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Patients in danger as ambulance response times fail to meet targets

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Plaid Cymru issued a press release this week suggesting that Pembrokeshire’s ambulance emergency response times are failing to meet their set target.

The Party claim that the response times to calls in Pembrokeshire missed the all-Wales target: that of of an ambulance reaching the scene of an incident within eight minutes of an emergency call being placed. Plaid Cymru claim that in July of this year, in Pembrokeshire, only 64.8% of life threatening calls were answered within the target eight minutes timeframe, from an all -Wales target of 65%, falling short by point two of a percent.

According to analysis by Plaid Cymru’s National Assembly team, it was discovered that only seven out of the twenty-two local authorities reached their target for more than nine months out of the last eighteen and, apparently, Pembrokeshire only just managed to meet this success rate, but performance has, as Plaid Cymru put it, ‘deteriorated worryingly this year’.

Plaid Cymru Mid and West AM Simon Thomas said of these apparently alarming figures,

“It is not surprising that the Welsh Ambulance Service is not meeting its targets. What is concerning is that there seems to be little improvement. Many of us wonder why the Welsh (Labour) Government continues to push through their plans to centralise hospital services that will require ambulances to travel further in emergency situations”

He went on to add that,

“The Health Minister must begin to tackle ambulance response times in Pembrokeshire. Plaid Cymru believes there should be better investment in planning and training of the workforce. If this happened more paramedics could make decisions and carry out treatment without the need for hospital”.

Commenting on this seemingly worrying situation, Paul Davies, AM for Preseli Pembrokeshire, said,

“The latest ambulance emergency response times for Pembrokeshire are very worrying. NHS staff work tirelessly but, sadly, Welsh Labour’s record-breaking cuts to the health budget of over £800million, in real terms, over five years are making their jobs impossible. Confidence in our health service is already at rock-bottom, and none of this will do anything to ease the worries of the people of Pembrokeshire”.

He concluded by stating that,

“It’s now time for serious change.  The closure of the Special Care Baby Unit at Withybush  Hospital would have a seriously detrimental effect on other services, such as paediatrics, A and E and, of course, the ambulance service. Labour’s Health Minister has talked of some action, following the latest ambulance service review. I will be monitoring this action to make sure the changes are effective for my constituents and implemented as soon as possible.”

A Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust spokesperson said of the perceived problem,

“Due to the increase in calls that we experience year on year we are actually reaching more and more people across Wales than ever before. July was an extremely busy month for us, with the service taking 36,964 emergency calls, up by 3,093 calls from the previous month, and 1,149 calls from the same period last year, with more than a third of these – 14,254 calls – being the most serious in nature. We recognise that we are short of the target for these most serious calls and are continuing to work with our Health Board colleagues to improve the situation. We would like to reassure the public that the Trust is firmly committed to delivering the improvement aims of its ‘Working Together for Success’ modernisation programme. We are working, and will continue to work, as hard as we can to get to patients as quickly as possible and provide the best quality of care for the people of Wales and we invite the public to support NHS Wales’ ‘Choose Well’ campaign, so that busy emergency services can help those who need them most urgently. We also ask the public only to dial 999 and attend emergency departments for life-threatening and serious illnesses and injuries – remember to keep emergency ambulances for your emergencies.”

When contacted by The Herald, the Welsh Government Press office responded to these criticisms and statistics by issuing a statement saying that,

“The McClelland Review of Welsh Ambulance Services made it very clear that our current eight minute target is only very weakly supported by clinical evidence. Work is underway to develop a new set of clinical indicators that provide a better view of the quality of ambulance provision in Wales, and these will be in place by April 2014. We are encouraged to note, though, that in Pembrokeshire 69% of ambulances arrived at scene to calls categorised as life threatening within nine minutes and 83.2% in thirteen minutes. We expect Local Health Boards to work closely with the ambulance service to improve service delivery, to ensure the people of Wales receive the high quality care they deserve.”

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Crabb takes up the reins as Wales Committee chair

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PRESELI MP Stephen Crabb has been elected as the new chairman of the Welsh Affairs Committee in Parliament.

Stephen Crabb, who served as Secretary of State for Wales from 2014 to 2016, secured support from across the political divide to be elected unopposed, and is looking forward to taking on the new role.

He received nominations from MPs drawn from of all parties in Wales as well as being supported by numerous other MPs from England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The committee examines the work of the Wales Office and other UK departments in Wales. It takes evidence from Ministers, experts and other witnesses in order to make recommendations that benefit Wales and its economy.

Following the announcement, Stephen Crabb said: “This is an exciting opportunity and I’m grateful to have received support from such a wide cross-section the House of Commons, including from Conservative, Labour and Plaid Cymru MPs. By drawing on the knowledge and passion of MPs from all parties, the committee can help to shape a positive and optimistic agenda for Wales at a time of enormous change.

“Post-Brexit trade deals, the Shared Prosperity Fund, infrastructure investment and the climate challenge will all have an impact on Wales in the years ahead. The Welsh Affairs Committee will provide an essential forum for examining Government action in these areas and ensuring that the unique circumstances of Wales are properly understood.”

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Old barracks promised new lease of life

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THE COMPANY which has purchased the iconic defensible barracks in Pembroke Dock have promised to breathe new life into the historic building.

The grade II fort was built in the Victorian era to provide a military defence to the Royal Dockyard. It was recently sold for an undisclosed sum to VR1844 Ltd. The company directors are listed as Jonathan McDermott, Emma Jane Morby, Lai Hang Seto, and Iain Trevor Walker.

VR1844Ltd office manager Tanya McDermott said: “VR1844 believe people never truly own a building but are the buildings guardians for a period of time.

“Taking the view that it is only the right development for the right building at the right time it is our privilege to bring the building back into life, repair, nurture and give back to the local community, not to shut the main doors and lock the building away from people who are interested in it and its history.

“VR1844 Ltd who have brought this very under-loved and not looked after building, want to bring the buildings back into life with a mix of community uses, together with a number of dwellings that will breathe life back into the buildings.
“To do this VR1844 are already working hard with CADW, Pembrokeshire County Council and local councillors to bring forward a scheme that all parties can support, and the community can once again be proud of.”

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Town councillors object to hotel on health and safety grounds

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TOWN COUNCILLORS in Milford Haven have unanimously voted to object to a planning application my Milford Haven Port Authority to build a 100-bedroom hotel on Milford Docks.
Town Mayor Terry Davies said he had had numerous requests from members of the public to try to get it refused.
Several members of the public were at the meeting to watch, including Ian Bannister and his daughter and James Kershaw – whose homes were seriously flooded in 2018 causing tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage.
Cllr Lynne Turner told councillors: “We look forward to the development of the marina and the town desperately needs a hotel, but we have been contacted by a number of representatives from the Lower Priory and Havens Head area who are very concerned about the impact on flooding in their villages.
“The sewage waste from this development, and the change to water run-off, unless the Port Authority addresses the culverts in the area, then we have to assume that this must present a big risk to increased flooding.”
“We need to wait for the outcome of a report to see how the hotel will affect the villages”
“Then that report needs to be acted upon, if needs be.”
Cllr Rhys Sinnett said: “It is clear from the representation from the communities affected by the floods in 2018, they are still awaiting answers and actions from Pembrokeshire County Council to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.
“Whilst no action is being taken, I don’t see how we can support anything that might raise water levels and I suggest we need to delay this as long as possible.
“There is no reference in the report to the flooding in 2018 so how can we support an application that has faulty information.”
“We have to object to this application within the scope of planning rules, and I propose that we can object in terms of health and safety.
What happened in 2018 was a had a huge impact on the health and safety of those who were living in Lower Priory and in Havens Head.
Cllr Turner then formally that the town council object, as Cllr Sinnett suggested, to the application on health and safety grounds.
Cllr Sinnett added that because of the controversial nature of the application, he would be strongly suggesting the application go before the council’s planning committee.
“That would be best for local democracy” he said, adding “this application should not be decided by officers under their delegated powers.
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