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Care company denies negligence

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denies negligenceA CONCERNED son is trying to help his elderly parents after they were denied the right to lodge a claim for professional negligence by Pembrokeshire Care.

Graham and Margaret Hughes had a new bathroom installed at their home in Tenby in September 2012, but say that the completed work is substandard.

A report says that Graham and Margaret have been “left with a bathroom that is dangerous, illegal, and not fit for purpose”.

Three separate reports were commissioned to look at the work and all of them found a number of problems with the work. The main issue is with the electric consumer unit for the shower is located in the gas meter enclosure, which is against regulations.

However, in an alleged cover-up by Pembrokeshire Care and Repair, they have been denied the right to lodge a claim for professional negligence and their son Mike is now speaking with police to see if a criminal offence has been committed.

Mr and Mrs Hughes were led to believe that the claim was being investigated and were also offered unsatisfactory resolutions. The project has subsequently been condemned by three separate Independent Professional Surveys. PC&R have since denied liability for the claim and have also described it as “misconceived”.

Mike has contacted the Housing Minister Carl Sargeant and has also spoken to numerous representatives at PC&R.

In a letter to the Housing Minister Carl Sargeant, Mike says: “According to their website ‘Pembrokeshire Care & Repair is a not-for-profit charitable organisation dedicated to assist older and or disabled people to remain in their own homes in comfort, safety and security’. Whereas my parents have been left with a bathroom (which my parents have paid for) which is dangerous, illegal, and not fit for purpose. Pembrokeshire Care and Repair deny liability”.

In an email sent to PC&R Chairman David Bryan, Mike writes: “As an aide memoire, allow me to point to the more egregious half-truths, prevarications, and falsehoods contained in the PC&R letter dated October 11.”

One of the main half-truths is: ‘Your parents consider that the contractor’s works were defective’.

“This fails to mention the critical fact that three independent professional reports, one of which includes the Bullock Electrical Engineers’ report commissioned by Pembrokeshire Care and Repair, have condemned the works.

“Moreover the letter fails to mention – an especially important omission given the profile of the users, and PC&R’s mandated role as protectors of the elderly – the fact that all three professional reports posit in the clearest possible terms that the works, as well as being defective, are also both dangerous and illegal; and should be rectified immediately.

Another half-truth is: ‘The contractor offered to remedy the alleged defects’.

On the matter of the contractor offering to remedy the alleged defects, Mike commented: “Firstly, the ‘alleged defects’ as the letter puts it, are not ‘alleged’. They are attested to by three independent specialist reports – including the Bullock Electrical Engineering report commissioned by PC&R. “Moreover, as you of course know, the contractor’s ‘offer’ referred to, was an eventual; partial; and completely unsatisfactory concession. To wit: Paul Rogers stormed out of the initial meeting with my brother and Scott Nash on October 26, 2012 – and had to be called back by Mr Nash. Paul Rogers subsequently flatly refused in his email, dated October 31, 2012, to rectify the faults identified in the albeit comprehensively and dangerously omissive PC&R snagging list – itself only provided by Scott Nash after the chance intervention of my brother Peter Hughes”.

Mike adds: “However, in the intervening months, far from the claim being properly ‘investigated’ by the insurers – with whom we repeatedly sought, but were denied contact – PC&R were in the process of denying the legitimacy of my parents’ claim, based on provable and wilful falsehoods.

“It is a criminal offence to knowingly make a false insurance claim. Logic dictates that it must also be a criminal offence to knowingly, and falsely, deny a legitimate insurance claim – and in particular, where the wrongful denial not only causes loss; but also places the frail and elderly in danger.

“Whilst it is certain that a civil tort has been committed, I therefore intend to clarify with the police, as to whether the wrongful denial of a legitimate professional negligence claim, through deliberate falsehood, is a criminal offence”.

The letter sent on October 11 also says that the works would be monitored and inspected, but this is contrary to another letter sent on May 9 which says the work was not inspected.

The police have also been made aware of this issue.

Tina Mills, the Agency Manager said:-“Pembrokeshire Care & Repair is a local charitable, not for profit organisation which aims to provide advice, support and assistance to older or disabled persons to carry out repairs, adaptations or improvements to their homes.

“In the past year it has provided a range of services to over 1650 people.

“Customers who told us that they were very satisfied or satisfied with the services provided by Care & Repair – 98% those who would recommend Care & Repair to others –98% and who were satisfied with the standard of work carried out in their homes – 97%.

“We regret that Mr & Mrs Hughes feel that they did not receive the appropriate level of service nor satisfactory completion of the work undertaken.

“We are keen to resolve the issue; the contractor who undertook the work has offered to return to remedy an identified list of defects,

“The electrical sub-contractor who undertook the electrical work has also offered to return to remedy the identified defects.

“The contractor has offered to pay the costs of an electrical contractor of the family’s choosing to remedy the electrical defects

“The contractor has also agreed to participate in mediation, as originally requested on behalf of Mr & Mrs Hughes.

“All of these offers have been rejected.

“Cllr David Bryan, Chair of Pembrokeshire Care & Repair has also visited Mr & Mrs Hughes to discuss their complaint”.

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First Minister eases COVID restrictions

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NEW rules have come into force today (Monday Aug 3) to make it easier for family and friends to meet outdoors, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced on Friday 31 July as he set out further changes to the coronavirus regulations in Wales.

The latest package of changes follow the sixth review of the coronavirus regulations and focus on enabling friends and family to meet each other outdoors and enabling more businesses to open indoors.

The First Minster has explained that consideration has been given to extend the number of people able to meet indoors, however this will depend on people continuing to follow the rules and levels of the virus in Wales.

And has urged people to follow the new rules and guidance to help keep Wales safe and control the spread of coronavirus in the face of worrying trends across Europe.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“We are becoming accustomed to living with coronavirus but we shouldn’t forget the danger it poses. This is a deadly disease and the risk to our health has not gone away – as we can see in parts of Europe where there have been new outbreaks and new measures introduced to control its spread.

“The rates of the virus in Wales remain low, allowing us to relax the restrictions further over the next few weeks but we can only do this if everyone continues to take steps to protect themselves and their loved ones.

“Businesses are required to take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of spreading the virus on their premises. They have worked really hard to put in place measures to protect staff and customers. And we all need to do our bit too by complying with these and to keep our distance whenever we leave home and meet others.

“To the small minority who aren’t following the rules – we will take action. We’re working with our enforcement authorities here in Wales to ensure they have the powers and resources they need. I want to make sure all the measures developed to keep us safe are complied with.”

A series of changes will be made to the coronavirus regulations over the next three weeks:

From 3 August:

The restrictions preventing more than two households or extended households meeting outdoors will be changed to allow up to 30 people to meet outdoors. Physical distancing must be maintained at all times.
Pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes will be able to re-open indoors. As will indoor bowling alleys, auction houses and bingo halls.

Licenced wedding venues will be able to re-open to provide wedding ceremonies. However, indoor receptions will not be able to take place for the time being – they will be considered as part of the changes for August 15.

The guidance will be updated to relax the position on children under 11 having to maintain a 2m distance from each other or from adults. This reflects the scientific evidence, which shows the risk of transmission is lower among this age group. However, it is very important older children and young adults continue to follow social distancing and the other measures to keep them safe.
If conditions remain favourable, from 10 August:

Swimming pools, indoor fitness studios, gyms, spas and indoor leisure centres will be able to re-open.
Children’s indoor play areas will be able to open.

The Welsh Government is also exploring whether changes can be made to the rules to enable people to meet indoors with other people who aren’t part of their household or extended household from August 15.

The First Minister added:

“It is thanks to the hard efforts of everyone in Wales that we have been able to control the spread of coronavirus and relax the restrictions. We can only continue to do this if everyone carries on this hard work.

“If we stop now, there is a real risk we will see new outbreaks of coronavirus and we may have to reverse some of these restrictions to control its spread again.

“We are facing the likelihood of a resurgence of the virus over the autumn and winter –this will not be over by Christmas. We all have an ongoing responsibility to keep Wales safe. This means maintaining social distancing, washing our hands often and thinking carefully about where we go, what we’re doing and why.”

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Temporary measures create extra space around the county

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FURTHER measures to aid social distancing are being considered by Pembrokeshire County Council following the successful implementation of several schemes.

Through engagement with local communities and funding from the Welsh Government for the re-allocation of road space, the Council has created extra space to support social distancing measures and the unlocking of businesses.

The measures also look to promote active travel and other forms of sustainable travel.

Over recent weeks schemes have been focussed on the centres of Tenby, Saundersfoot and St Davids as well as some measures in Narberth and Haverfordwest.

In Saundersfoot parking bays have been suspended and temporary barriers have been put in place to extend the width of the footway at Cambrian Terrace and The Strand.

A new one-way system has also been introduced in the centre of St Davids. This has allowed the carriageway width to be reduced and a new pedestrian footway created linking Oriel-y-Parc to Cross Square.

In addition the Authority has also partially pedestrianised Cross Square which has created a pedestrian friendly environment and an area that can be utilised for other types of activities including market stalls.

In Narberth the Council has introduced measures to support social distancing where footway widths do not lend themselves to two way pedestrian flow. Again parking has been suspended and temporary barriers installed to allow part of the highway to be utilised by pedestrians. Further measures are currently being considered at other locations.

In Tenby for the annual pedestrianisation scheme, the Council has looked to support the unlocking of businesses by providing guidance and advice on various matters including Café Culture and social distancing.

Our Streetcare team has played a pivotal role in meeting various businesses including those from the hospitality sector, and has looked at individual properties to see what measures can be implemented.

In addition we have provided extensive information signage at all of the above locations highlighting the need to social distance.

All measures have involved community engagement from the start which has meant that we have been able to develop the schemes with the support of those impacted.

The situation across Pembrokeshire is currently being reviewed with regards to whether further measures are needed.

Councillor Phil Baker, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Licensing and Major Events, said: “By working closely with our communities we have been able to determine what needs to be done and where, to ensure we can continue to unlock safely.

“The extra space provided and the safe space for pedestrians is part of our plans to work together and adapt the way we live in response to Covid-19.

“These schemes will support our businesses, residents and visitors and we will implement further schemes where it is deemed necessary.”

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Police dispersed large group of teenagers and seized alcohol in Broad Haven

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POLICE have been out in force in Broad Haven dealing with groups of teenagers gathering and drinking in Broad Haven.

It is currently illegal for more than two households to meet together outdoors due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Friday night (Jul 31) operation resulted in an amount of alcohol being seized.

A police spokesperson told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “Officers are currently in Broad Haven dispersing a large group of teenagers who have gathered. Alcohol has been seized and they have been directed to leave the area.

“If a parent has a child currently in Broad Haven could you please contact them and arrange to collect them.”

Police are urging youngsters to respect local communities by not gathering in large groups this weekend

Officers and their partner agencies are concerned about reports there may be gatherings of youngsters planned for this weekend in Pembrokeshire.

Police are working closely with partners in the county this weekend, and will act quickly to disperse any such gatherings.

Police are urging youngsters to act responsibly, and respect our local communities and the sacrifices we’ve all made over the past few months to have some more freedom now.

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