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Neyland: St Clement’s Surgery to close in September



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.”


Newgale: New £30m road proposed to combat coastal damage



PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has revealed a preferred new route for a road around Newgale today (Sept 25) at an event in Roch.

The new stretch of road would begin at Pencym and end at a new roundabout near Roch.

A new route is needed due to fears about road closures during high tides and winds, as well as coastal damage caused by global warming.

Reports have suggested that the current Newgale road may not exist in 20 years times.

The new route could cost up to £30m – compared to £40m a proposed viaduct would cost – and would need funding from the Welsh Government.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “Transport officials will continue to work closely with the authority as they progress with their studies and firm up their proposals for addressing the current problems with the A487.

“Welsh Government is open to consider an application for funding to move forward the development work.”

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MP calls on Welsh Government to explain broadband delays



STEPHEN CRABB has called on the Welsh Government to come clean over broadband rollout delays.

Minister Julie James AM, whose responsibilities include digital infrastructure and inclusion, has been urged to explain the reasons for delays to the rollout of superfast broadband to rural properties across Wales.

Last year, the Superfast Cymru scheme saw BT receive £425m in return for connecting the vast majority of premises in Wales to next-generation broadband.

When the contract ended, 90,000 mainly rural properties still had not been connected. Further details of another scheme to complete the work were due to be announced in July, but at the start of August, Julie James AM suddenly announced that ‘unforeseen issues’ were causing delays which could not be further discussed because of ‘commercial confidentiality’.

Stephen Crabb, MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, said: “It’s simply unacceptable for the Minister responsible to announce delays to the next stage of Broadband rollout but refuse to explain why. Access to reliable, fast broadband is of increasing importance to businesses, large and small, in Pembrokeshire and I have worked with many across the constituency to improve their broadband access.

“However, the digital divide continues to exist with rural communities in Pembrokeshire suffering again. It is an inescapable fact that delivery of broadband infrastructure is devolved to the Welsh Government and Julie James AM should now come forward and explain the reasons for these delays.”

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Air ambulance lands at ‘serious’ crash scene



THE WALES AIR AMBULANCE has landed at the scene of a serious crash this morning (Sept 25) between the Sentry Cross and Honeyborough roundabouts on the A477.

Posts on Facebook from witnesses at the scene say a man is being treated by paramedics.

Police have said one car was involved in the incident.

In addition to the helicopter, Dyfed-Powys Police, the Welsh Ambulance Service and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service are at the scene.

The road is currently closed with diversions in place.

A police spokesperson said:  “Dyfed-Powys Police is at the scene of a serious RTC between the Sentry Cross and Honeyborough roundabouts, Pembrokeshire.

“The A477 stretch between those roundabouts is currently closed while emergency services deal with the incident. One car is involved; the driver has received serious injuries.

“No further information is available at this time.”

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