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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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Meet the Pembrokeshire Mower Doctor

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A NEW Pembrokeshire business is proving to be an inspiration for young people after its recent launch.

The Pembrokeshire Mower Doctor is the brainchild of Ewan Griffiths, who turned his dream into reality thanks to the advice and support of Cam Nesa.

The project aims to reduce the number of young people aged 16-24 who are not in education, training or employment.

Before signing up to Cam Nesa, Ewan was out of work and struggling for direction, and anxiety was preventing him from maximising his potential.

Throughout his journey with Cam Nesa, Ewan worked closely with youth worker Donna Wright to devise a plan that provided support and guidance to improve his confidence and self-esteem, and provide mechanisms for coping with anxiety.

In addition, the project provided Ewan with opportunities to gain qualifications and obtain information that would help him with starting his own business.

Ewan’s message to other young people is simple, “If you find yourself struggling, there is help.”

“Cam Nesa supported me in all aspects of my plan, and working with Donna was fantastic.”

“I would definitely encourage others to reach out for support.”

Donna Wright, who supported Ewan throughout his Cam Nesa journey, said that the launch of his new business is a great source of pride for Cam Nesa and Pembrokeshire Youth Service.

“Ewan has come on leaps and bounds, and it was his engagement and determination that has made his outcome with Cam Nesa so successful and inspiring”, she said.

“Congratulations Ewan on your achievements, and we all wish you good luck with your new business.”

The Pembrokeshire Mower Doctor provides repairs and servicing for mowers, strimmers, hedge cutters, and most agricultural engines, with the mobile service providing collection and returns.

For more information, search ‘Pembrokeshire Mower Doctor’ on Facebook.

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Milford Haven: Mount estate death not being treated as suspicious say police

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POLICE have confirmed that following a welfare visit to a property in Mount Estate, they discovered a male occupant, in his 30’s, in need of medical help.

Despite the best efforts of medical staff he sadly passed away on Sunday.

A spokesperson for the police confirmed to The Pembrokeshire Herald: “Dyfed-Powys Police attended a property at the Mount Estate, Milford Haven on Friday 30th April 2021, following a report of concern for the welfare of the occupier.

“A male was taken to hospital where he died on Sunday 2nd May 2021.

“The death is not being treated as suspicious.”

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Polling station changes in Pembrokeshire

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POLLING STATIONS in Pembrokeshire are open today (May 6) but a small number may have changed from the last time you voted.

In Neyland, the polling station will be at the new Community Hub building on John Street.

St Katherine’s Church Hall will be the new host for the station in Milford Haven, having previously been held at the Murray Suite in the town hall.

A polling station will be placed at the leisure centre in Haverfordwest while one at Trecwn has been moved to the Gate, Scleddau.

Voters in the county will be electing for the Preseli Pembrokeshire and the Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire constituencies.

People will also be able to select five MSs to represent the Mid and West Wales Region.

The candidate with the most votes will win the constituency but the ballot for the region will be decided by a different process.

People will be elected according to their share of the vote, using a mathematical process, and gives parties who may have won fewer or no constituencies a better chance of winning regional ones.

It will also be a big day for 16 and 17 year olds as they will be able to vote in Welsh elections for the first time.

The ballots will be counted on Friday (May 7) with results expected to come in from the afternoon.

Polling stations opened at 7am and will close at 10pm.

All those who vote will be required to stick to Covid-19 safety measures including wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing.

Clean pencils will be available but voters can bring their own pen or pencil.

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