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‘Once in a lifetime’ reorganisation planned by Health Board

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THE LOCAL Health Board is embarking on a ‘once in a lifetime’ reorganisational plan which is looking at all potential options to ‘change the status quo and focus on improving health’ of locals.

This will involve, a press release has revealed, transferring more hospital services into the community where appropriate.

This is part of a strategy that the Health Board is looking into, to help solve an acute recruitment problem which is putting a great deal of pressure on the way that the Heath Board operates – and is leading to an untenable level of use of costly temporary staff to plug gaps and services.

In the summer of 2017, the Health Board embarked in an engagement with the public called ‘The Big Conversation’ which involved public workshops and drop-ins being held across the three counties of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

The Health Board now says the it has independently analysed opinions of the general public and has been using that data to explore, challenge and test different scenarios.

It is yet to be seen what these changes will mean for end service users.

The Herald understands it is likely to mean hospital services being reduced or cut, and replaced with community alternatives.

The Health Board has said it will not make any changes, unless it can guarantee the safety of the people which it serves.

The Health Board has insisted that no preferred option for change has yet been determined, and nothing has been signed off or agreed at this stage.

Medical Director Dr Philip Kloer said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our health service and community to work together to design an NHS which is fit for our generation and beyond. It has been acknowledged for some time across the UK that healthcare services are challenged like never before and we need significant change. Indeed this has been recognised in the recently published ‘Parliamentary Review of Health & Social Care’ here in Wales.

“We need to develop more proactive, resilient and better resourced local community services to support and improve people’s health and wellbeing, and avoid deterioration where possible. This will involve closer working with our partners, particularly colleagues in social care. We are also looking at ways of providing the most modern clinical practice, using the latest digital, technological, and new scientific developments, in fit for purpose facilities to provide better patient outcomes and experience.

“A number of our services are fragile and dependent on significant numbers of temporary staff, which can lead to poorer quality care. For us specifically in Hywel Dda, the geography we cover is large, with many scattered communities that are getting older, needing more holistic health and social care treatment and support. Because of this, we need to better resource our community based care, which is where most of our patient contact is, and help people manage their health conditions. We also need to evolve traditional ways of working and provide a more proactive approach. This should give patients – young, older and frail and everyone in between – the services they need when the need it, so people do not have to wait too long.

“This will mean changing hospital-based care, as well as community care, and we appreciate the attachment local people and our own staff have for their local hospitals. They have been cared for in them, or work in them, and they also play an important role in our wider communities. The options may propose change to a local hospital; however this is about more than the buildings. This is about investing in our communities, attracting doctors, nurses and therapists by operating a modern healthcare system and keeping hospitals for those who really need hospital care.

“We will not put in place any change that isn’t safe for our patients and population. And we will look at all the impacts from ensuring services are safer with better patient outcomes, to considering the wider impact on people, including the most vulnerable.”

Dr Kloer added: “The potential options are evolving, with changes to them on almost a daily basis. Many will never even reach public consultation, for a variety of reasons including safety, accessibility and affordability, or will change significantly as they are tested against population needs and healthcare standards.

“We will be coming back to the public in the spring with fewer options that have been more rigorously tested and we will open and honest about what we think our preferred option is and why. We would not, and cannot, propose something that would not be safe for our population.

“We live in this community, use our NHS and work for our NHS and we want to work with our patients, staff, partners and public to ensure it is the best it can be.”

Meanwhile, Elin Jones, Ceredigion’s Assembly Member, has called for urgency in the implementation of electronic records for NHS patients in Wales, following the publication of a report by the Wales Audit Office, ‘Informatics systems in NHS Wales’.

The report outlines several of the opportunities that electronic patient records can bring to patients and health boards, as well as the current obstacles to achieving this goal.

Elin Jones, who has long-called for a paperless NHS has welcomed the report, saying: “This is an important step in the development of health services in Wales, which is long-overdue. It would make our NHS more sustainable and more flexible to every patient’s needs.

“I have heard of many instances where patients have turned up to appointments in Llanelli, Swansea or Cardiff, only to find that their medical records have not arrived. These are people who have, in some cases, had to wait a long time for a specialist appointment, and have had to travel long distances, sometimes leaving very early in the morning or have arranged overnight accommodation in order to get to a 9 am appointment.

“Being turned away because their paper record has not arrived is a failure in the current system, and would be addressed directly by electronic records.

“The technology is available, it’s just a case of putting the funding in place.

“With the proper investment into the Welsh NHS by the Welsh Government, electronic patient records can help the NHS to deliver better outcomes for patients and to make more efficient and effective use of scarce financial and human resources.”

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Broad Haven South welcomes Sky’s Britannia film crew

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FILM CREWS for Sky Atlantic have been recreating Roman Britain on Broad Haven South, for the next series of the hit show ‘Britannia’.

Gareth Davies of Hidden Pembrokeshire Photography took pictures of the set being raised over the weekend, with their Facebook page saying: “Film set is under construction on Broad Haven South Beach. Awesome to see that Pembrokeshire will feature in the second season of ‘Britannia’.

“The Roman Village on Broad Haven South Beach is really starting to take shape, looking forward to seeing the cast arrive in full costume, it should be quite a sight.”

Britannia is a British-American historical fantasy series co-produced by Sky and Amazon Prime Video, starring Kelly Reilly, David Morrissey, Zoë Wanamaker, Liana Cornell and Stanley Weber. It is written by Jez Butterworth, the award-winning playwright and director.

The first series aired on Sky Atlantic in the UK, and was a fictionalised and stylised take on the Roman invasion of Britain in 43AD, as the General Aulus Plautius led four legions against the Celtic tribes of the isles.

The filming of series 1 of ‘Britannia’ was split between the Czech Republic and Wales, with locations such as Rhossili Bay in the Gower, Nash Point outside of Cardiff, and Henrhyd Falls, Llyn y Fan Fach and Cwm Porth of the Brecon Beacons National Park featuring.


This is not the first time the Pembrokeshire coast has been used by film crews, be it television or movies. Freshwater West saw the construction of Shell Cottage from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, as well as the battle scenes featured in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood. Battles were also filmed at Marloes Sands for Snow White and the Huntsman in 2012.

Last year, St Catherine’s Island in Tenby was depicted as the prison ‘Sherrinford’ for the series 4 finale of the BBC’s Sherlock.

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New fitness instructor proving to be ‘an inspiration’

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Tina Mathias (centre): Teaching an aerobics class at County Hall as part of Mental Health Week

A NEWLY qualified fitness instructor is proving an inspiration to her class.

Pembrokeshire County Council employee Tina Mathias took her first indoor cycling and aerobics sessions recently and few of her students would have realised it capped a meteoric transformation in her life.

Gone is the unfit and overweight woman who could barely muster the energy to exercise; today, Tina is a dynamic and motivating lady with a fabulous story to tell.

Indoor cycling, or spinning as it is more widely known is one of the most popular exercise classes throughout Pembrokeshire’s seven leisure centres but Tina’s first experience of it wasn’t quite as pleasurable as it is now.

It lasted ten seconds before she walked out vowing to go back when she was fit enough to do so.

Before: Tina before her weight loss journey

When she returned twelve months later, the instructor didn’t recognise her. Tina was half the woman she was having overcome health scares and heartbreak to lose 12 stone.

“I spent most of my life overweight and gained more weight after my father died,” she said.

“I was comfort eating; drinking upwards of three bottles of wine a night.

“I put on a stone over the weekend of my mother’s birthday celebrations. It was getting out of hand.

“That was it. I felt awful and was ready to change my life.”

After a very frank and honest talk with a very close friend, who basically told Tina she needed to sort her life out, she then, three days later started her healthy lifestyle and she was on her path.

A self-confessed ‘all or nothing type of person’ Tina met the challenge head-on.

She cut out alcohol, limited her calorie intake, began an exercise regime and the weight soon fell off. Nothing could hold her back, not even an illness that left her housebound for six months unable to exercise

“Physically it was quite tough but mentally it wasn’t,” Tina added.

“I returned to the gym after my illness in 2012 and gradually increased what I was doing”.

“I started spin classes and loved it straight away. Then I tried other things such as circuits, weight training and with the encouragement of Jane Richards at Fishguard Leisure centre, I tried their Go-Tri triathlon series”.

“I haven’t looked back since.”

Despite trying numerous activities Tina enjoyed spin classes and weight training the most.

From going to spin once or twice a week, it soon increased to six and became apparent she had what it takes to become an instructor.

“I spoke with the instructors who encouraged me to go for it. I had to attend a few training sessions before undertaking an exam.

“I was the only one taking it that didn’t work in a gym but I obviously did enough to pass. In fact, the examiner, who was six months pregnant, enjoyed my session so much she wanted to join in!

“Hearing that was a huge confidence booster, to know that I could do it and do it well.

“I just can’t wait to teach more classes now.”

Pembrokeshire County Council Leisure Services Officer Gary Nicholas believes Tina is an inspiration.

“Health and wellbeing, whilst can be challenging, should be about fun and enjoyment and I have little doubt that Tina will play a key role over the years to come,” he said.

“Tina’s journey has been truly phenomenal and it fully demonstrates what can be achieved if you put your mind to something.

“Tina is the type of role model that we value at Pembrokeshire Leisure and we hope that she will be able to inspire others as she joins our team of dedicated instructors.”

Tina’s tip for weight loss:

  • Do it for you and nobody else
  • Always focus on the end goal
  • Write a note of what you eat. Losing weight is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise
  • Don’t be afraid. No-one will judge you in the gym because we’re all in it for the same reason
  • Enjoy it.
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Consultation on Public Rights of Way plan launched

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A JOINT public consultation between Pembrokeshire County Council and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority has been launched to review the Public Rights of Way Improvement plan.

The statutory plan is under review to ensure the Authorities continue to identify, plan and prioritise improvements to their path networks effectively.

“Public Rights of Way play an important role in Pembrokeshire,” said Cabinet Member for Planning and Infrastructure Councillor Phil Baker.

“They connect rural and urban areas and we maintain routes totalling around 2,350km in the county.

“The consultation provides an opportunity for members of the public, Community Councils and other groups to present their views on how the rights of way network in Pembrokeshire should be managed over the next ten years and I would urge them to have their say,” he added.

Members of the public can read the consultation document and give their views on the proposals by going online at www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/haveyoursay or by requesting a copy of the consultation document from the Council’s Contact Centre on 01437 764551

The deadline for comments is Friday, August 3.

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