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The NHS is ‘worth fighting for’

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New Boss: Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda University Health Board

New Boss: Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda University Health Board

IN HIS first interview with a Pembrokeshire newspaper since taking up his post, Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda University Health Board, told the Pembrokeshire Herald that he wanted to involve pressure groups, clinicians and the public in the debate about what Withybush Hospital can do to support the local population and revealed what motivated him to return to the NHS as Chief Executive of the Local Health Board.

“I moved out of the NHS for a while to get a different perspective and refresh.” Steve told us. “While I was away from the NHS, I realised that it was in my blood and I enjoyed working within it. The NHS is an institution that I am passionate about: It is hugely important and faces big challenges. I think it is worth fighting for.”

Considering why he had elected to return to NHS management through Hywel Dda UHB, Steve expressed his desire that the Board provide an integrated service: “Looking at England, there are many people there who believe that an integrated model, where we have acute, community and primary care working together will solve a lot of problems. What I see in Hywel Dda is a lot of the building blocks are in place to enable that; in a very rural community, and I come from a rural background, I want to develop that model where we have the means at hand to do so. I’m five weeks in. I am still finding my way around. But I am really positive and excited about how we can move services on. That is why I am here.”

Asked whether he could draw a line under the past, move on and be categorical about the future of service provision, Mr Moore told us: “I’m hearing the concern. I have been to two public meetings over the last two weeks. It needs a line drawing under it. The clinical reasons underlying those decision have not changed. However, we do have the review going on, we need to acknowledge that we might not have got it entirely correct, right up front. We are keen to work with pressure groups, clinicians and the public to learn whether the transfers have happened in the way we planned them. I am sure there are things we can do to improve things for patients who have to move further for treatment than before; however, the clinical argument for changing services and transferring them remains the same. We need to move on, but we need to continue the discussion about what clinical models ought to look like. For me and the Board, having been very clear that each of our hospitals has a sustainable future, we no need to debate how those hospitals best serve the communities in which they sit.”

Steve was clear that he had not come across a situation where the Welsh language had discouraged recruitment, as claimed by the Welsh Deanery. Revealing that he was eager to learn the language, he went on to say: “We need to ensure that where patients’ first language is Welsh we can communicate effectively with them. I have not been here long, but I have not come across the Welsh language dissuading people from applying. There are far more significant things locally affecting recruitment that we need to deal with, such as setting out our positive vision for the future. I would rather get on with tackling those things.”

Responding to criticism by Simon Hart MP that the Board’s communication had been poor, the new CEO was clear: “We need to be clear about our overall aim, that patients can get prompt treatment. That might not always be in their local hospital. Clinical practice changes all the time. There is a danger in having a blueprint which needs constant amendment. There are some ‘red-line’ issues, such as the provision of 24/7 A&E, where we need to be open and transparent with the public about the issues we face regarding recruitment. The Board’s approach is how we build an ongoing relationship. We have had a couple of public meetings already and we have learned from those, so that we changed the format of the second meeting at Letterston to be less one of us telling than of us listening. We got it wrong, the public told us we had got it wrong, so we changed the format. We need to continue to flex and also to hear from people that we sometimes do not hear from. We have a strong desire to be out there talking, listening: we are facing big challenges and we need to be honest and open about that. We won’t find all the answers sitting around a board table, we need to communicate and the more we do that, the better it will be for the future of health services in our local area.”

Refusing to be drawn on past issues with communication between the Board and the public, Mr Moore was, however, very clear on his position and that of the Board generally: “The ethos we have is that it is not our health service, it belongs to the taxpayers. I can’t see a more important job for the Board than to engage with the public. We’re not going to solve the problems we face unless we have the public on board, both understanding the challenges and helping us deliver the solutions. You will see our clinicians out there more often: they are the experts and I think it is important the public know their viewpoint and their views. It is also important that clinicians get to hear the public’s point of view.”

Reflecting on the sometimes difficult relationship the Board has had with the media: “I’m looking forward to having a strong relationship with the press, who can help us reach members of the public we do not reach through our efforts alone. There needs to be a positive – and critical – relationship between the media and the Board. We need to celebrate the good news stories about the way our staff deliver services under great pressure and in the face of great challenges.”

Concluding he said: “I am genuinely positive for the future. You only have to visit our hospitals, to sit in a public meeting and feel the public’s passion. The NHS is a great institution. We will have to find new solutions, the world has changed since 1948. I am positive about that change and feel we have a strong platform to work from.”

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Tragedy above Milford Haven takeaway

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DYFED POWYS POLICE has confirmed that a 20-year-old male passed away in Milford Haven last Saturday, April 17.

Police were called to the USA Fried Chicken store on Charles Street at around 1:30pm but have said there are no suspicious circumstances.

A Herald reporter was at the scene and witnessed a number of police cars and an ambulance while plain-clothed officers were also seen.

HM Coroner has been informed.

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson added: “We were called to Charles Street in Milford Haven on Saturday 17 April at approximately 1.34pm to reports of a medical emergency. We attended the scene with one emergency ambulance where we assisted colleagues from the police.”

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Tavernspite School the ‘healthiest of schools despite the pandemic’

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THE STAFF, governors, parents, and of course, the children of Tavernspite Community Primary School are delighted to gain the Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes National Quality Award for an incredible 5th time after a recent and very rigorous assessment.

The school is already well known and highly regarded for its outstanding work in developing the health and wellbeing of all members of its school community. To achieve this prestigious recognition in the midst of a pandemic is all the more impressive. 

Health and Wellbeing at the school is led by teacher, Lauren Arthur, who has done an incredible job preparing for this re-assessment and raising the profile of the Healthy Schools scheme.

The assessor Mrs Lynne Perry, enjoyed a virtual tour and presentation by Year 3 pupils who took great pleasure in proudly showing Mrs Perry all the wonderful work the school has done to ensure its children are safe, happy with high levels of emotional and physical wellbeing.

In her report, Mrs Perry wrote, ‘Tavernspite School continues to be an outstanding health promoting school. The health promoting school ethos is evident across the whole school population and it runs seamlessly throughout everything that the school does. Tavernspite School continues to give high priority to promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of the whole school community.’

The school received fantastic support from Mrs Liz Western, Senior Public Health Officer and Lead for Healthy Schools and Pre-schools, Pembrokeshire, to whom they are very grateful.

Head teacher Kevin Phelps said, ‘We were delighted to receive this award for the fifth time, particularly considering the experiences we have all been through these past twelve months. Health and wellbeing has never been so important and we are proud to be leading the way like this.’

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Joinery learner through to Screwfix Trade Apprentice of the Year Finals

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PEMBROKESHIRE COLLEGE joinery learner, Conor Ratcliff has made it through to the final ten in this year’s Screwfix Trade Apprentice of the Year competition.

Now in its seventh year, the competition celebrates the next generation of tradespeople as they start out on their career. With over 2,500 nominations, Conor was shortlisted to the top 30 where he had to deliver a video presentation to industry-leading judges and trade body representatives. Judged on professionalism, creativity, innovation, enthusiasm and knowledge of their trade, Conor impressed the judges and is now in the final 10.  

Simon Jackson, Screwfix Customer and Digital director, commented: “Every year we are amazed by the outstanding quality of entrants and, this year, we are on the lookout for apprentices who go above and beyond to succeed within their chosen trade.

“We’ve seen how this career-boosting accolade and £10,000 prize bundle helps kickstart an apprentice’s career. I’d like to wish everyone through to this stage the best of luck!”

The prize package includes everything a future tradesperson may need to start up their own business including £5,000 of tools, a £3,000 training budget and £2,000 worth of technology. The college where they study will also receive £2,000.

Conor is thrilled to have made it through to the finals and commented: “I am extremely honoured to have made it this far in the competition and I am very excited for the final event. It would be an amazing opportunity for me, if I won this competition.

“I hope it encourages more people to consider an apprenticeship in a trade, the Carpentry and Joinery department have been incredibly supportive during my studies.”

The Final is due to take place imminently where the judges will conduct an online interview with the ten finalists before selecting and announcing their overall winner.

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