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New care boss pledges to fight for fair funding

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THE NEW boss of the body that represents care homes and homecare providers in Pembrokeshire has pledged to fight for a fair funding.

According to Mary Wimbury, the new chief executive of Care Forum Wales, which champions the interests of over 450 members, there’s never been a better time for care providers to speak with one voice to ensure the people of Wales can get the care they need.

She said: “Care Forum Wales is strongly making the case that social care is chronically underfunded and desperately needs extra money putting into it.

“The sector is struggling to provide the care that is needed with care homes closing in Pembrokeshire and local authorities are trying to get people to deliver home care packages which they are just unable to do.

“People are now living longer demand for social care is increasing all the time and the needs of those going into care are becoming greater.

“We all want to see care sector staff being properly rewarded but the increases we’ve seen in the minimum wage over the past few years haven’t been reflected in the fees paid by local authorities and health boards to the providers of care homes and domiciliary care.”

Care Forum Wales works closely with the Welsh Government, commissioners and regulators to shape policies that focus on making sure people receive the highest quality care.

It also works to raise the profile of the social care workforce and every year organises the prestigious Wales Care Awards, a celebration of the hard work and dedication of the social care workforce.

The influential not-for-profit organisation also runs training events, professional groups and conferences to promote best practice and share knowledge amongst its members.

Taking the helm as its first ever chief executive is 48-year-old Mary Wimbury who steps into the top job after six years as the forum’s senior policy advisor.

Ms Wimbury, who lives with her husband and three children in Rhos-on-Sea in Conwy County, said: “I’m looking forward to the new challenge, especially as it comes at a key time when our members in the social care sector are under a lot of pressure due to funding constraints and new regulations coming in from the Welsh Government.

“We already have Social Services and Wellbeing Act, which came into force last year and refocuses the way we deliver care in Wales.

“We also have Regulation and Inspection Act with regulations due to take effect from next April requiring every care home and domiciliary care agency in Wales to re-register with the Care and Social Services Inspectorate. Following on from that we will see all care workers required to be individually registered over the next four years.

“These are both significant challenges facing our members and Care Forum Wales is supporting them through it as much as possible.

“This means there’s never been a better time for care providers to be represented by an organisation such as ours which provides a high level of support and enables them to speak with one voice.”

Ms Wimbury grew up in Kent although her family originally hails from Manchester where both her parents were councillors, and her father, Harry Wimbury, chaired the Welfare Services committee, dealing with care provision.

She went to schools in Snodland near Maidstone, Rainham near Gillingham and Chatham and on to Oxford University where she obtained a degree in mathematics.

An early responsibility was as President of the Student Union in Oxford and as a member of the national executive of the National Union of Students.

After university she began her career as a parliamentary liaison officer with the Association of Metropolitan Authorities – now part of the Local Government Association – dealing with legislation involving local government.

Later she joined the BBC, first working in parliamentary liaison then becoming head of public relations in its news department and later a senior communications advisor working on the corporation’s high profile annual report.

She then became head of communications for the Local Government Information Unit and gained a master’s degree in public policy at University College London.

Before joining Care Forum Wales in 2011, she spent five years as director of the UK Mathematics Trust, a charity which runs maths enrichment projects for secondary school pupils across Britain.

Looking at other challenges she faces in her new role with the forum, Ms Wimbury added: “Apart from implementing two pieces of Welsh Government legislation, I’d say that the biggest issue for social care providers is funding, which is a particularly controversial topic at the moment across the UK.

“If we can secure adequate funding for the sector and get that right everything else should follow.

“In the forum we also need to work on newer methods of communications with our members, continue to build our membership and also look at other organisations we can work with as partners.

“Social care providers need to be members of an organisation in order to influence decisions being taken that affect them at a local, regional and national level and I hope that organisation can be Care Forum Wales.”

Care Forum Wales chairman Mario Kreft MBE said: “We were delighted to appoint somebody of Mary undoubted calibre as the new chief executive at such a crucial time in the social care sector.

“Mary has shown during her time as senior policy officer and more recently as the interim chief executive that she has a firm grasp of all the issues and a real determination to campaign for fairness for the providers to ensure we provide the best possible care for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities across Wales.”

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Drop-in session plan for Fishguard and Goodwick surgeries

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A PUBLIC drop-in session is being held in Fishguard next week to gather the views of local residents around plans to amalgamate Goodwick Surgery with Fishguard Surgery towards the end of this year.

The event will be held on Tuesday 27 February at Fishguard Town Hall from 2.30pm-7pm.

Goodwick Surgery has been managed by Hywel Dda University Health Board since April 2015. The Practice has used regular GP locums to cover the Surgery for the past 18 months and despite extensive efforts the Health Board has not been successful in attracting new GPs. Goodwick is one of a number of smaller practices in North Pembrokeshire struggling with the challenges of GP recruitment in order to deliver sustainable services.

In recent months the Health Board has been in detailed discussions with nearby Fishguard Surgery as to how the two practices could collaborate to secure future services for patients in the area. The Health Board is working with local groups and the Community Health Council to communicate all changes to the patients.

Prior to the amalgamation, patients of both Practices should continue to access services as normal. There is no need to move registration – this will be done automatically at the time and more details will be shared with patients over the coming months.

Plans are at an advanced stage with Welsh Government for the extensive refurbishment of the existing Fishguard Health Centre later this year to enable delivery of high quality services to the increased practice population. Community staff, including the District Nurse team and Health Visitors, will be located in the refurbished building, allowing better integration and working with the GP Practice. Fishguard Surgery will remain open during the refurbishment works and disruption will be minimised to enable full services to be maintained for patients.

It is anticipated that the larger, more resilient Practice will be better able to recruit additional clinical staff, including GPs, to reduce the dependence on locums. Staff currently working at Goodwick Surgery will have the option to transfer to Fishguard Health Centre as part of the larger team.

Jill Paterson, Director of Primary Care at Hywel Dda, said: ““As a Health Board we are committed to listening to and engaging with local populations around our proposals to strengthen our Primary Care services in the Goodwick and Fishguard area and we would therefore like to invite residents to come along and get involved in the conversation.”

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Haverfordwest: Police want to catch Labour Club gate tamperers

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating criminal damage at Haverfordwest Labour Social Club. Police told The Herald that sometime between 11am and 1pm on Wednesday, 17 January 2017, two men super-glued the padlock to the gate, and fitted an extra chain and padlock. The staff had to cut the chains and padlock with an angle grinder to gain entry to the club.

A police spokesperson added: “One of the men is described as aged in his 60s, with short, grey hair and moustache, reddened face, and wearing a dark coloured coat.

“He has a distinctive mark on the side of his nose.

“The second man is described as being younger and wearing a dark coloured parka type jacket with the hood up, loose fitting blue jeans, light coloured shoes and carrying a blue backpack.

The police have asked that anyone with information is asked to report it to PC 424 Dan Morris at Haverfordwest Police Station by calling 101. If you are Deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Pembroke: Appeal after glass attack at the Old Cross Saws Inn

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THE POLICE are appealing for witnesses following an assault at The Old Cross Saws public house, Pembroke, on Saturday, 10 February.

It is alleged a man attacked a male with a broken glass, in the beer garden. As a result, the police said, the victim required stitches to his jaw.

A spokesperson from Dyfed-Powys Police told The Herald: “A 25-year-old man from the Pembroke Dock area was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm on February 10, he has since been released under investigation pending further police enquiries.”

“Anyone who witnessed the incident, or has any information, is urged to contact DC 920 Phil Jones at Pembroke Dock Police Station, by calling 101.

“Alternatively, anonymously contact Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.”

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