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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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Major changes to waste and recycling services in Pembrokeshire

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THE FIRST of three major changes to waste and recycling services in Pembrokeshire is due to be rolled out soon, among which will be a new initiative where householders will be asked to demonstrate that their black bag waste does not contain any recyclable items.

The aim is to encourage more people to recycle as the County Council faces punitive fines if Welsh Government recycling targets are not met.

Two further significant changes to the Council’s waste service will take place later this year – the introduction of a free fortnightly Absorbent Hygiene Products collection (on request) starting in August and more changes to the kerbside collection services from October.

“We anticipate that before making the journey to their local centre, many householders will have already ensured that their general bin bag is free of any recyclable material,” explained Councillor Cris Tomos, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment.

“If recyclable items are in the general waste bags then householders will be asked to remove them and simply place them in the recycling containers.’

“We are determined to improve to ensure that we hit our targets. If we fail, the Council will be heavily fined and it would be unacceptable to have to divert much needed cash from essential services.

“Every one of us has a duty to recycle. It is a hot topic at the moment, especially with the concern being shown by environmentalists like David Attenborough over the amount of plastic in our oceans.

“We therefore anticipate that householders will show support for this initiative and recycle responsibly in their own homes.”

Later this month, staff at the county’s six waste and recycling centres will be handing out leaflets and speaking with householders and businesses explaining how the new bag-sorting scheme will operate.

The Council’s communications team will also be sharing information and guidance via their social media channels and the County Council website.

Explaining why the bag-sorting scheme has to work, the Council’s Head of Environmental Services and Public Protection, Richard Brown, said: “We need to increase the amount that we recycle in Pembrokeshire to meet Welsh Government’s targets.

“We currently recycle 60% of our waste but we need to recycle 64% by next year and 70 per cent by 2024 – 2025. If we miss these targets, Welsh Government will fine Pembrokeshire £140,000 for every one per cent we miss the target by.

“These changes will help ensure Pembrokeshire becomes more recycling focused and meets the targets, while also improving our environment. Wales is at the forefront of recycling on global scale and we are just a part of the story.

“We want to assure householders that, far from being a reduction in service, this is an initiative that will help everyone to dispose of the same amount of waste but in a better way.

“Our operatives will offer on-site support to anyone who is unsure about the process but our message is that these changes are not unique to Pembrokeshire.”

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Head to a lifeguarded beach this Easter Bank Holiday say Lifeboats

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WITH sun and warm temperatures predicted over the next few days, many people are likely to head to the coast to enjoy the Easter bank holiday. Although the air temperature may be warm, the waters around our coasts will still be very cold. The RNLI is urging people to stay safe and to head to a lifeguarded beach.

Although it is early in the year, RNLI lifeguards are patrolling a variety of beaches around the UK and will be on hand to offer safety advice.

The charity is encouraging anyone visiting the coast to head to a lifeguarded beach and to swim between the red and yellow flags, which is the area most closely monitored by the lifeguards. Lifeguarded beaches provide much greater safety for general beach users, swimmers and water sports enthusiasts.

In warm weather, a dip in the sea can seem very inviting, but our waters are still very cold at this time of year. Sudden immersion in cold water puts people at risk of suffering cold water shock, which triggers the instinctive but life-threatening reaction to gasp uncontrollably and swim hard, which can quickly lead to drowning.

Brian Robson, Community Safety Manager for the RNLI, says: “While we are all looking forward to some spring-like weather, we’d like to remind people that the conditions around the coast can change quickly and still be challenging, and should you go in the water intentionally or unintentionally, the sea is extremely cold at this time of year, making cold water shock a real danger. If you find yourself suffering from the effects of cold water shock, fight your instincts to thrash about or try to swim – instead, relax and float on your back until the effects have passed and you can swim to safety.

“We want people to enjoy the coastline and therefore urge people to respect the water and take extra care when visiting the coast, by taking some basic precautions. Plan your activity – check the weather and tide conditions before going to sea, and make sure your equipment is all in working order.

“Carry a means of calling for help should something go wrong, know your capabilities and make sure you wear the necessary safety equipment for your chosen activity. To find out how you can stay safe while enjoying your water activity, visit rnli.org/safety.

The RNLI is also advising people to enjoy the sun safely by making sure they apply sunscreen generously, with at least a factor 15, spend time in the shade when the sun is at its strongest between 11am-3pm and by wearing protective kit such as a shirt, sunglasses or a cap.

To find your nearest lifeguarded beach, please visit: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches

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Haverfordwest: ‘Serious facial injuries’ after Castle Square attack

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POLICE are asking the public for help following a horrific attack in Haverfordwest last month which left a young man with serious facial injuries.

The incident took place in the early hours of March 17 on Castle Square

A police spokesperson said: “Police are appealing for witnesses to a serious assault on a male which occured in the early hours of the 17th March 2019 on Castle Square, Haverfordwest.

“The Victim who is a 20-year-old male received serious facial injuries.

“Anyone with information is asked to contact PC 445 GOSLING on 101 or contact anonymously crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

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