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Chair meets ‘cancer warriors’

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Bernadine rees OBE

Bernadine rees OBE

Board Chair Bernadine Rees OBE, County Director Sue Lewis, and Head of Operations Paul Hawkins met with the ‘cancer warriors’ at Adam’s Bucketful of Hope, Haverfordwest. Speaking to us after the meeting, Chris Evans-Thomas: “The cancer warriors turned out in force and gave them a good grilling.” Cancer campaigner Lyn Neville, from Pembrokeshire Cancer Support told us: “I was concerned that when it came to the future of Ward Ten, Withybush Hospital, there were no assurances offered that it would return to being a dedicated cancer ward under a permanent consultant.

I was a cancer patient, I know that when I felt ill, I was able to ring Ward 10 and get admitted straight away if there was a problem. Now I would have to wait in A&E to be admitted. Hardly a good idea if your immune system is compromised.” Chris Evans-Thomas told us that the opinion had been offered that one of the problems the board faced in recruiting new staff was negative coverage of the board and the cuts to services at Withybush Hospital in the local media.

“Apparently when those poor consultants read all these negative comments they don’t want to come here” said Chris. “I think that the board has it in its own hands to end uncertainty by making a clear statement on the future of Withybush Hospital and cancer care in Pembrokeshire. Our visitors were at pains to say that the Chemotherapy Day Unit is definitely going ahead and there was no way that Ward 10 would not provide palliative care.

But we must remember that palliative care is only one part of cancer treatment. We continually repeated that with the money raised in Pembrokeshire, which was transferred into an unrestricted fund controlled by the board, we can refurbish the pharmacy as well as renovate Ward 10 etc. We were told Ward 10 is going to be completely refurbished and brought up to a very high standard.

In relation to the issue about the pharmacy which prepares chemotherapy drugs and the lab that prepares radioactive isotopes, our points were not addressed. We have a meeting next week with them. We have to work together to build this state of the art facility and the board expressed interest in meeting regularly with the cancer warriors. The board did ask for more charity money to meet its aims. I would have thought Pembrokeshire had given enough money to allow these projects to be completed without asking for more.

I remain hopeful about seeing the books to establish where money raised in Pembrokeshire for Pembrokeshire ended up.” Ann Cadman of Pembrokeshire Cancer COPS told The Herald: “I am glad that the board is now prepared to work with us to make sure that Pembrokeshire’s cancer patients have the best care possible. It was particularly nice that the board now have an idea about what we can and cannot do.”

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Storm Christoph set to batter Wales says Met Office [Video]

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STORM Christoph will cause heavy rain and flooding in Wales on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the Met Office has said.

Forecasters are warning that there could be up to 200mm in some parts of north Wales and say that the heaviest and “most persistent” rain will be in Wales.

The warning states: “Several days of persistent, and occasionally heavy, rain are expected to affect the region as Storm Christoph affects the UK.

The heaviest and most persistent rain is likely to be across Wales and the high ground of northern England.

“By early Thursday, 30-60 mm of rain is expected to have fallen widely across the warning area, with 100-150 mm over the high ground of Wales and northern England.

“Up to 200 mm is possible across parts of north Wales and northwest England.

“Melting snow across higher parts of the Pennines may exacerbate the potential for flooding. Strong winds will also accompany the rainfall and may add to travelling difficulties across areas higher and more exposed routes.”

The warning is in place from midnight on Tuesday until noon on Thursday (January 21).

Welsh forecaster Derek Brockway says: “Large rainfall totals on high ground in south and northwest Wales.

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Enabling works start at regeneration site in Pembroke

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WORK has started on the highly anticipated South Quay regeneration project in Pembroke.

Ambitious plans by Pembrokeshire County Council will see the site next to Pembroke Castle developed into a Visitor Centre, celebrating the town’s history and heritage and incorporating a new Library and Café.

The scheme will also include major enhancements to the public realm and landscaping improvements and public access to the building’s gardens at the rear.

Cllr Paul Miller, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Economic Development, welcomed work starting on site.

“I’m delighted to see work getting underway. These buildings, right in the heart of Pembroke, have been left to rot for more than a decade by previous Council administrations but thankfully no longer. I am committed to Pembroke and am personally determined to help the town see a brighter future.

“Our investment in South Quay is just the first and most visible part of our commitment to the future of Pembroke and I’m looking forward to engaging with the community on the next steps over the coming months.”

The enabling works, undertaken by contractors Lloyd and Gravell are to ready the site for the development contract. They include the clearing and preparation of the site ready for the stabilisation of derelict buildings in Castle Terrace.

The South Quay project has secured £901,590 of Welsh Government Transforming Towns funding to support delivery of the first stage enabling works.

Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government Hannah Blythyn said: “The regeneration of South Quay is a fantastic example of how support though our Transforming Towns programme can be used to breathe new life into an old building to create a centre that will become as asset to the local community and celebrate the town’s history.  I look forward to seeing how this work progresses.”

Cllr Aaron Carey, County Councillor for Pembroke St Mary South, said it was good to see progress on site.

“No amount of plans or drawings can prepare you for the huge task at hand when the project is seen up close,” he said.

“We as a community are putting our generation’s mark on a thousand year old town and it’s really exciting to see the work being started on site after so many years as an eyesore in the castle’s shadow.”

(Pictured are Cllr Paul Miller and Cllr Aaron Carey at South Quay in Pembroke, where work has started on a key regeneration project.)

 

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Stephen Crabb MP to defy whips on Universal Credit uplift

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PRESELI MP Stephen Crabb will defy the Conservative whip for the first time today.

The former Work and Pensions Secretary will ignore an instruction to abstain on a non-binding Labour motion to keep the £20 uplift to Universal Credit beyond March 31.

In his Spending Review last November, Chancellor Rishi Sunak refused to commit to keeping the £20 payment. The Chancellor introduced it last year to compensate families of the unemployed or
those on low incomes for the extra costs they incur during the Covid pandemic.

Stephen Crabb has repeatedly made it clear that he wants the £20 top-up to continue to give the poorest and most vulnerable at least some cushion from the effects of the deepening recession.

Although the Westminster Government claims it is optimistic about the economy’s future, the short-to-medium term looks grim.

Many businesses have closed and are unlikely to reopen. Not all of those who lost their jobs will get back into employment. It is likely any jobs on offer once the economy picks up will be low
paid and leave many still dependent on Universal Credit in some form.

Speaking on Times Radio this morning, Mr Crabb said: “No one can say we have a generous benefits system. We don’t. The unemployment component of benefits is at its lowest for a generation.

Withdrawing that additional £20 per week at the end of March will cause hardship. I don’t think it’s the right thing to do.”

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