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Withybush: Health Board deny regular ambulance diversions

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THE DIRECTOR of Operations at Hywel Dda University Health Board has strongly denied claims on social media that over the last few days Withybush Hospital has been closed to ambulance admissions.

On Wednesday night the SWAT Facebook page printed a message from a whistle-blower claiming to be close to the ambulance service.
The un-named source contacted the campaign group and said: “[It’s] very worrying indeed… it is September and we haven’t yet been plunged into the traditional ‘winter pressures'”

The source added: “But, Withybush has been closed to ambulances for the past two days, it is full to capacity and cannot take ambulance patients as there is nowhere for them to go.
Glangwili cannot take our Pembrokeshire ambulance patients because they are in the same boat and full with nowhere for people to go.
“All Pembrokeshire ambulance patients have had to go to Prince Philip hospital in Llanelli which is now struggling to cope with the extra pressures and does not have the facilities to deal with all cases as it’s A&E is limited.
“Staff are running around trying to cope the best they can but it’s not fair to them and certainly not fair to unwell patients who are having to be taken miles away and don’t even know if there’s space to take them in.
“It also means their family are often unable to travel such distances to be with them in their time of need. This situation is appalling.”

However, the Health Board said this was inaccurate and wanted to set the record straight.

Joe Teape, Director of Operations and Deputy Chief Executive at Hywel Dda, said: “The health board strongly refutes the claims made on social media and we would like to take the opportunity to set the record straight.
“Over the past few days the vast majority of our patients in Pembrokeshire have been seen and treated by our extremely hard-working and dedicated clinical workforce at Withybush General Hospital, a number of whom have been caused significant distress as a result of what they have read on social media.
“As is commonplace at this time of the year we are experiencing pressures at some of our acute hospital sites, and in line with our usual escalation procedures a small number of appropriate patients have been diverted to Glangwili and Prince Philip hospitals to ensure that we can accommodate our patients safely. The same protocol is followed on occasions when patients need to be diverted to Withybush.
“The health board has a responsibility to ensure that we deliver services which are clinically safe and put patients at the heart of everything that we do. Through joint working with internal and external partners, including our colleagues at WAST, the position has now improved and no diverts are currently in place. We would like to thank all of our staff and external colleagues for their support and hard work over this busy period.”

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MP calls on Welsh Government to explain broadband delays

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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

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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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Drone guide to limit wildlife disturbance

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THE PEMBROKESHIRE COAST NATIONAL PARK AUTHORITY has released new drone guidance for recreational users that seeks to limit the disturbance the aerial devices can cause to protected wildlife.

As well as reiterating general safety advice from the Civil Aviation Authority’s Drone Code, the guidance will help recreational users of drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to understand the impact their use could have on rare species and on other people’s enjoyment.

National Park Authority Biodiversity Officer, Sarah Mellor said: “While the Drone Code focuses on safety, we have produced this simple guide to help protect the array of wonderful wildlife that attracts many people to Pembrokeshire.

“Species such as seabirds and seals are particularly vulnerable when they are breeding or nurturing their young and even low levels of disturbance can impact on them and can lead to reductions in populations.

“The guidance also highlights how livestock can be easily startled by drones, including the sheep, cows and horses that graze the coastal slopes alongside the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

“We want everyone to enjoy their visit to Pembrokeshire, so being aware of the impact drones can have on other people and the area’s peace and tranquillity is also important.”

The guidance has been prepared in collaboration with partners including commercial drone operators, Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum, National Trust, Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, Natural Resources Wales and Pembrokeshire County Council.

The information will be updated as more rules and research findings are released. The document, which is available from the National Park Authority’s website, can also be printed as a reference guide.

You can download the guidance by visiting www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/filming.

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