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Angry campaigners ‘not prepared to roll over’

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tenby campaignersTHE CLOSURE of Tenby’s Minor Injuries Unit has not stopped campaigners, who say the fight to keep it open will continue.

At a meeting last Friday, local AMs, county, town and community councillors and South East Pembrokeshire Community Health Network representatives confirmed they were not prepared to roll over.

“Although the Hywel Dda Health Board has stated that the MIU is to close, we’re not prepared to just roll over and accept their decision,” Tenby town councillor and secretary of the SEPCHN, Cllr Caroline Thomas, commented after the meeting.

She continued: “We feel that the case for maintaining the MIU in Tenby for the benefit of the whole of South East Pembrokeshire and the thousands of visitors who come to the area annually is as strong now as it always has been and we will continue to press that case.”

Chair of the Health Board, Chris Martin was invited to attend the event, but he declined leaving those who attended disappointed. Assembly members Angela Burns and William Powell, along with County Councillors, Mike Evans, Michael Williams, Phil Baker, Tony Brinsden, Jon Preston, Jacob Williams, Phil Kidney and SEPCHN chairman Mansel Thomas were all present at the meeting.

Before the meeting, Mr Martin had informed the clerk to Tenby Town Council, Andrew Davies, that the Health Board would not change their plans for the closure of the MIU, although he had stressed that no date had yet been agreed.

He had, however, agreed to meet with a small group of local county councillors to explain how the services currently provided at the Tenby MIU would be re-provided through local GP practices and ‘third party’ providers.

Members were grateful for the opportunity to meet with Mr Martin but local GP, Dr Iwan Griffiths, senior partner at the Tenby practice, expressed doubts that Mr Martin would be able to outline future provision, as Tenby Surgery had only been contacted once by the Health Board since June.

He said: “We, and I believe our colleagues in Saundersfoot, are still of the same opinion as 12 months ago, and that is that the current level of Emergency Nurse Practitioner-led service provided at Tenby MIU cannot be replicated by the GPs without an adverse effect on our role as primary care providers.”

Dr Griffiths added that promises made by Mrs Sue Lewis, the Health Board’s county director for Pembrokeshire, had not been kept. At a similar meeting with the group in June it was decided that they would look into models of provision in other areas with similarly high influxes of tourists.

He added: “If you keep reducing the services, and the times that these services are available, then ultimately you are going to reach a situation where the number of people presenting at the MIU is statistically so low as to indicate that it is not needed,” he ventured, adding that this seemed to fly in the face of the ethos of bringing care closer to the community.

Members at the meeting also felt that the Health Board had still not taken account of the poor transport links to Haverfordwest and Carmarthen, the large elderly population or the number of visitors.

Many members expressed their shock at the apparent lack of communication between the Health Board and the GPs over the last couple of months and Cllr Michael Williams even suggested that a vote of no confidence be called in the management of the Health Board.

Assembly member Mrs Burns agreed that there was certainly a case for lack of confidence in the board’s consultation and communication procedure on such an important issue, but felt that a lot more evidence would be needed to support such a letter.

Questions were also asked of the role of the Community Health Council in the matter, with East Williamston County Cllr Jacob Williams fearing that they had ‘capitulated’.

He said: “The CHC seem to have accepted the Health Board telling them that the services are going to be replicated by the GPs and other providers, but we’re now hearing from the GPs that no such agreement is in place. In fact, we’re hearing that the Health Board have not discussed the matter further with the GPs since June.”

Regional AM Mr Powell, who is also chair of the Assembly’s petitions committee, confirmed that Tenby Town Council’s petition calling for the Health Board to reverse their decision was still ‘live’ and was due to be considered again on November 11.

He also highlighted the fact Llandudno would be getting a £1.9 million investment to enhance their MIU facilities and said that the case for MIU provision in south east Pembrokeshire was no different.

The meeting resolved to keep the pressure on the Health Board to reverse their decision both through the Welsh Assembly and at local level.

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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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