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Cancer Day Unit?

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day unitTHE Hywel Dda Health Board’s Glossy Charitable Funds Website has a quote which says: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead.

Fine words indeed, said by an American anthropologist who died in 1978, not words from a local Pembrokeshire NHS Cancer patient. The words are excellent and very true, but a group of committed Pembrokeshire citizens have raised funds for ten years now for a new Cancer Day Unit and refurbished Ward 10 at Withybush Hospital and still they wait.

I recently read a Hywel Dda Charitable Funds Committee Summary Report which was written in November 2010. It stated that a decision could not be made until after the clinical review had concluded in the summer of 2011.

They provided assurances that the Cancer Day Unit was NOT under threat and the Chairman, Mr Chris Martin, agreed to issue a statement to provide assurance to the local population. The statement never happened and two and a half years on still nothing happens with the CDU and Ward 10.

In the report from a meeting, held on September 29, 2011 whose subject was the Charitable Funds Committee Report, point 13 stated: “Current (Charitable) Fund Balances – Charitable Funds could be used for priority items which had just failed to be funded from the Capital Programmes.” Is that what people have given donations for? And do they know this?

I was a member of the Cancer Day Unit Stakeholders Committee and we met regularly discussing the progress etc. In June 2012 the meetings stopped, a couple were arranged and then cancelled at short notice and then nothing. When asked, no one from Hywel Dda would give a reason why the meetings stopped.

I received a reply, to a Freedom of Information request I had made on March 1, 2012 which gave me the Hywel Dda Local Health Board Charitable Funds – Pembrokeshire Division Balances as at March 31, 2011.

I was criticised at one of these CDU Stakeholders meetings for doing this Freedom of Information request to ask for details of the Charitable Funds held for Ward 10 and the CDU, and for giving the details to the local newspapers. I felt the use of Charitable Funds was in the interest of the Pembrokeshire public, who after all had donated all this money.

The balance of Pembrokeshire Charitable funds was £3,056,252.86. My main concern is for Cancer Services and I was amazed to see that Ward 10 at Withybush Hospital, which is greatly in need of a facelift, had an incredible £292,705.01. I have spent a fair amount of time on Ward 10 due to my own cancer problems. It is certainly in need of some updating even if only to make it a more uplifting environment conducive to helping recovery. The staff on Ward 10 are excellent and I have nothing but praise for the work they do. How could it be justified to be sitting on nearly £300,000 which in all honesty had taken some time to accumulate?

The Cancer/ Chemotherapy Day Unit had £239,447.64 in charitable funds. It can be regularly seen in the local newspapers how people work hard to raise funds for this unit staffed by wonderful doctors and nurses. Many people who have sadly lost their fight with cancer leave money to the unit to help others in the future.

So why was £239,447.64 not being utilised to improve the unit? I owe my life to the staff on CDU and therefore feel I need to speak out for them. This was 2011, can you imagine how much has been added to the pot since then. Every week in the papers it shows people leaving money to the CDU and Ward 10.

However, since then the Charitable Funds position has changed. Now funds go into three pots, one of which is Cancer Services and can allegedly (because they will not confirm or deny) be spent anywhere in the Hywel Dda Health Board area. So money raised for Pembrokeshire by Pembrokeshire people is not necessarily spent in Pembrokeshire. So how much does the Cancer Day Unit and Ward 10 have now? Well no one at Hywel Dda seems to know when the question is asked.

I wrote to Mark Drakeford (Health Minister at the Welsh Assembly), in November 2013, who told me: “I have been informed that the Health Board is planning to create a CDU at Withybush Hospital by refurbishing existing accommodation with funds from local fundraising.” I wrote to Mr Chris Martin (Hywel Dda Chairman) who would only say services are being reviewed.

This week I saw the approved minutes of the Hywel Dda Charitable Funds Committee Meeting held on September 3, 2013. The agenda item CF(13)55 said: “The committee considered and agreed to ring fence the £300k towards the creation of a new Cancer Day Service and £250k for the refurbishment of Ward 10.”

This sounds brilliant, although we have been told that money has been ring fenced before and nothing has happened, but the next sentence says: “This development would help appease local feeling in Pembrokeshire and provide a positive message.” So the Health Board are going to “appease” the public of Pembrokeshire. What does appease mean to you? To me it is to pacify or placate, to bring peace, quiet, or calm to; to soothe.

The Pembrokeshire public do not want to be “appeased” they want a new Cancer Day Unit and a refurbished Ward 10. Many of us have gone through cancer, are going through cancer or will one day find out we have cancer. We need proper facilities and top quality services. We have top quality doctors and nurses on CDU and Ward 10 at Withybush Hospital so give them the tools to do the job properly.

Don’t get me started on poor old Dr Anne Barnes MBE (for services to Cancer Patients in Pembrokeshire) who desperately needs support as she does about three jobs at the same time on Ward 10, as consultants have left and not been replaced. So, Mr Trevor Purt, Chief Executive and Mr Chris Martin, Chairman of the Hywel Dda Health Board – “Where is our new cancer care unit?”

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Second fire-break lockdown is likely early next year says Deputy Economy Minister

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A SECOND fire-break lockdown is likely in Wales in early January or February, a Welsh Government minister has warned.

Deputy Economy and Transport Minister, Lee Waters, said the current firebreak was unlikely to be the last in Wales – with England “expected” to follow.

Wales is currently in the middle of a two-week national lockdown to try and control the spread of coronavirus, he said.

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales Sunday Supplement programme he said people should be prepared to come in and out of lockdowns until a Covid-19 vaccine is found.

He said: “This is not the last lockdown we are going to see the projections we published in a worst case scenario show it’s likely we are going to need another firebreak in January or
February.”

He added that Wales is now witnessing a second peak, with critical care admissions increasing by 57% this week alone, and that was why the Welsh Government has introduced this “short, sharp” intervention.”

Lee Waters thinks that one lockdown will not be enough

Plaid Cymru said it was vital the test and trace system was improved during this firebreak to break the cycle of “devastating” national lockdowns.
“It is concerning to hear talk of plans for future firebreaks at the start of this reset,” said shadow health minister Rhun ap Iorwerth.
“If the Welsh Government puts effective measures in place over the next fortnight, a new strategy for the months ahead, it should be aiming to avoid having to return to these tight nationwide restrictions.
“Ministers must resolve the issues within the test, trace, support and isolate system to enable the newly adopted zero-Covid strategy to be successfully implemented.”

Meanwhile, a 28-year-old man has been charged with criminal damage and contravention of coronavirus regulations after allegedly being filmed removing plastic from items in a Tesco store.

Gwilym Owen, 28, will appear before magistrates on November 24 following the incident in the Bangor Tesco Extra store on Friday.

North Wales Police said Owen, from Anglesey, has been further charged with several public order offences.

Owen allegedly posted the video of himself on his Facebook account. A man is heard saying “since when has clothes been exempt?”, “rip the f***ers off!” and “kids’ f***ing clothes, it is a disgrace.”

As staff attempt to challenge the man and to stop him, he swore at them. He can be heard saying: “Since when have clothes been non-essential?”

A spokesperson for Tesco said: “Under new restrictions set out by the Welsh Government, we are currently unable to sell ‘non-essential’ items in our stores.
“Our colleagues have worked hard to put these measures in place and we ask that customers please respect these restrictions.”

Despite a petition which has now more than 50,000 signatures, The Welsh Government said: “We are not reviewing the requirements for supermarkets not to sell non-essentials we are going to review how it’s working in practice. Clearly there are some bumps.”

On the Andrew Marr Show, Labour’s health minister, Vaughan Gething also confirmed that the Welsh Government’s ban on the sale of non-essential items in supermarkets will also remain in place.

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Crabb urges us to ‘not drop the ball’ on polio vaccinations

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PRESELI MP Stephen Crabb has joined celebrated Paralympian and TV Presenter Ade Adepitan MBE and UK polio survivors this World Polio Day to produce a short film.

The group, all champions of the One Last Push campaign, have produced a video released on October 24th (World Polio Day), reminding people that ‘we can’t drop the ball’ on the fight for eradication. The film is inspired by Ade’s role as a professional basketball player.

This August, Africa was certified wild poliovirus free. This landmark achievement was made possible by global collaboration and the unwavering dedication of thousands of people on the ground working tirelessly to ensure every last child receives the vaccine. The UK has played a leading role in this remarkable progress – last November, the UK Government pledged to vaccinate 400 million children a year until 2023 against polio.

Mr Crabb is an advocate for polio eradication and a champion of the One Last Push campaign. He says: “Despite remarkable progress, polio is still a reality for children in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The UK must continue playing a leading role, and continue to support partners, organisations, and the people on the ground working towards eradication. Organisations like Rotary International have also played an important part in combating polio, with their Purple4Polio campaign, which has been well supported in Pembrokeshire.

“With the success in Africa, we now need ‘One Last Push’ to help free other countries of this terrible disease.”

Despite the good news, challenges to polio eradication efforts such as mobile populations, weak routine immunisations, community refusals, have been exacerbated this year by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now is the time to bring together voices of support for World Polio Day to ensure we don’t lose the gains we’ve worked so hard to achieve and continue to keep our foot on the pedal until polio is wiped out for good.

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Driver mounted pavements and hit parked vehicles after drinking two bottles of wine

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A MAN who got behind the wheel of his car after drinking two bottles of wine, mounted pavements and crashed into two parked vehicles has been banned from driving.

Andrew McAteer, of The Green in Pembroke, put the safety of pedestrians at risk as he mounted kerbs on the wrong side of the road in an attempt to get away from Dyfed-Powys Police officers on September 19.

The 43-year-old was brought to the attention of the Pembrokeshire Roads Policing Unit when he pulled out in front of a marked police vehicle so suddenly it caused the driving officer to break sharply.

Because of the way the vehicle was being driven, officers illuminated their blue lights to indicate that he should pull over and stop.

However, McAteer did not comply.

PC Richard Mycroft said: “McAteer led officers on a pursuit of approximately 1.5 miles around the streets of Pembroke Dock.

“He was seen to mount the kerb and drive on the wrong side of the road, also colliding with two parked vehicles.

“It was only when he turned into a dead end car park that he came to a stop.

“His manner of driving was incredibly dangerous and reckless – putting a number of people at risk.”

The defendant finally stopped in a car park off Western Way, where he left the car and tried to run from officers.

He was taken to the ground and attempts were made to carry out a breath test.

PC Mycroft said: “As I was preparing the breathalyser, he said ‘I’m over the limit and that’s all I’m saying’, before refusing to be tested.

“He added ‘it doesn’t matter, I’m losing my licence’ when asked if he was refusing to provide a sample’.”

McAteer was arrested for failing to provide a roadside specimen of breath, and was taken to custody, where he also refused to provide a blood sample.

Despite having no recollection of the incident, the defendant said he had drunk two bottles of wine that day and admitted the offences.

He was charged with dangerous driving, failing to stop when requested by police, failing to stop following a collision, and failing to provide a sample of breath.

He appeared at Swansea Crown Court for sentencing on Thursday, October 22. He was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for 12 months, and was disqualified from driving for three years.

He must also complete a rehabilitation activity requirement, an alcohol treatment course, and must sit an extended driving test.

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