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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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Cllr Beynon suspended as school governor at Pembroke’s Ysgol Harri Tudur

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL said that they are unable to comment on the suspension of a Pembroke Dock councillor as a school governor.

Cllr Beynon confirmed that he has been suspended as a school governor at Pembroke’s Ysgol Harri Tudur.

“I’m looking forward until when the ombudsman throws out the complaints,” Cllr Beynon said.

Paul Dowson, a fellow Pembroke Dock councillor, recently resigned from the board of school governors of Ysgol Harri Tudur.

Cllr Dowson said after he resigned: “I feel a recent smear campaign reflects badly on the school even though its untrue.”

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Pembrokeshire man admits catalogue of sexual offences against children

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A HAVERFORDWEST man has pleaded guilty to a huge catalogue of sexual offences against children, including possession of more than 9,000 indecent images.

Kevin David John has admitted 20 offences in total – including the rape of a girl under 16 – following a three-month investigation by Dyfed-Powys Police.

The 49-year-old, who appeared at Swansea Crown Court on June 23, came to police attention in April when he was arrested and a search carried out at his Prendergast home.

In total 111 different storage devices were seized – including tablets, laptops and mobile phones – along with almost 1,000 disks.

Specialist officers spent hours combing through huge amounts of data, uncovering substantial evidence of further offending, and John was charged and remanded into custody.

John initially appeared at Swansea Magistrates Court on April 24 where he pleaded guilty to five counts: recording a person doing a private act, sexual assault, causing a girl under 16 to engage in sexual activity, and two of taking an indecent photograph of a child.

He later admitted a further 15, which comprised sexual assault, sexual assault by touching, four sexual assaults of a child, rape, possession of Category A, B and C indecent photographs, making Category A, B and C pseudo-photographs of a child, possession of a prohibited image of a child, and possession of extreme pornographic images.

Detective Inspector Richard Lewis said: “This has been a detailed and harrowing investigation from the outset, involving a number of vulnerable victims and witnesses.

“Their courage in speaking out has been humbling, and the information they shared with us was invaluable in getting John to court,” he said.

Darren Mutter, Head of Children’s Services at Pembrokeshire County Council, said the council’s social services department had also worked closely with police to support the victims and their families, and ensure all safeguarding was addressed.

Added DI Lewis: “Police officers throughout Pembrokeshire played a role in this enquiry, and I would like to convey my sincere thanks to all staff involved for their professionalism and dedication in what has been a challenging and sensitive enquiry.

“Thanks also to Dyfed-Powys Police’s digital cybercrime unit, whose rigorous interrogation of a mammoth amount of potential evidence enabled us to build a robust case that demonstrated the severity of John’s offending.”

John will appear for sentencing at Swansea Crown Court on July 17.

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Jail for sleight of hand fraudster

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A MAN has been jailed for four fraud offences after purposely confusing post office and bank staff with sleight of hand techniques.

Costel Ventel visited four post offices and a bank in Pembrokeshire in one day, tricking staff into handing over a total of £930.

Just hours later, the 20-year-old from Birmingham was reported to Dyfed-Powys Police for trying to use the same technique in Llanelli.

PC Olivia Jones said: “We were called to post offices in Tenby, Saundersfoot and Kilgetty, as well as HSBC in Tenby, on May 17, 2019, where Ventel had committed or attempted to commit fraud.

“He’d asked staff to exchange bank notes, then purposely confused them by using sleight of hand techniques. Ventel passed notes back and fore, managing to pocket £450 from one and £480 from another without the member of staff noticing.

“We believed he had travelled from Birmingham for the purpose of carrying out these acts of fraud, and enquiries immediately started to locate him.”

Later that day, Ventel travelled to Llanelli, where he tried to commit further offences at HSBC.

PC Jones said: “Thankfully, staff at the bank were alerted to their unusual behaviour and recognised them from descriptions circulated following the incident at the Tenby branch, and called police.

“Both men were arrested on suspicion of fraud offences.”

Initially Ventel was released under investigation, but following extensive enquiries over a number of months, four charges of fraud by false representations were secured against him.

He was summonsed to appear at court June 30, where he was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison.

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