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Red line on hospital safety crossed

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red linePLAID CYMRU Preseli candidate John Osmond has called on Joyce Watson, Labour AM for Mid and West Wales, to use her vote in the National Assembly to halt the downgrading of Withybush Hospital.

“The Labour government in Cardiff has no majority for moving consultant-led maternity services from Withybush to Glangwili in Carmarthen, as announced by Health Minister Mark Drakeford last week,” John Osmond said.

“In a vote on the issue before Christmas the Assembly divided 28 to 28 – with all the Opposition parties voting against. However, the motion fell on the casting vote of the Presiding Officer who is obliged to support the status quo in a tied vote.

“On that occasion Joyce Watson sided with her Labour colleagues. But that was before the announcement was made. Now she should put her loyalty to the people of Pembrokeshire before that to her party whip.

“Joyce Watson, who lives in Haverfordwest, must know of the dismay and anger of people in the county at this decision which, if it goes ahead, will inevitably mean that sooner or later pregnant women and/or their babies will die inside ambulances on their way from Pembrokeshire to Carmarthen.

“In the debate on Withybush in the Senedd on November 27, Joyce Watson said: “What is clear to me is that Withybush must retain a service that can stabilise mother and baby when complications occur. That is a red line and a promise that has been given in the Chamber.”

“Well, that red line has now been crossed,” John Osmond continued. “It is clear that the intention is, when complications occur, for mothers and their babies to be taken by ambulance to Carmarthen.

“In the debate in the Senedd that followed the Minister’s announcement on Withybush on January 21, Joyce said: ‘Even with all the very best planning in the world, you can never anticipate the emergency that happens. That was the situation that I found myself in when I was having my son. Within 15 minutes, he was born. Had he not been born, I doubt very much that he would be here now for me to tell you that story. I also doubt very much that I would have been here looking as healthy as I do.’

John Osmond added: “Consultants at Withybush tell me that the maximum safe transfer time for a pregnant woman who experiences complications in childbirth is 20 minutes.

“When he made his announcement the Health Minister tried to address our concerns about the problems of distance and travelling times in Pembrokeshire. He said he wanted to see a ‘robust’ emergency transport service put in place before consultant-led emergency provision was removed from Withybush.

“All these issues have been placed in stark focus by the case of Mrs Kate Sutton, of Johnston, whose life was saved at Withybush hospital in the middle of the night a few weeks ago.

“I can tell the Chamber that detailed work will now go on, involving my officials and local health boards, to accelerate the introduction of a new round-the-clock emergency retrieval service for Wales, deploying specialised medical staff. The planning for that service will include the capacity to transfer sick babies and mothers in labour.”

Joyce’s reply

Asked for her response to this story, Joyce Watson said: “The health minister has confirmed that, while the midwife-led unit is being set up at Withybush, there will be consultant obstetric cover to support midwives. So, should they come across cases that they do not have the confidence or experience to deal with, there will be a consultant available to them. It is critical that all services in place after this initial establishing phase are built around the safety of mothers and babies.

“Hywel Dda has established an over-arching Programme Board to take forward the neonatal, obstetrics and gynaecology model, including ‘safety net’ requirements. I will continue to scrutinise the implementation of these services – including hospital transport – to ensure that the changes are in the best interests of patients in Pembrokeshire and throughout the Hywel Dda area. To that end, I was pleased that the First Minister confirmed once again last week that the future of Withybush hospital as a district general hospital is not under any threat whatsoever.”

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Police Tasered teenager in Hakin following car theft

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A SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD boy who resisted arrest after stealing a vehicle and driving it around Glebelands in Hakin in the middle of the night had to be Tasered, police have said.

The Herald understands that police were called after the teenager took a white car at 3am and started doing loops around the estate. Police units moved in blocking off side roads to keep the vehicle within a confined area, and finally he was arrested and taken into custody.

Some residents in the street who had been woken up by the incident contacted this newspaper.
The boy was not hurt.

A witness said: “The police wanted him detained but he was having none of it, chopsing the police. Next minute they fired and he fell straight to the floor like a log, but not before he had been chased through someone’s garden.”

“He was acting extremely aggressively and I think the police had no option.”

A spokesperson for Dyfed Powys Police told The Pembrokeshire Herald in a prepared statement: A 17-year-old male was arrested in Glebelands in Hakin on suspicion of aggravated taking a vehicle without owner’s consent, driving without a licence and driving without insurance, at around 3.35am on Friday, 16 October.

The male resisted arrest and was Tasered to prevent him causing any injury to himself or members of the public.

He did not require any medical attention.

He has been charged to appear at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court on November 6.

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Vulnerable man targeted by rogue trader

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A ROGUE trader has been ordered to pay almost £2,000 by a court after carrying out shocking DIY work for a vulnerable Jameston man.

Pembrokeshire Trading Standards prosecuted 20-year-old Douggie James Whitbread who traded as Wales and West Property Solution.

Haverfordwest Magistrates were told on Friday (Oct 23) that a joint investigation with Dyfed-Powys Police discovered that Whitbread of 8 Coldwell Terrace, Pembroke, first approached the 66-year-old victim in the summer of 2019.

After agreeing to cut the man’s grass, Whitbread made regular accompanied visits looking for other jobs and pressurising the pensioner to have them done.

The victim did not know him as Douggie Whitbread as the defendant gave a false name.

Whitbread offered to fit new floor lino in the toilet and small adjoining passageway of the victim’s home, saying he would do a good job. Instead, the court heard, he and a fellow worker spent less than an hour and charged £300.

The standard of the work was shocking and showed Whitbread’s inept ability. Jagged edges and numerous gaps were left where it had not been fitted correctly, exposing the existing floor underneath.

Despite there being enough lino on the two metre by two metre roll, Whitbread told the victim he needed more to finish the job.

A few weeks later the victim was approached by Whitbread at a bus stop near his home. He said he would return the next day to finish the work and that he wanted another £300.

The victim informed a neighbour and Pembrokeshire County Council’s Trading Standards team and when Whitbread returned he was arrested by police.

Whitbread was also questioned about another incident involving hedge-cutting for an elderly lady and admitted taking away the waste as advertised on his business flyer. However, he did not hold a Waste Carrier Licence at the time.

Whitbread admitted four offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. These were: carrying out work not fit for purpose; trading without professional diligence; omitting to give required information for doorstep contracts and advertising and conducting waste removal services when not licensed.

A £200 fine was imposed for each offence together with £1,000 costs plus a £110 victim surcharge. A compensation order for £300 was also awarded to the victim and a restraining order imposed prohibiting Whitbread from approaching the pensioner indefinitely.

“I am appalled by the standard of work and how this vulnerable gentleman has been hounded and taken advantage of” said Sandra McSparron, Lead Trading Standards Officer. She added that the incidents had left the victim anxious and unwell.

The County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Protection, Cris Tomos, said: “This court case sends a clear warning to rogue traders that targeting the elderly and vulnerable for financial gain will not be tolerated. We will pursue and prosecute all those who commit such despicable crimes.”

Councillor Tomos also said the case showed the great community spirit of Jameston residents looking out for one another and was a fine example of successful partnership work between the police and Trading Standards.

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Drug driver arrested in Milford Haven after driving through stop sign and into roadworks

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A DRUG driver who drove through a stretch of roadworks on the wrong side of the road, before hitting a parked car and trying to hide from police has appeared in court.

Christopher John Brown led Dyfed-Powys Police officers on a pursuit through Milford Haven on Friday afternoon (October 23), putting pedestrians and other road users at risk.

Pembrokeshire Roads Policing Unit have thanked people for their help in tracing the 31-year-old, of Meyler Crescent, after the manner of his driving became so dangerous they could no longer follow him.

A Roads Policing Officer had attempted to stop Brown at around 1pm when he was seen driving out of The Mount estate at speed.

However, he failed to stop when requested and sped away in his BMW.

As police followed, Brown drove on the wrong side of the road, overtook a number of cars waiting at roadworks, and drove through a stop sign, forcing an off duty officer to take evasive action as the defendant drove towards him.

Police deemed the danger level too high to continue the pursuit when Brown drove through a coned area of roadworks where there were a number of people working.

At this point, members of the public pointed out to officers which direction he had driven in.

Brown went on to collide with a parked car, before getting out of his vehicle and attempting to hide behind another. He was found by a PC, who arrested him on suspicion of dangerous driving and administered a drug wipe.

A Pembrokeshire RPU spokesman said: “This was a highly dangerous incident, during which Brown put a number of people’s lives at risk.

“Driving through a stop sign and into a coned area of roadworks was simply beyond comprehension, and could have had a tragic outcome.

“As we decided to end the pursuit, we were assisted by a number of people, and the team would like to thank members of the public in Milford Haven for their help in tracing Brown.

“Your support is greatly appreciated.”

Brown was charged with dangerous driving, driving with no insurance, driving while disqualified, failing to stop when requested by police, and possession of cannabis.

His vehicle, which had no insurance, tax or mot, was also seized.

He was remanded to appear in front of the next available court, and admitted all five offences at Swansea Magistrates’ Court on Saturday, October 24. He also pleaded guilty to an additional charge of driving whilst unfit through drugs, which was laid on at court.

He will be sentenced at Swansea Crown Court on November 16.

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