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Cancer care investment promise

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Commitment from Health Broad: Major improvements need to happen to give cancer patients the care they deserve

Commitment from Health Broad: Major improvements need to happen to give cancer patients the care they deserve

RADICAL plans to change the way in which cancer services are delivered at Withybush will mean that 24-hour inpatient paediatric care will be unlikely ever to return to Withybush Hospital. The planned reshuffle of cancer services sets out that Oncology will stay in its current location within the hospital building, whereas Ward 10 will move to Ward 9. Under that scheme, Paediatrics would move to Ward 14 and the Cancer Day Unit (CDU) to the current Ward 10 location.

There is now a 73-week programme from start to finish for the service reconfiguration. The projected costs of the move to Ward 9 is believed to be in excess of £880K, while the CDU projected cost is in excess of £900K. Last week, the Board unveiled a second project board for its plans for the new Cancer facilities at the Hospital. That unveiling took place ahead of a meeting of a stakeholder group that discussed the Board’s new development plans. Speaking afterwards, Chris Evans- Thomas MBE of Adams Bucketful of Hope said: “This is the biggest statement you could wish for this Christmas!

I asked for a sign the same size as the one that was erected to announce the Kidney Dialysis Unit and bingo! – it was up in plenty of time for Christmas. Thank you Sue Lewis and Paul Hawkins. Things are definitely moving!” Lyn Neville, of Pembrokeshire Cancer Support, told The Herald: “I am concerned that staff have still not been asked for their views and advice on a move for CDU. “Surely that have the knowledge and expertise to know best what is required of a new unit. I know we are at planning stage but there is no point drawing plans if you do not know exactly what is required of them. I hope the Health Board allow the staff to be involved in the project.”

Sue Lewis County Director & Commissioner said: “This was a really positive meeting. The new development is supported by the ongoing efforts of our local charities and the generous donations of the people of Pembrokeshire and we will be working in partnership to deliver the new service. Work on the project will commence in 2015.” The Board also announced that it and fundraising groups are meeting on a regular basis to progress these developments in areas including recruitment and retention of specialist staff; and reviewing other modern healthcare facilities developed with community and patient representatives, such as the Renal Unit at the hospital.

The two cancer charities have also celebrated their own recent successes. Lyn Neville, Pembrokeshire Cancer Support Coordinator was recently awarded the Pembroke Dock Town Council Award of Merit and Bucketful of Hope organised a well-attended Christmas Ball, which has raised further charitable funds for the group. The erection of the Board and the announcement of the new plans’ scope, follows a recent Welsh Government announcement that it would not create a specialist fund for cancer drugs in Wales, as the NHS has in England.

In November, Health Minister Mark Drakeford rejected the need for a cancer drugs fund, saying the system in the Welsh NHS was ‘fair to all patients, is clinically driven, provides good outcomes at a cost effective price – and that is the right way to do it.’ On that occasion, the minister was being challenged by the Conservatives to respond to a nearly 100,000-signature petition calling for one to be set up in Wales. Instead, Welsh patients suffering from all illnesses, including cancer, must apply for health board funding for the drugs through the Individual Patient Funding Request (IPFR) system.

Research by the Rarer Cancers Foundation in 2013 found patients in Wales are four times less likely to receive new treatment than those in England. In addition, the Welsh Government has come in for strong criticism on the issue of cancer patients’ waiting time for treatment. In May, the Welsh Government changed the way that cancer waiting times were calculated, conceding that early intervention was vital to successfully tackle the disease. However, cancer waiting time targets have been missed every month since 2008, continue to be missed, despite the Welsh Government’s attempt to adjust how waiting times are reckoned.

Plaid Cymru’s Elin Jones, the Shadow Health Minister told The Herald: “The Labour Welsh Government cancer target is still not being met. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment can make a vital difference to people with cancer, but in Wales too many patients are having to wait too long. “The First Minister promised that the Welsh Government would meet its cancer treatment target by October 2013, but more than a year later that still hasn’t happened. Major improvements need to happen if we are to give cancer patients the care they deserve. This must start with strong leadership from the Welsh Government.”

In the Hywel Dda Health Board area, the percentage of cancer patients’ starting treatment within 62 days of urgent referral is 87.6%, a marginal but significant improvement on the national average of 85.1%. The number of patients starting treatment in 31 days on a non-urgent referral route is slightly worse than the Welsh national average at 96.6%.

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Blue Gem Wind begins digital aerial surveys for 300MW Valorous floating wind project

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BLUE GEM WIND, the joint venture between TotalEnergies, one of the world’s largest energy companies, and Simply Blue Energy, has begun offshore digital aerial surveys for a proposed 300MW floating wind project.

APEM Ltd have been chosen by Blue Gem Wind to deliver 24 consecutive monthly bird and marine mammal surveys of the early-commercial scale Valorous site. The high resolution data obtained will support baseline environmental characterisation of the site and environmental impact assessments for key ecological receptors.

The survey programme commenced in March 2021 and four of the 24 monthly surveys have been completed
to date.

Sean Evans, Environmental Specialist at Blue Gem Wind said, “It is important for us to begin long-lead in items
such as bird and marine mammal surveys as early as possible. These surveys will provide crucial species specific
data on the number, spatial distribution and activity of individuals across the Valorous site. This enables us to
undertake robust environmental impact assessments ahead of our planned consent application submission in
2023.”

Matt Rohner, Senior Consultant at APEM, “APEM Ltd are delighted to be able to support Blue Gem Wind’s
proposed Valorous offshore wind farm with our best-in-class survey design approach. Imagery captured using
state-of-the-art cameras is of ultra-high (1.6cm) resolution, providing industry leading image quality that is
essential for species level identification.”

The Celtic Sea is poised to play a key role in Net Zero, the Committee on Climate Change’s 100GW offshore
wind target, and crucially, the UK Government’s target of 1 GW of floating wind by 2030. The ORE Catapult also
estimated that the first GW of floating wind in the Celtic Sea could potentially deliver over 3,000 jobs and
£682m in supply chain opportunities for Wales and Cornwall by 2030.

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Three arrests as suspected cocaine worth £12,000 seized in Milford Haven

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POLICE in Milford Haven have disrupted the supply of cocaine in the town in a major operation which saw people detained and a large quantity of drugs found.

Three people were arrested and suspected cocaine worth up to £12,200 was seized, police said.

Dyfed-Powys Police carried out a warrant at a house in Hubberston on the evening of Friday, June 11, “where 122g of what is believed to be cocaine was found.”

This is estimated to have a street value of between £9,760 and £12,200 depending on its purity.

The occupant of the address – a 59-year-old man – was not present at the time, however he was later arrested on suspicion of possessing class A drugs with intent to supply.

He has been released under investigation pending the result of forensic, digital and financial enquiries.

As enquiries progressed, officers made two further arrests over the weekend.

A 33-year-old man from Manchester, was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of cocaine and possession of an offensive weapon after police stopped the car he was driving.

A quantity of white powder was seized by Greater Manchester Police during a warrant at the address he gave officers in custody.

A 27-year-old woman from the Stockport area was also arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.

Both have been released on bail with the condition not to enter Pembrokeshire.

Detective Constable Phillip Jones said: “This was a significant drugs seizure, and we will continue our enquiries with the view to securing a swift outcome.

“I would like to thank all officers involved over the weekend for their dedication and diligence.”

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Major blaze destroys well known Tenby chip shop

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EMERGENCY services have sealed off part of Tenby following a major fire at a chip shop.

Fire fighters rushed to Park Road Fish & Chip Shop after a blaze broke out late on Tuesday morning (Jun 15).

Emergency services are still at the scene. Police are asking people to avoid the area.

Diversions for traffic are in place.

Four fire appliances responded to the blaze at the Tenby chip shop (Image G Davies Photography)
Fire fighters take off BA kits after the blaze was put out (Image G Davies Photography)

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