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Questions over £25m for maternity care at Glangwili

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THE WELSH GOVERNMENT has announced its approval of £25m of funding for upgraded neonatal care at Glangwili Hospital, only a week before the Board is due to consult on radical changes to clinical services across west Wales.

The announcement was made during a visit to Glangwili by Cabinet Secretary for Health, Vaughan Gething.

The £25m investment at the hospital is a hangover from the last round of changes and cuts to clinical services, which saw consultant-led obstetric services stripped from Withybush Hospital, with assurances made that facilities at Glangwili were fit and ready to accept more patients.

Shortly after services were transferred, a report from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health stated that facilities at Glangwili were not up to the standard required of a modern consultant-led unit and that significant sums of money were required to bring them up to snuff, stating: ‘The Glangwili labour ward is not fit for purpose; it is too small, with insufficient facilities and provides a poor environment for women and staff. The increased numbers of women using the unit, including those with high-risk pregnancies from Pembrokeshire has put additional pressure on the staff with two culturally very different teams learning to work together in cramped and difficult conditions.’

The Board accepted the Royal College’s recommendations and – due to the requirements of making out a business case to the Welsh Government – it has taken two years to secure funding to carry out the work recommended in September 2015 to deal with the fall out of the last reorganisation. That business plan predated the Board’s current and ongoing intention to reorganise west Wales’ healthcare in what is widely being trailed as ‘once in a generation’ change.

Speaking during the visit, the Cabinet Secretary said: “I’m delighted to approve £25million Welsh Government funding for the further redevelopment of Glangwili Hospital’s obstetric and neonatal facilities.

“This funding will improve the clinical quality, safety and innovation at the site. It will mean better access to services for patients and their parents, as well as improving the well-being of staff. This investment will address the urgent areas of concern highlighted in the Royal Colleges’ report on maternity services in Hywel Dda Health Board.

“This should significantly improve the patient experience and accommodation for families and, as it is a larger unit, may also reduce the risk of families having to travel out of our area for care due to capacity reasons.”

Hywel Dda University Health Board Chief Executive Steve Moore said: “We welcome this news as women, children and their families deserve to have better accommodation than we are currently able to offer at Glangwili Hospital. We hope this provides our population with confidence that we will now proceed with pace to make these improvements.”

Work is expected to start before the autumn and the aim is for the scheme to be complete by 2020, by which time the future of service provision should be decided. It appears that investing £25m at Glangwili in these circumstances would be unlikely to proceed to completion of the project.

We asked the Welsh Government whether or not the £25m investment was certain to proceed, but did not get a reply to our enquiry.

We put the same point to the Health Board, who told us: “We note there has been concern that the delivery of this capital project may be adversely affected by our forthcoming consultation on the future of health services in the Hywel Dda University Health Board area which, subject to Board decision, is due to launch on Thursday, April 19.

“We would like to reassure our population that our business of providing healthcare to the very best of our abilities continues – this is the right thing to do and what our patients deserve and should rightly expect from the NHS.

“We cannot pre-judge what the outcomes of our proposed consultation may be, and even if there is change to Glangwili OR Withybush Hospital in the future, this may be several years ahead. We continually evolve and improve our services, responding to advances in medicine and technology, and this will continue.”

Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire AM Angela Burns, the Conservative’s Shadow Health Secretary, said: “Only in January the Cabinet Secretary announced £1.2m for the Board to put together a business case for further improvements to the neonatal and maternity services at Glangwili. The business case is supposed to go out for public consultation and is expected to be received by the Welsh Government this summer.

“This – very welcome – £25m is to make headway on the promise made by the Welsh Government years ago that the sacrifice of the Haverfordwest SCBU would result in a level two Special Care Baby Unit and provide better maternity facilities at Glangwili.

“It’s about time, but I have to wonder whether this is just easing the way for potential further radical changes and if the money will still head to Glangwili if the reconfiguration proposals pull services away from the hospital.”

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‘Multiple serious injuries’ after Haven Hotel incident, say police

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POLICE arrested a man who caused “mayhem” in a Milford Haven pub on Sunday evening (Mar 17).

Police said that a male suspected of causing “multiple serious injuries” had been detained, but the investigation was ongoing into reports of serious violence. Milford police were assisted by officers from Tenby in tracking down and arresting the suspect.

A witness told The Herald that a man, who was not a regular customer of the premises “went mad” – knocking an older drinker, a gentleman, off his stool – punching the licensee in the head – and breaking the arm of a barmaid.

It is not known why the man acted violently in the premises, and it is understood he was not known to the management or other customers.

The witness said: “I saw three or more police vehicles outside The Haven – maybe five officers – there was a lot of confusion. The suspect in the case has already fled, but was later found and arrested – possibly in another pub nearby.”

“I saw one injured person, a female, being treated in an ambulance.”

A police Twitter account posted: “Police have responded to an incident last night at around 8.15pm where multiple people received serious injuries. Police were on scene at Hamilton Terrace quickly and the suspect was arrested. The investigation is still ongoing.”

“Code B response team would like to thank PCSOs Brown and Osmolak for staying on duty to assist and also to the attending Tenby police officers for providing resilience.”

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Milford Waterfront development promoted at prestigious international property event

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MILFORD WATERFRONT was one of six Welsh projects to be showcased by the Department of International Trade at MIPIM, an international property event.

Part of Wales’ first property portfolio, which is worth £1.19 billion, the Milford Waterfront development is being recognised as a leading investment opportunity in Wales, with a focus on the development of a 10,000m² indoor immersive digital experiential leisure attraction.

The Milford Waterfront development represents the ambition of the Port of Milford Haven to significantly increase visitor numbers to Milford Haven, both drawing on and supporting the thriving tourism industry in Pembrokeshire, by developing a leisure-led, mixed-use destination that significantly expands the facilities and assets surrounding the existing 300-berth marina.

Neil Jenkins, Development Director, Port of Milford Haven commented: “Being acknowledged as one of the leading developments not only in Wales but in the UK is an incredible recognition for Milford Waterfront.

“This is a bold project but one that we are passionate about. It forms part of a wider business strategy to diversify into new markets and create new economic opportunities not just for the Port but for the entire region. We have a fantastic opportunity to revitalise the marina and docks and create a unique destination that Pembrokeshire and Wales can be proud of and we are excited to be showcasing that at MIPIM.”

The event took place in Cannes, France between March 12 and March 15.

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Residents ‘let down’ over new Jameston homes

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38 NEW homes could be built in Jameston, Tenby, if approved by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park’s officers.

Members of the Park’s Development Management Committee gave their support for delegated approval to be given and there were no less than 31 conditions attached to the application.

The new homes could be built on land opposite Bush Terrace but there were objections from residents and Manorbier Community Council.

Cllr Phil Kidney raised concerns about the affordable homes being built on a separate part of the site to others saying it would create a ‘them and us’ situation.

He went on to state his unease with the plans and said the residents felt ‘very let down’ by the National Park.

Objecting to the plans, Mary Sinclair said: “Planning notices were not seen, if they were seen, they were not there. Nobody saw a notice advertising this application.

“The National Park doesn’t have a policy to prevent these being sold off as second homes. The proposal is also contrary to Welsh Government’s policy on farmland.

“In 2017, a replacement system was introduced which has to be used. This is the best and most versatile land and should be protected for future generations.

“The wall crossing the site cannot just be moved, it is part of the landscape. We would be left with a stark line of homes with no childrens playground, no safe walking route to school.

Where is the well-being of future generations? There are no solar panels, the gardens aren’t large enough and this project is building over land with the highest protection possible.

There has to be an extra-ordinary reason for you to approve this.”

Applicant Harry Thomas responded to some of the points raised saying: “The application is presented as it is. We don’t have the scale and size to build affordable homes and sell them off.

“We will be using a smaller developer, using local trade.

“Jameston will not see 38 new homes built in the next 12 months. We have been working on this application with the National Park for many years. To go at a fast pace would be far worse.

This allows us to create more work in the winter months.”

Cllr Kidney then read out a letter from Mr Ray Hughes, chairman of Manorbier Community Council.

He stated that many issues had not been considered fairly and that over 30 members of the public attended a meeting discussing the application.

Mr Hughes also spoke on the Government’s policy to encourage children to walk to school adding that a footpath should be installed.
Cllr Tony Wilcox said he found it ‘difficult’ how there was no section 106 agreement towards a footpath to the school but an officer stated that a footpath could be installed in the future.

Cllr Mike Evans questioned what affordable housing was adding that these new homes would be social housing which would be rented out by a registered landlord.

Cllr Kidney then gave his own views on the application saying: “There is a lay-by in front of Bush Terrace and there are going to be two entrances.

“I have got no problem with the development, the stone wall has been a big feature of Jameston. This is creating a development with affordable homes separate to the others. That is just creating a them and us situation and that is a big fault. The affordable housing should be integrated in.

“There is a lot of concern here. There is no problem with space so I don’t know why we need to encroach. We could make bigger gardens, this is about giving everybody a fair crack at the whip. There is a lot of discomfort about it, the residents feel very let down that none of the points raised were considered. It is not fair on them but there is not a lot we can do about it and I want to state my unease with this development.”

When it was put to a vote the committee were unanimous in giving delegated authority for the plans to be approved.

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