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Neyland: St Clement’s Surgery to close in September

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HYWEL DDA UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD has approved an application by Argyle Medical Group to close St. Clement’s Surgery, Neyland, from September 1 owing to significant workforce pressures associated with the recruitment and retention of GPs.

Since January, the Health Board has been seeking the views of patients, neighbouring practices, the Community Health Council and other stakeholders on the proposed closure, and has held a well-attended drop-in event in Neyland in which patients spoke about the impact of any closure, including concerns about travel and transport and access to GP appointments.

The Health Board is writing to all affected patients this week to explain the decision and to keep them updated on further developments.

Further discussions have taken place with Argyle Medical Group, which despite trying to recruit GPs for their vacancies is expected to lose another GP in June. As a consequence the Practice’s overall sustainability position is concerning.

Meeting in January: Locals were very concerned

In its decision making over the future of St. Clement’s Surgery, the Health Board says it has tried to balance the needs of patients in the Neyland area with the risks to the struggling Practice and the whole Practice list.

At the same time, detailed discussions have been underway with stakeholders to examine if these important services can be delivered in Neyland in other ways.  These discussions are continuing and have been positive but no firm proposal has been agreed to date.

Elaine Lorton, Assistant Director of Primary Care, said: “As a Health Board we recognise that this decision will be very disappointing for many patients.  Unfortunately however, the scale of the pressures on Argyle Medical Group is increasing and action needs to be taken to ensure the Practice remains stable for the future for the whole of the population.

“Until such a time as a plan for the alternative provision of services for patients in Neyland is successfully developed, the Health Board views the closure of St. Clement’s Surgery as a necessary move.”

A number of conditions have been put in place to help protect services for patients who will be affected.  These conditions include that the Surgery remain open until September 1 and that Argyle Medical Group work to maintain access to their services for patients in the area.

Patients will continue to be registered with Argyle Medical Group after the closure date of September 1 and the Practice will continue to provide services such as home visits where appropriate.

Patients who need to see a GP or nurse for a face-to-face consultation will need to travel to Argyle Surgery in Pembroke Dock.

Mrs Lorton added: “The Health Board will keep patients informed of developments and will provide opportunities for the public to engage. Argyle Medical Group will also be undertaking a major review of their arrangements for accessing appointments at Argyle Surgery and St. Oswald’s Surgery, and this will include telephone consulting services for those patients who do not clinically need to have a face to face appointment.  The Practice will work on arrangements to prevent patients having to make multiple journeys to make appointments.

“The Health Board and Argyle Medical Group will continue to work positively and proactively with the community to identify and support opportunities to deliver services via a network with neighbouring practices and the local Community Pharmacy.”

Assembly Member Paul Davies said: “I’m deeply disappointed that Hywel Dda University Health Board has approved the application to close St Clement’s surgery in Neyland. This will have a detrimental impact on patients at the surgery, who will now have to travel further for treatment and incur a financial cost due to travelling over the Cleddau Bridge.”

He added: “It’s clear that both the local health board and the Welsh Government have failed to attract doctors to the local area and now patients are paying the price. In light of this closure, I will continue to raise this matter with the Welsh Government at every opportunity.”

Stephen Crabb MP also commented, saying: “This a senseless and damaging decision. For years doctors have been warning Welsh Government about growing recruitment problems across Wales and the need for a proper strategy to fill vacancies. And Welsh Government have done nothing.

“St Clements Surgery is a busy, well used and popular surgery. There is no reason for it to shut other than the incompetence of the Welsh Government in dealing with recruitment pressures in rural areas.”

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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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