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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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Welsh Deputy Minister visits New Farm Shop

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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

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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

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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 info@heritagellangwm.org.uk

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

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