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‘Working together’ improve Oncology services

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Hywel-Dda-Health-BoardHYWEL DDA UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD has given a commitment to Pembrokeshire Cancer patients and fundraisers that a new state-of-the-art Chemotherapy Day Unit, which they have worked so hard to bring to fruition, will be provided at Withybush General Hospital. The University Health Board has met with representatives from local Cancer charities in Pembrokeshire, including Adam’s Bucketful of Hope and Pembrokeshire Cancer Support, to allay concerns about the future of Cancer services in Pembrokeshire.

University Health Board Chair Bernadine Rees confirmed that Ward 10 would continue to provide care for patients who needed palliative, haematology and oncology support. Fundraisers were also invited to form a focus group to ‘co-produce’ the design and creation of the new Chemotherapy Day Unit to make it the best in the west. All parties agreed that a beautiful building is nothing without specialist staff and that everything should be done to encourage new oncology and palliative consultants to settle in Pembrokeshire. A tour of the recently built Renal Unit is being organised to show fundraisers what a co-produced service can look like.

County Director and Commissioner Sue Lewis explained: “There is no doubt that the involvement of patients in the design of the renal unit ensured that the environment and the facilities are right for those people who use it on a regular basis. This is an excellent example of working together to bring a new project to completion.” Hywel Dda University Health Board has also reassured both patients and fundraisers that money raised for Cancer services in Pembrokeshire will be used for the new Chemotherapy Day Unit and the refurbishment of Ward 10.

Funds from the Bucketful of Hope charity, Pembrokeshire Cancer Services Fund and other voluntary sector monies will be brought together to realise the vision Adam Evans-Thomas had for patients in Pembrokeshire. Adam launched Bucketful of Hope charity to thank hospitals that cared for him during his 10 year fight against leukaemia before he died in 2004. Mrs Lewis said: “As a University Health Board, we recognise the passion that local people have for improving this service and I would like to reassure them that there is no intention to remove cancer services from Pembrokeshire.

On the contrary, this investment into them will be something that will make these services the best in west Wales. I’d like to thank Pembrokeshire fundraisers once again. Your commitment has helped to make Adam’s dream become a reality.” Chris Evans-Thomas, Adam’s mother, said: “We have a very outspoken and caring group of patients using our venue. We have lost three patient Directors over the last 10 years patiently waiting for this wonderful project to be completed. We do not want to deal in empty promises any more.

Mr Hawkins at the last meeting stated that a board would be put up outside the hospital announcing the work – we are all really excited about this Christmas present! It’s time now for the board to stop talking and get moving!” Mr Lyn Neville, Pembrokeshire Cancer Support Coordinator said: “After years of trying to get this done it finally looks more positive. Mr Paul Hawkins and Mrs Sue Lewis have given me assurances and I have no reason, currently, not to take them at their word. I am very pleased that staff will get a greater input into the design and planning of the new Unit and Ward 10, something we have asked for over many years. Current facilities are not good enough and this will make a huge difference to Cancer sufferers in Pembrokeshire. I will be watching carefully but do feel positive that this could be it!”

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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50

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EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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Nolton Haven: Man hospitalised after getting into difficulties in sea

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A MAN was taken to hospital after getting into difficulties in the sea off Nolton Haven on Friday.

Emergency services were alerted at 2.40pm on February 26 by a 999 call to the control centre.

The Little Haven RNLI lifeboat, Broad Haven Coastguard, an ambulance crew and a Coastguard rescue helicopter assisted police in the operation.

The male casualty was stabilised on the beach and shortly before 4.30pm, was then transported to Withybush Hospital.

A police spokesman told The Herald: “We were called to a male who had got into difficulties in the water at Nolton Haven shortly before 3pm.

“He was taken to hospital by ambulance.”

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Cyclist killed on A40 was serving police officer, force confirms

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A CYCLIST who died after a crash with a van on the A40 in Carmarthenshire was a serving police officer with Dyfed-Powys Police, the force has confirmed in a statement to Herald.Wales.

The driver of the van involved in the crash, which happened on Thursday (Feb 25) has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, it was confirmed on Friday (Feb 26).

Police are investigating the fatal collision, which caused the road to be closed for 12 hours, and are asking for any witnesses to come forward by calling 101.

37-year-old Lynwen Thomas, who is a former student at Ysgol Bro Myrddin, Croes-y-Ceiliog, Carmarthen, was a sergeant and a very well-respected member of Dyfed-Powys Police.

A spokesperson for the police said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues, who have all been offered specialist support. We ask that family members are given the privacy they need at this difficult time.”

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