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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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Haverfordwest: HaverHub targeted by vandals

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Trashed: Vandals, believed to be children, have targeted HaverHub

POLICE are investigating after thieves broke into HaverHub community centre and stole alcohol and a net full of plastic ducks.

The first incident occurred on Friday evening (Aug 17) or early Saturday morning (Aug 18) when a side door was smashed in.

Within hours, vandals had returned and went about trashing the place and stole 26 bottles of Prosecco.

In a post on social media, HaverHub said: “The first [incident] saw our side door kicked in, and the second occurred when some opportunistic kids came in through the unsecured door.

“They’ve smashed a window, emptied two fire extinguishers everywhere, helped themselves to our supplies and generally made a big mess. They’ve also stolen 26 bottles of Prosecco, and a net full of plastic ducks from the duck race.”

HaverHub project coordinator and founder Gitti Coats told the Herald: “One of the team came to secure the broken door and make it safe and as he arrived three girls and three boys of about 12-years-old ran from the building with a seventh child locked inside.

“If any parents see their child with cuts from broken glass or with yellow plastic ducks, please get in touch,” she added.

The former Post Office building in Quay Street was taken over by the non-profit social enterprise in August last year aiming to provide a new focal point for the community.

HaverHub has appealed for anyone with information to contact Dyfed-Powys Police directly by calling 101.

A JustGiving page has been set up where donations to support the project can be made: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/haverhub-clear-up and you can find out more on the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/4haverchange

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Woman injured in Castlemartin cliff fall

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A WOMAN suffered injuries after falling when climbing at Linney Head near Castlemartin.

Coastguards were called after the fall near Linney Head at about 4pm last Friday (Aug 17).

Tenby Coastguard Rescue team were paged to assist St Govan Coastguard Rescue team in a rescue operation which lasted two-and-a-half hours.

The area needed to be assessed for a suitable helicopter landing site to enable Coastguard Rescue helicopter 187 to land on site.

The casualty suffered leg injuries and was airlifted from the cliff and flown to Withybush hospital, where she continues to receive further treatment.

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Haverfordwest: Your Health, Your Wealth event returns

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HAVERFORDWEST will be the location for the second Your Health, Your Wealth money advice and wellbeing event to be held in Pembrokeshire on Friday, September 7.

More than a dozen local and national organisations have already signed up to take part in the pop-up advice shop at Unit 5, Riverside Shopping Centre between 10.30am and 1pm.

Attendees will receive the latest information on how to save money, manage changing welfare payments and pick up tips on how to stay fit and well as the winter approaches.

The event will run alongside the first Farmer’s Market of September in the town centre. Everyone attending will receive an official event booklet detailing money saving tips, healthy living ideas and essential contact information for local organisations, and be entered into a prize draw.

Eluned Morgan AM said: “Low unemployment rates don’t necessarily signal a strong economy. The reality is that finances are still tight for thousands of families in Pembrokeshire. Household incomes are under pressure as the cost of living and heating our homes continues to rise.

“That is why setting up this pop up, one-stop advice shop with local organisations who can offer the very best advice on how to live well. The Citizens Advice Bureau, Age Cymru, PAVS Community Connectors, Pembrokeshire Trading Standards, Macmillan Cancer Support, the DPJ Foundation and many others will be there.”

Pembrokeshire people in and out of work who are in receipt of benefits will be able to apply for Universal Credit soon, including self-employed people or those considering self-employment.

The Department of Work and Pensions have also been invited to attend to explain how benefit changes will affect local residents with Universal Credit set to roll out from September 5.

Eluned continued: “For many people, especially those on lower incomes, the changing benefits system and the increasing cost of living is making life much more stressful and that isn’t good for our health. I’ve recently met with Martin Lewis, the money saving expert, who agrees that not enough is being done to help people manage their money, and is concerned about the impact on peoples mental health. This is why I’ve been so keen to organise these events right across the region.”

Eluned Morgan will be holding an advice surgery during the event, where local residents can talk to her about a particular issue in their community or ask a question about the role of the National Assembly for Wales.

A full list of the organisations taking part can be found on Eluned Morgan’s Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/ElunedMorganAM

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