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Neyland: Health Board want solution in place before closure

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Chat: Neyland Town Council members chatted with Health Board officials before the meeting

THE HYWEL DDA HEALTH BOARD hopes to have a solution in place by September for residents of Neyland affected by the closure of the St Clements Surgery.

The Health Board confirmed that they are speaking to a number of other providers about services being kept in Neyland but added that if they created a level of anxiety or concern in the area it could work negatively against them.

The Argyle Medical Group’s application to close the Surgery was accepted by the Health Board and will be closing on September 1.

The Group had originally applied for the surgery to close in April but that was rejected by the Health Board.

Argyle Medical Group currently has its main practice in Pembroke Dock and another in Pembroke called St Oswalds.

The decision to close the surgery prompted anger amongst Neyland residents and a public meeting was held with representatives of the Argyle Medical Group in January and over 200 people attended.

The Town Council also called for a second public meeting with the Health Board but they refused and instead offered to meet with the council to discuss the issues.

That meeting took place on Tuesday, June 5, where Town Councillors posed a number of questions to the five Health Board members in attendance.

Prior to the meeting a Town Council spokesperson told the Herald they were ‘very worried’ and ‘concerned’ for the people of Neyland about how they would access services in Pembroke Dock.
The spokesperson added: “We feel it is totally unacceptable for residents of Neyland and we need to find some way of easing the burden on the residents.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, Health Board officials assured the Town Council that they were working towards a solution and that they hoped to have that solution in place before the closure of the St Clements Surgery.

Health Board Director of Primary Community and Long Term Care, Jill Paterson said they were talking to other practitioners about a solution but did not want to confirm who they were.
Jill said: “Whenever we get a situation around a change in practices it is very difficult for patients that might be affected by that so I want to assure you that we have heard the views and one of the issues is the issue around travel. The contract for this practice rests with the Argyle practice, the Health Board isn’t taking over a contract at this point and the practice is not returning to us.

“At this point, what the practice is saying, they have got sustainability issues but they are advising that they will continue to provide the care for patients who were previously being seen at St Clements, but clearly, on the other side of the water.

“We know it is the wish of the St Clements practice that the majority of them still want their patient care being provided in this site.

“The reason we are not taking over the practice is that we don’t have the contract coming back to us to allow us to take over.

“Access to services was very much considered by the Primary Care Applications Committee at the time which the decision had to be made and on the other hand we were weighing up the sustainability issues the practice was facing with the significant reduction in their medical manpower.

“What we also needed to do, and we’re still in that discussion, is recognise that whilst in the interim, the practice will continue to offer that service to St Clements patients, it’s incumbent on the Health Board to think about the other options that might be available.

“I think the difficulty, at this point, is we are still in the process of those discussions with other providers of services in the local area, but we’re not at a point in which anything can be confirmed.”

Cllr Bill McGarvie asked if the closure of the Surgery could be delayed until an option was in place.

Jill responded: “We are still a few months from that closure and I’m hoping that we would be able to be at a point where we’re able to be more confident in articulating a more local option for St Clements, we’re in lots of discussions at the moment, there are things that other providers are putting forward that we need to work through.

“I’m hopeful that by the time we are coming towards the closure point there will be a level of confidence that we can give around that future option.”

Councillors also asked if transport would be provided to take patients to Pembroke Dock and Health Board Vice Chair Judith Hardisty said they were currently exploring all of the options.
Cllr Gareth Lawlor asked why St Clements was the one chosen for closure instead of St Oswalds in Pembroke.

Judith Hardisty said: “That was the question we put to them, why St Clements and not St Oswalds? Their argument was, in using the resources they’ve got they felt they could better provide the services they’ve got by concentrating that in Pembroke Dock.”

Cllr Lawlor also asked about staffing levels in St Oswalds and it was revealed that it was currently staffed at the same level as Neyland.

Cllr McGarvie asked if there could be a nurse-led service in Neyland and he was told that was one option that had been considered.

Vice-chair Judith Hardisty later went on to say that Argyle Medical Group had admitted that when they merged they didn’t do enough to properly merge their services and added that they do understand the strength of feeling at the decision they have made.

She also said that as soon as they had anything definite they would share it with them and that they would make sure Argyle Medical Group will meet the conditions that had been laid down.

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Hakin: Kebabs delivered despite car exploding

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WOULD you still do your job if your car exploded?

Most would say no, but for kebab company, a car going up in flames and exploding didn’t stop him last night (Jan 17).

The Haven Kebab House delivery car was out on business as it caught fire and exploded on Upper Hill Street, Hakin.

Police officers closed the road as firefighters extinguished the blaze.

The driver of the car called a colleague who then collected the food and completed the deliveries, much to the surprise of many customers who had seen the blaze on the Herald’s Facebook page.

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Parents concerned over teenage ‘gangs’ threatening violence

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CONCERNED parents of Ysgol Harri Tudur pupils have taken to social media after an incident involving teenagers from Milford Haven and Pembroke Dock required police intervention last week.

Police say that upwards of 30 teenagers were at one known disturbance near the old Cleddau Bridge Hotel on Friday (Jan 11) and were promptly dispersed.

Earlier the same day, police were called to Milford Haven School about a fight involving several pupils, which was filmed and circulated on Facebook. You can read the full report on that here.

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said: “On the evening of Friday, January 11, Dyfed-Powys Police officers attended at old Cleddau Bridge Hotel area in Pembroke Dock after receiving information of a disruption.

“A crowd of around 30 teenagers had gathered. Officers carried out some stop searches, offered words of advice and the group was dispersed.

“No offences were committed and no further police action was required.”

Posting on Facebook, concerned parents have said that their children were brought home by police officers and told not to go near the McDonald’s area of Pembroke Dock for their own safety over the weekend.

One parent claimed that, due to the number of teenagers involved, a riot van was at the scene.

Another parent, talking to us based on the promise of anonymity, said that a ‘gang’ of Milford Haven teenagers had arrived in Pembroke Dock after threats were made on the social media platform Snapchat.

A third parent of one of the boys involved, also talking anonymously, said: “There were threats made on a Snapchat group that 20 Milford boys would be waiting at Pembroke school to ‘stab them’.

“They threatened to stab three separate boys. One Milford boy was spotted outside the school on Friday and then 31 Pembroke Dock boys went to the train station to meet the rest of the gang who were supposedly coming to the Dock on a train.

“The police then took some of the children home for their own safety and some parents were told not to let their children into Pembroke Dock alone over the weekend.

“I have been contacted by parents in Milford Haven about the main boy involved. I have been told he is a ‘menace’ and terrorises kids in Milford but nothing has been done about it.”

The Herald has contacted Dyfed-Powys Police about these claims for further comment.

Police have also urged members of the public and students at Milford Haven School not to circulate the video of a fight between pupils at the school that day.

Sgt Andy Williams from Dyfed-Powys Police said: “We are investigating this incident, which appears to have involved a small group of students during a break time. Due to the location, a high number of students were in the area at the time, making it appear that far more students were involved.

“We are aware of a video that is circulating on social media which allegedly identifies those involved in the assault, and recognise the strength of feeling which exists in respect of this.

“Please refrain from sharing the video and from making any comments on the video which could amount to a criminal offence. This is in order to allow for a thorough investigation and to prevent the investigation being undermined.

“We also urge people not to take matters into their own hands or get involved in any unlawful activity which could hamper police enquiries. Where any criminal offences are committed, we will take appropriate action.

“There will be an increased police presence at the school this week to provide reassurance to students, teachers and parents.

“We are working with the school and Pembrokeshire County Council to conduct our investigation. Anyone with information is asked to report it by calling 101.”

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Milford Haven: Fund started for injured cat

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A MILFORD HAVEN woman has taken to social media in a bid to help save her cat’s life.

Tamsin Mathias, aged 23 of St Annes Road, realised on Sunday morning (Jan 13) that her eight month old cat, Luna, was missing. Tamsin said she knew something was wrong after Luna didn’t come in for her breakfast that morning as usual, and her sister, Peppa, was meowing and walking around as if she was looking for her. Later on that day, Luna was found two doors up from her house, covered in her own excrement and struggling to use her back legs.

Tamsin said: “We found her in the front of our neighbour’s garden meowing really loud. I picked her up like a baby and carried her into the house, and as soon as we walked in through the front door she stopped meowing and was just really floppy.

“We wrapped her in a towel, and my other half got some warm water and a tea towel so I could clean her up. I started cleaning her and I noticed that there was a gap in the middle of her tail, and the more I looked at her the more I knew she needed urgent medical attention.”

Tamsin got in touch with All Pets Vet Care and made an emergency appointment for Luna. Half an hour later, Luna was receiving emergency medical treatment from two members of staff.

Tamsin said: “As soon as Billa examined Luna she could see that she had a tail pull injury – I’d never heard of it before, but it’s not great. Billa said straight away that Luna’s tail will most likely have to be removed, because the bones at the base of her tail had been shattered and her tail was limp.

“Luna’s temperature was down to 32.8 degrees, when it should be between 37-38, and she was in a huge amount of shock. Billa, with the help of Sian, managed to get Luna on a drip to get some fluids into her, and gave her some pain killers as well.”

Luna was given x-rays while conscious in an attempt to see what the damage was, however they didn’t depict everything. Tamsin was told that an x-ray needed to be done under general anaesthetic so that Luna could be placed on her back for the procedure. However, if she had undergone a general anaesthetic the night Tamsin brought Luna in, she wouldn’t have made it.

Tamsin went to visit Luna the next day, who said she seemed ‘a lot brighter’. The x-rays revealed a nasty break to Luna’s pelvis, and showed the shattering to the base of her tail.

Luna is currently on strong medication and is undergoing laser treatment to help reduce swelling. It’s important that she is able to go to the toilet by herself and show that she is continent. Tamsin said: “We were told that if Luna turns out the be incontinent, then there’s no point in her having an operation. Reading between the lines, I know what that means, and the thought of it is just so heartbreaking.

“I want to give her the best chance at life, so as long as there’s hope for her and the team at All Pets Vet Care are happy to keep treating her, then we’ll carry on fighting.”

Luna was able to come home on Thursday night (Jan 17) after spending four nights at All Pets Vet Care. Luna began showing signs that she wanted to use her litter tray, but still was unable to go.

Tamsin said: “I’ve done as much research as I can about tail pull injuries and pelvic fractures to try to prepare myself for every outcome. Luna had been leaking urine a little bit here and there, and she has to be expressed every day because she hasn’t yet gone for a wee by herself. But, when we took her home on Thursday, the first thing she did was go into her litter tray.

“She didn’t manage to go, but I thought it was a good sign.”

Luna had to go back to the vets on Friday morning (Jan 18) to be expressed, and Tamsin was shown the procedure so she can do it for Luna at home. Tamsin explained that Luna was interested in her litter tray when she came home, but didn’t go to the toilet. It was then that Tamsin was given some positive news.

“I was told that because Luna had shown interest in her litter tray that it’s more likely that she knows she needs to go and can feel the sensation, but she’s not able to squat because of the fracture to her pelvis,” Tamsin said.

“They’re hopeful that because of this, her continence will return, so fingers crossed she can have her operation soon.”

But, there’s one hurdle they’ve yet to jump. Even though Luna is insured, the insurance doesn’t cover the entire cost of Luna’s treatment.

Luna’s insurance will pay out £1000 for her treatment following her injury, however, with four overnight stays, two x-rays, laser treatment and recovery food, as well as medication, Luna’s vet bill is almost past what the insurance will pay out for her – and that’s without her operation.

“Luna will have to go to a specialist in Llanidloes to have her pelvis operated on,” Tamsin said. “It’s going to be around another £1000 on top of her existing vet bills, so we have to find the money somehow. I won’t give up on her.”

Tamsin and her family have since set up a Go Fund Me page, detailing Luna’s condition, and appealing to members of the public to help fund her operation.

Tamsin said: “If she was an old cat and she was really lethargic and clearly unwell, I’d have a different approach and outlook on her future. But she’s only eight months old, and she is really well in herself other than her injuries. She’s eating and drinking fine, playing, and she’s still just as vocal as she was before. I’m confident that even without her tail, she can go on to live a long and happy life.”

Tamsin added: “Anyone who can help, whether it’s a cash donation or just sharing the campaign on social media to help spread the word, we really do appreciate it. Thank you!”

To donate to help Luna get the treatment she needs, go to www.gofundme.com/lunastreatment

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