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Red line on hospital safety crossed



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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Welsh Deputy Minister visits New Farm Shop



Pictured : Julie Morgan AM

A new farm and produce shop on the Scolton Manor estate outside Haverfordwest has been visited by a Welsh Government Minister.

Julie Morgan AM – Deputy Minister for Health and Social Care – called at the shop to see the Welsh Government’s Intermediate Care Fund (ICF) in action.

The shop provides work experience, training and supported employment opportunities in retail and customer service for people with learning disabilities, disabilities and autism.

It is an addition to Pembrokeshire County Council’s existing supported employment offer through Norman Industries, the Authority’s sheltered employment factory in Snowdrop Lane, Haverfordwest.

The shop is the result of partnership working involving Workways+ and Experience for Industry – both funded by the European Social Fund through Welsh Government – Norman Industries and the management and staff at the Council-run Scolton Manor attraction.

The shop, which opened just a few weeks ago, will be supplying the public with fresh produce from the walled gardens at Scolton Manor, local meats, produce, tea and coffee.

It also provides a retail outlet for some of the arts, crafts and products made at Norman Industries.

Over the coming months the shop will also be supplying chutneys made by participants and employees at the supported employment café in Milford leisure centre ‘Caffi Man Cwrdd’.

The Deputy Minister was welcomed by County Councillor Tessa Hodgson, the Authority’s Cabinet Member for Social Services.

The farm shop has been partially resourced and staffed through some of the £400,000 ICF money allocated to expand supported employment opportunities regionally.

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Haverfordwest: Police promise extra patrols for GCSE results night



THERE will be an increased police presence in Haverfordwest tonight, in response to an anticipated influx of young people who will be celebrating their GCSE results.

Parents are being asked to go over their child’s plan for the evening, before they head out. Sergeant Haydon Mathias is overseeing the operation.

He said: “It’s a big day for teenagers, and we understand they want to celebrate after all of their hard work.

“We’ll be there to make sure they do that safely, and without disrupting others.

“This is usually a busy night for us, and historically we have seen crime and anti-social behaviour rise. You’ll notice my team out and about from early this evening to stop that happening. They’ll be seizing alcohol from anyone they suspect is under the age of 18, and dealing with any other issues that arise.

“We’re asking parents to take the reins and discuss plans before your child goes out. Make sure you know where they’re celebrating, who they’re with, and how they’re getting home. It’s useful to make sure your child’s phone is fully charged, in case of an emergency.

“I encourage anyone with concerns to come and speak to an officer or Police Community Support Officer around the town, or contact Dyfed-Powys Police.”

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Llangwm Church Donation Box Stolen



St Jerome’s Church: Second theft in a year!


A DONATION box has been stolen from a village church, the second theft from the historic building in a year.

The donation box at St Jerome’s Church, Llangwm, is believed to have been taken in the last few weeks.

The box is usually kept next to the Talking Tapestry of Langum, a project which tells the story of the village’s origin with the invasion of the Flemish in the 12th century and its later history.

Pamela Hunt of Heritage Llangwm said: “This theft is the second from St. Jerome’s in a year.

“If anyone has seen or knows anything, then please let the police know.

“If they feel unable to do that, but would like to contact us at St Jerome’s Church, then email

“We will treat your contact in the strictest confidence.”

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