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‘One complaint’ claims CHC

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Surprised by the report: Tony Wales

Surprised by the report: Tony
Wales

ON THURSDAY (Jan 8), the Community Health Council reported it had received only one complaint about the transfer of maternity and children’s services to Carmarthen. Responding to the report former Chair of the Community Health Council (CHC), Tony Wales said: “I was extremely surprised to learn from the Pembrokeshire CHC meeting today that the CHC have only received ONE complaint, to date, regarding the transfer of women’s and children’s services to Carmarthen.”

He continued: “Am I to assume that most of what I read on the SWAT Facebook pages are in fact either not true or just highly exaggerated by people who post their accounts of their problem? “If I was a member of the Ministers panel who was tasked to review the impact of service change I would have no alternative but to report back to the Minister that there is no credible evidence to support that there has been any adverse impact on Parents and their children.”

Mr Wales comment on social media generated a number of responses which suggested that there is considerable confusion about the entirely separate roles of the Health Board and the Community Health Council, which is independent of it.

What is a Community Health Council ? 

The Community Health Council (CHC) is made up of 36 members appointed by local councils, the Welsh Government and the voluntary sector. It is separate from and independent to the Health Board. The CHC acts as a monitor on the services provided by the Health Board and to provide advocacy services and support for those who wish to complain about health services.

In addition to these roles it seeks the community’s views on its health service, inspects premises, and provides information about local health services. When the Welsh Government looks to find out how many complaints exist about the local health service, provided by the Health Board, it will normally consult with the CHC to establish what complaints have been made and to which element of service provision they relate. The CHC asks that patients: “Tell us about your experiences of the health service, good or bad.

You may feel that you have not received the quality of service expected and feel upset about what has happened and want an explanation or make a complaint. “Whether it’s any of these or some other matter to do with health service provision, please let us know – that’s what we’re here for.”

What about social media ?

 Complaints made on social media will not be taken into account by the Welsh Government or the Board. Only complaints made through the Community Health Council will be acted upon. The CHC will not conduct or handle litigation, only complaints about service. Comments on Facebook have suggested that the CHC should simply cut and paste records of complaints made on various patient pages and record them as formal complaints.

It cannot do this. It is up to individuals to make complaints to the CHC themselves. If individuals want to complain, they should communicate with the CHC. The CHC’s advocacy service is free of charge and provides an independent client-led advocacy service to those who wish to complain about care or treatment received from the NHS.

Watering down 

The Welsh Government is known to be frustrated by some Community Health Councils for standing in the way of its drive to cut and merge NHS services across Wales. The former chair of the local CHC, Tony Wales, was threatened with libel action for questioning the conduct of the Health Board’s consultation before it proceeded with its planned service cuts in Pembrokeshire.

CHC’s elsewhere in Wales were also urged to water down their objections to plans to centralise health services. The Welsh Government now plans to seize control of the CHC’s by putting one of its own placements in post as the head of the national body for Community Health Councils. As we have previously reported, the current Chief of the local CHC, Ashley Warlow, is stepping down at the end of this month. No replacement for Mr Warlow has been sought or appointed at this stage, despite him providing his notice in October 2014.

 If you have a complaint 

Lyn Neville from Pembrokeshire Cancer Support contacted us after hearing the CHC’s report of a single complaint. He told us: “It is very important that if you have a problem you report it to the Pembrokeshire Community Health Council who are the public’s Health Service Watchdog.

“The Welsh Assembly have a duty to review service changes and if problems are not fully reported it will appear that there are no issues and everything is fine. “We all know this is not the case. The Health Board will ignore stories in the Press and on Facebook etc but they cannot ignore your ‘official’ complaints.”

He continued: “So, please – if you have had, are having, or have in the future – a negative experience involving Maternity or Paediatric care you must tell the Community Health Council. “You can Telephone, e-mail or write to them. This can be done anonymously if you prefer not to give your name.” The contact details are – Telephone – 01646 697610 (when told Press “1” for the Pembrokeshire Branch of CHC).

Email – hyweldda@waleschc.org. uk Write to – Pembrokeshire Community Health Council, Suite 1, Cedar Court, Haven’s Head, Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, SA73 3LS Contact the Advocacy Service Phone: 01267 236326; Email: HDDComplaints. Advocacy@waleschc.org.uk Lyn concluded by asking: “Please do this as it could save a life and make a huge difference to our services at our Hospital.”

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Rider of a motorbike taken to hospital following collision with a car

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A COLLISION which involved a car and a motorbike on Friday afternoon (Jun 18) saw one person being transferred to hospital.

Dyfed-Powys Police have confirmed that the collision, which happened at approximately 1.17pm at Dwrbach, Scleddau, involved a white Seat Ibiza and a black Suzuki motorbike.

The Herald understands that the accident happened at a junction near The Gate Inn public house.

The incident caused the road to be closed while emergency services dealt with the situation.

The rider of the motorbike was transferred to Glangwili Hospital for treatment.

A Police spokesperson said: “Dyfed-Powys Police attended a two vehicle road traffic collision which occurred in Scleddau, Fishguard early Friday afternoon, June18th 2021.

“The collision involved a white Seat Ibiza and a black Suzuki motorbike. The rider of the motorbike was taken to hospital.

“The road was closed for emergency services to deal with the collision.”

A rapid response vehicle and an ambulance were dispatched to the scene.

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called to attend a road traffic collision involving a motorcycle at Dwrbach, Fishguard at 1.17pm on Friday 18 June. We sent one rapid response vehicle and one emergency ambulance. One patient was taken to Glangwili Hospital for further treatment.”

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Residents urged to be alert to Covid-19 symptoms following cluster of cases

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PUBLIC HEALTH WALES, Pembrokeshire County Council and Hywel Dda University Health Board are urging members of the public to be alert to COVID-19 symptoms following the identification of a cluster of cases in the Tenby area.

The 22 confirmed cases are linked to social and sporting events and local schools and have generated a large number of contactssince the first cases were confirmed on Saturday, 12 June. 

A number of individuals, including pupils, are currently isolating and close contacts of the positive cases continue to be traced.

From Monday 21 June to Sunday 4 July, a mobile testing unit will be available for local residents in and around Tenby to access if they have symptoms.

This is based at Salterns Car Park, Marsh Road, Tenby, SA70 8DU.  To book a test visit the UK portal https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or ring 119.

Residents can protect themselves and others from Coronavirus by remaining at least two metres away from everyone else, washing their hands regularly, and by wearing a face covering where required. 

The virus disperses in a well ventilated environment, so opening windows and allowing fresh air to circulate is another way to keep ourselves safe.

Residents should take up the vaccine when offered, and self-isolate and get a test if they or anyone in their household develop symptoms.

As well as the three most common symptoms of Coronavirus – a fever, a new continuous cough, or a loss/change of taste and smell – people with any of the following, wider symptoms that are persistent and/or unusual for them are also strongly encouraged to get a PCR test:

  • Mild summer cold symptoms – including sore throat, runny nose, headache
  • Flu-like symptoms, including myalgia (muscle ache or pain); excessive tiredness; persistent headache; runny nose or blocked nose; persistent sneezing; sore throat and/or hoarseness, shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Generally feeling unwell and a history of being in contact with a known COVID-19 case
  • Any new or change in symptoms following a previous negative test

If you have any of the above symptoms, even if you have been vaccinated, please stay home and book a PCR test through the UK portal https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or ringing 119.

When booking your PCR test, you will also be asked about your symptoms: if you have wider summer cold or flu-like symptoms as described above, rather than the classic three symptoms, choose ‘None of these symptoms’ and then choose one of the following options to enable you to complete the booking:

• My local council or health protection team has asked me to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms or

• A GP or other healthcare professional has asked me to get a test.

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Paul Davies submits views to Health Board Consultation

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Senedd Member Paul Davies has fed his views into Hywel Dda University Health Board’s consultation, “Building a Healthier Future after Covid-19.”

In response to the Health Board’s proposals, Mr Davies has made it clear that he opposes any movements to centralise or downgrade services at Withybush hospital.

Mr Davies said, “I cannot emphasise how important this consultation is and so I’d urge everyone across Pembrokeshire to read through the Health Board’s proposals and make their views known. In my submission, I’ve made it crystal clear that the people of Pembrokeshire should not have to travel further for vital health services.

“I want to see Hywel Dda start prioritising Pembrokeshire by investing in services at Withybush hospital so that it can support people living and working across the county.

“There’s still time to feed into the consultation and have your say on the Health Board’s plans. The deadline is Monday, June 21 and you can find more information here – https://www.haveyoursay.hduhb.wales.nhs.uk/building-a-healthier-future-after-covid-19.” 

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