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Care company denies negligence



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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The NSPCC and Childline are here to help children



THE NSPCC and Childline want children and young people across Wales to know that they are not alone and that they have someone to talk or turn to if they have any worries about bullying.

It is heart-breaking to know that last year more than 500 children and young people in Wales contacted Childline due to concerns about bullying.
THE NSPCC and Childline want children and young people across Wales to know that they are not alone and that they have someone to talk or turn to if they have any worries about bullying.

It is heart-breaking to know that last year more than 500 children and young people in Wales contacted Childline due to concerns about bullying.

This week is ‘Anti-Bullying Week’ which runs from Monday 11 November to Friday 15 November.

We know that 501 youngsters from Wales contacted the free and confidential NSPCC-supported counselling service last year about bullying – which is a rise on the previous year of almost 28 per cent.

The majority of those contacts from Wales – nearly 85 per cent – related to concerns about bullying which were not online.

It can be difficult for children to know where to start with helping someone who is being bullied.

Bullying, whether it happens online or offline, can take over a child’s world and have a devastating impact on them and their family, leading in some cases to serious mental health problems and even suicide.

Every year at Childline, we provide support to hundreds of young people who are struggling with bullying and have nowhere else to turn.

This ‘Anti-Bullying Week’ we want to remind young people how important it is to talk to someone they trust – be it a friend, parent, teacher or a Childline counsellor.

We are also encouraging children to remember that just a few words of support can make a massive difference to a friend who is being bullied.

The new Childline ‘#IGotYou’ campaign encourages young people to remember that just a few words of support can make a massive difference, whether the bullying is happening offline or online.

· Let them know you’re there for them,

· Help them to get support,

· Think before you like or comment on something,

· Help to distract them.

Any child who has concerns about bullying can contact Childline (0800 1111) or look at our advice pages on the Childline website.

We also have some advice for carers, guardians and parents who may have concerns or worries about a child or young person with regards to bullying.

· Talk to your child about bullying and cyberbullying,

· Let them know who to ask for help,

· Help them relax and take a time out,

· Report bullying on social media and online gaming,

· Report bullying videos shared online,

· Talk to your child’s school or club.

The NSPCC, in partnership with 02, runs an advice line (0808 800 5002) for parents with questions about how to protect their children online – our experts can advise on privacy settlings, parental controls or how to have conversations about bullying online.

Parents can also visit the NSPCC and O2’s Net Aware website which explores the most popular apps and games, featuring helpful safety tips and feedback from both parents and children.

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Milford Haven: Sailor dies after falling into dock



A MEMBER of a boat’s crew has died after falling into Milford Docks last night.
The alarm was raised at around midnight, and coastguard rescuers from Dale and Broad Haven, police, fire and ambulance services were called to the docks where the man was pulled from the water, and taken to hospital in an ambulance.
However, tragically, the man did not survive.
A Welsh Ambulance Service Spokesperson said: “We were called on November 12, just after midnight to reports of an incident at the Docks, Milford Haven.
“We responded with two emergency ambulances and one patient was transported to Withybush Hospital, Haverfordwest.”
A police spokesperson told The Herald: “Dyfed-Powys Police was called at approximately 12.15am this morning (Nov 12) to a report of a man in the water at Milford Haven Docks. The man was taken to hospital where he sadly died.
“Police are working in co-operation with the Marine Accident Investigation Branch, which is deploying to the scene, to establish the circumstances surrounding the death.
“H.M Coroner has been informed”

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Chip shop owner claims wife’s death was accident



SWANSEA CROWN COURT has heard that a chip shop owner burned his wife to death by scolding her with chip fat following a domestic dispute.

But Geoffrey Bran, 71, says that the death of his wife of 30 years in October 2018 was an accident. The court heard that her injuries were caused when she threw ‘spoilt fish’ at him causing superficial injuries and bruises to his head and forearms, before pulling a deep fat fryer over herself causing 41% burns, from which she later died in hospital.

Geoffrey and Mavis Bran ran the Chipoteria business in Hermon, near the Pembrokeshire Carmarthenshire border. The burger van and wooden shack business had not been open for long – perhaps a year – when the incident happened.

The jury, of five men and seven women was told that Mrs Bran was constantly nagging her husband over trivial or silly matters and that the relationship was ‘argumentative’ and ‘loud’

The court further heard that the relationship had deteriorated further in the months before her death. At the time of the incident, Mr Bran was arrested by police on suspicion of assault but later released.

Chipoteria – the snack shack in Hemon is now closed

After suffering the burns, Mrs Bran was transferred to Morrison hospital in Swansea where she died of her wounds six days later. Bran was re-arrested in November 2018.

But Mr Lewis prosecuting said that the terrible burns were not the result of an accident, but by her husband deliberately pushing or throwing a deep fat fryer which contained boiling oil over her.

He said that people who know the couple knew that they both had short tempers.

On Tuesday, October 23 last year, both the Brans were at work in the Chip shop, while their friend Mr Gareth Davies was in their house.

Mr Davies heard Mrs Bran come into the house, naked from the waist up, shouting ‘I’ve been burned… I’ve had boiling fat all over me.

Mr Davies described Mrs Bran’s upper body as a “crimson colour” and said that her skin was peeling off at the wrists.

Mrs Bran then told Mr Davies, who at that point had a cut above his eye, to fetch more fish for customers – she initially declined an ambulance.

Bran told Mr Davies that his wife had slipped and grabbed the fryer, causing it to come out of the holder and spill onto her.

However, a friend of Mrs Bran, Miss Caroline Morgan, received a call from her at around 1.15pm, she said that Mrs Bran screamed down the phone at her saying: “Geoff has thrown boiling oil over me. Please get here, I need you now, help!”

The court heard that on arrival to the house Miss Morgan found that Mrs Bran in shock, saying: “I was nagging him – and then he flipped”

Bran denies murder and the trial continues.

Accused: Geoff Bran (Pic S4C)

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