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Health Secretary visits Withybush following £3m funding announcement

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Welcomed: The staff were delighted with the funding news

HEALTH SECRETARY, Vaughan Gething, announced today (Apr 12) that £3m funding will be provided to modernise haematology, oncology and palliative care services at Withybush Hospital in Haverfordwest.

To accompany the news, he also visited Withybush Hospital this morning.

The funding will enable the hospital’s existing Ward 10 to be modernised to improve safety, clinical quality and provide a better environment for patients and staff. The former Ward 9 area will also be developed to serve as a ward area to allow Ward 10 patients to be cared for while the building works are carried out on the existing Ward 10, which will close for refurbishment.

The local community in Pembrokeshire has played a significant part in helping to raise funds to improve these facilities with over £450,000 being raised to date by the Health Board’s Pembrokeshire Cancer Services Fund and Elly’s Ward 10 Flag Appeal.

Vaughan Gething: At Withybush Hospital

Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething said: “I am very happy to able to announce the £3.15m funding to complete the improvements to Wards 9 and 10 at Withybush Hospital. This project will transform these services at the hospital to provide a modern fit-for-purpose environment for staff, patients and their families. It was a pleasure to meet with staff and the Neville family today. Elly’s fundraising efforts have been truly inspirational and the new facility will be a tribute to her hard work and dedication.”

Hywel Dda University Health Board Chair, Bernardine Rees OBE, said: “This is fantastic news for Pembrokeshire. I wish to pay tribute to our staff, fundraisers and partners, for their part in reaching this milestone in the project, particularly Elly’s Ward 10 Flag Appeal. We look forward to moving forward at pace now to make these improvements for our local population.”

Lyn Neville, Elly’s father, said: “On behalf of Elly’s Ward 10 Flag Appeal we are very pleased that the funding has been given for Ward 10 which will be another step towards providing excellent cancer services for Pembrokeshire. On a personal note after many years of campaigning for Ward 10 I am also very pleased that, as seen with the new Pembrokeshire Haematology & Oncology Day Unit (PHODU), patients and staff will be able to receive and deliver care in excellent new facilities.”

Ward 10 Flag Appeal: Elly Neville with Vaughan Gething

Work is expected to start shortly and be completed by the summer of 2019.

The new Ward 10 configuration will provide:

  • 18 beds (of which 5 will be ensuite) in a superior ward environment. The single rooms will be used for patients requiring isolation facilities or greater privacy during their care.
  • A dedicated day room for patients to socialise, receive rehabilitation, relax and have their meals.
  • Improved overnight facilities for relatives including a dedicated relatives room.
  • A discharge lounge to serve Ward 10 along with the hospital’s other medical wards.

The Ward 9 refurbishment element of the project will provide:

  • A sub-pharmacy area.
  • Treatment and clinical support functions.
  • A decant facility for Ward 10 whilst its building works are undertaken including 14 beds, 5 of which would be single-bedded ensuites (2 of these would be bariatric styled facilities) and a day room facility.

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Protest over animal welfare concerns at Bramble Hill Farm

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LOCALS held a peaceful protest at the site of a Pembroke Dock farm, where over 200 animals were removed after a multi agency response to animal welfare concerns last month.

Around 100 worried locals from Pembroke and Pembroke Dock gathered at the entrance to Bramble Hill Farm last Friday (Feb 15) at 4pm. Those present believed the farm owners are still in possession of dogs, which they cited as the reason for the protest. Head of Environment and Public Protection at Pembrokeshire County Council, Richard Brown later confirmed that there were two dogs left on the farm, but explained they were elderly and looked after. Locals hoped the protest would mean the removal of any animals still left at the property and a ban imposed to prevent any further animals being kept at the property or by the owners.

Officers from Dyfed-Powys Police were present, with the Herald reporter in attendance being told that the police were ensuring it remained peaceful and to keep traffic congestion to a minimum. There was evident hostility towards to the local authorities and RSPCA amongst the protesters, with many feeling that their concerns about the farm were not dealt with soon enough by the relevant organisations.

Speaking to the crowd, Richard Brown said: “So the idea of what we do is, we are proceeding with our enquiries and get the case together. If we get a successful conviction, it’s an opportunity to get a ban on keeping animals. Without that conviction we can’t get a ban.”

He was challenged numerous times on whether Sean Burns, owner of the farm, has been prosecuted for animal cruelty. Mr Brown then confirmed that ‘he has been prosecuted previously’.

He added: “We have to be careful not to prejudice any case. All of our interests is animal welfare. We can’t just go in and remove animals because people want us to. We don’t have those powers.

“There is a range of offences being investigated and a range of individuals being investigated.”

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Neyland woman imprisoned for driving while disqualified

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A 35-YEAR-OLD woman who was caught driving while disqualified twice in four days days has been sentenced to six months in prison.

Victoria Anne James, of College Park, Neyland, was stopped by Dyfed-Powys Police roads policing officers in Johnston on Friday, February 15. She was reported for the offences and her Alfa Romeo car was seized.

James was stopped a second time by police on Monday, February 18, for driving while disqualified while driving another car.

She was arrested and charged with two counts of driving while disqualified and two counts of driving without insurance.

She was convicted at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Courts that same day and received a six month prison sentence, and received a further 24 months Driving Disqualification.

Sergeant Justin Williams said: “Police intelligence led officers to stop Victoria Anne James on February 15 where she was reported for offences and her car was seized. For her to commit the same offence two days later shows her disregard for the law.

“I hope this targeted, swift work from roads policing officers and the courts, which has resulted in a prison sentence serves as a stark warning to James and others considering flouting the laws on our roads. We are monitoring our roads and we will take robust action to ensure we keep other drivers on our roads safe by upholding the law.”

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Boy took his own life after failure to refer him for psychiatric support

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THE INQUEST into the death of 14 year-old Derek Brundrett, who was found hanged at Pembroke School in December 2013, has found that there were individual failings in efforts to get psychiatric support for the teenage boy – who then went on to take his own life.

Derek had seven different social workers and record keeping by social services was in a “shocking state of affairs” leading up to his death.

Returning a narrative verdict, the Assistant Coroner, Paul Bennett, said: “That Derek Brundrett took his own life and intended to do so in circumstances where, despite efforts to refer him for psychiatric support there was a failure to do so.”

Although no systemic failures were found, the Assistant Coroner ruled that there was a failure to refer by a social worker, a failure by a GP to provide extra information when referrals in 2012 and 2013 were declined, and a further failure to provide the relevant information on the appropriate referral form of a Looked After Child.

Derek’s death was in the context that he had been returned to foster care and was concerned about a return to the Pupil Referral Unit.

Derek’s actions were not considered to be a cry for help but rather a deliberate attempt at self-harm, the Coroner’s report stated.

The inquest had previously heard there were numerous failed attempts to refer him to mental health services.

A social services referral plan was not completed by Derek’s social worker because “she believed him to be happy”.

The inquest also heard Derek’s GP had made “routine” referrals for mental health treatment in 2012 and 2013.

Angela Lodwick, head of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) for the Hywel Dda University Health Board, said they had to “prioritise children with severe mental health disorders”.

She added requests for more information about Derek’s condition went unanswered.

But she told the inquest that, at the time, CAMHS was not proactive in seeking more information.

Ms Lodwick said CAMHS would have probably “taken him on referral and made an assessment” if they had known about Derek’s risk-taking behaviour and talk of suicide in 2013, such as when he climbed onto the school roof.

She told the inquest the system had been inadequate and “the position was that everyone sat on their hands waiting” but CAMHS has since made improvements.

A spokesman for the Pembrokeshire County Council said: “The death of a child is a profound loss and all the professionals involved in this tragedy feel great sympathy for Derek and his family and friends. We would like to repeat our sincere condolences to them at this time.

“Derek’s loss is deeply felt by those individuals who had formed close and caring relationships with him.

“We would like to thank the Coroner for his thorough investigation and consideration of the case.

“We will, of course, reflect upon all of the issues that have been raised during the Inquest, and consider what lessons can be learned with a view to continuing to ensure the safeguarding and well-being of all children and young persons served by Pembrokeshire County Council.”

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