coastline. All walks will be led by experienced guides offering insights into the unique wildlife, fascinating history and culture that can be found along the way.

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas, said: “This festival is set to be an excellent addition to Wales’ Year of Discovery and a way for visitors and locals to discover more about our unique Wales Coast Path. I’m delighted that the guided walks will encourage people to find out more about the landscape, history and wildlife associated with the coastal path and will also be an excellent way to be active while discovering more of Wales.”

Local authorities for each of the seven coastal regions, which include South Wales, The Gower, Ceredigion, the Llŷn Peninsula, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthen, and North Wales, will help support the event, along with partners National Resources Wales, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and a number of charities including Keep Wales Tidy.

The festival, which coincides with Visit Wales’ Year of Discovery 2019, will follow a theme of discovery which will be prominent throughout. The Wales Coast Path is the world’s first uninterrupted route along a national coast and gives hikers access to undiscovered sections of the coast with stunning views, rugged landscapes and rare wildlife.

To learn more about the Wales Coast Path walking festival or book walks visit: www.walescoastpath.gov.uk

Register to attend the festival: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/wales-coast-path-walking-festival-2019-18812644097

Admission free (additional charges for linear walks where transport is required).

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Swansea Bay City Deal leaders are supporting Neath Port Talbot Council’s proposals for changes

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SWANSEA Bay City Deal leaders are supporting Neath Port Talbot Council’s proposal to amend some of their projects due to be part-funded by the £1.3 billion investment programme.

Any amended or enhanced projects, they say, will be progressed through City Deal governance and approval processes before submission to the Welsh Government and UK Government for consideration.

This follows on from the City Deal’s Joint Committee accepting all recommendations arising from two reviews into the City Deal, which included enabling flexibility in the investment programme to bring new projects in if they’re beneficial to the region.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Bay City Deal Joint Committee Chairman, says a Neath Port Talbot Council call for the City Deal to change approach is also being put in place.

Cllr Stewart said: “As a Joint Committee, we have accepted all recommendations from the City Deal reviews, and work is ongoing to implement them as soon as possible.

“These include the appointment of an independent programme director to manage the City Deal, as well as flexibility to amend or enhance projects forming part of the investment programme if they’re good for the region.

“The City Deal is still at an early stage of its development, but we’re doing all we can to make governance and project approval processes more efficient to speed up the investment programme’s delivery.

“It would be too great a risk for communities and businesses in Neath Port Talbot to miss out on City Deal investment, so we stand ready to help Neath Port Talbot Council move their projects forward.

“All City Deal partners remain committed to delivery. It’s widely recognised that the City Deal presents a once in a generation opportunity to create considerable economic growth and well-paid jobs across the region as a whole.”

The independent review into the City Deal commissioned by both governments recommended immediate approval for two City Deal projects – the ‘Yr Egin’ creative sector development in Carmarthen, and the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District.

Cllr Stewart said: “We expect funds to be released for these projects imminently.

“We also welcome Neath Port Talbot Council’s continued commitment to the regional Homes as Power Stations project, which will help people save money on their energy bills by introducing cutting-edge energy-efficient technology to both new houses and existing buildings throughout South West Wales.”

The Swansea Bay City Deal investment programme is due to be funded by the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public sector and the private sector. It’s being led by the four regional councils – Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea – in partnership with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea University, Hywel Dda University Health Board and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board.

The City Deal is projected to create over 9,000 high-quality jobs and give the regional economy a £1.8 billion boost in coming years.

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