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Over 1,000 turn out to save local hospital services

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THE RAIN held off on Saturday (Nov 3) for another major protest against cuts to services at Withybush General Hospital.
Doctors, nurses, politicians, and members of the public were all at the protest – united in one aim – to send a message loudly and clearly to the Hywel Dda University Health Board that their consultation had no credibility and that vital services, especially the A&E department must remain in Haverfordwest.

Some of the many protesters at Withybush Hospital (Pic: Herald)

Roy Towell from Fishguard, just one of over 1,000 protesters said: “I have come out to protest because those idiots are trying to take away our hospital, and to try and get from here to Gwangwili when you are crippled, about to give birth, or injured is not easy. The A40 has been closed four times in the last three weeks, once for seven hours. So how do we get to Carmarthen in an emergency? It is ridiculous.

He added: “My message to the Chief Executive of the Health Board is ‘Listen to what we have to say – we know what we are talking about. We live here and we are being forgotten. It’s not fair, there are thousands of people living in Pembrokeshire and we need these services.”

Former councillor Peter Stock was at the protest. As a well known and respected person in the county, he said what many people are thinking: “A very big thank you to the organisers and all the People that turned out in Support of Withybush Hospital today, Hywel Dda unless you are blind, uncaring, or just plain crazy not to see how strong the feeling of the Pembrokeshire people to retain our hospital with all the facilities and A&E that is so vitally needed here in Pembrokeshire.”

Against cut backs: Vicky Moller holds a banner (Pic: Herald)

He added: “In the 1990’s when the Secretary of State for Wales announced that Pembrokeshire was to have its own health authority because there was a great need, and the best way forward for the future. So what has changed?”

Conservative MP Stephen Crabb MP thanked the people who turned out, but criticised Labour politicians for not showing up: “[It was an] excellent turn-out at the Save Withybush Hospital protest today. Huge thanks to everyone who came from all across Pembrokeshire to make their voices heard. But very disappointing that no one from the Welsh Labour Government came to listen to the concerns of Pembrokeshire. The campaign is not over; we will keep fighting to defend our A&E.”

Stephen Crabb MP and colleagues at the protest (Pic: S Kurtz)

The rain held off for just long enough for the protest to take place (Pic Herald)

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “We’re aware that some people are anxious about changes to healthcare provision but our doctors and other clinicians have led this work and we believe this is our best chance to deal with the fragility of our NHS and to provide the population with safe, effective care that meets their needs.

“We want to make it clear that our plans are not to move services from Withybush to Glangwili hospital but to provide a new hospital in a more equitable position somewhere between Narberth and St Clears. This will bring many services closer to people in Pembrokeshire than they are now, including our main intensive care unit, overnight children’s (paediatric) services and high risk births. This will not happen overnight and we are committed to working with our communities and our partners to demonstrate and test what additional provision can be made in areas furthest from the new hospital, particularly for time-sensitive emergency conditions.

“We also wish to reassure people that should our plans for a new hospital be unsuccessful, we would need to reconsider how we could meet our challenges and this would mean coming back to our communities to engage with them.”
Helen Mary Jones, the Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, will be speaking at a Save Withybush demonstration outside the hospital in Haverfordwest on Saturday.

People from all over Pembrokeshire were at the protest. (Pic: Herald)

Plaid Cymru responded to the decision of Hywel Dda University Health Board to remove services from Withybush and Glangwili hospitals by calling on the Welsh Government’s Health Secretary to intervene to properly merge health and social services.

Helen Mary Jones, Plaid Cymru AM told The Herald that she had raised the issue of Withybush Hospital consistently.

She said: “Since the consultation on the future of services Plaid Cymru elected members have held a number of ‘Health Summits’, with a range of clinicians, to determine how best to deliver health and social services care across the region.

Helen Mary Jones said that the proposals are ‘disappointing’ and ‘a missed opportunity to transform health and social care’.

“There is a vacuum of information on how services will be integrated, recruitment solved, and services delivered” she added.

Mrs Jones told The Herald: “It is clear to us that the Health Board’s choice doesn’t address how services will actually be improved in the short to medium term. There is no proposal for better out-of-hours care, no plan for substantial increases in social care services, and no plans for investing in the ambulance services – only the removal of essential services and the hope that maybe, one day, we’ll see a new hospital. What we have heard so far makes no mention of the transformation that needs to occur in the relationship with local councils and the third sector for the changes to be realised.

“The west has been waiting far too long for a long-term health plan to improve our services.”

 

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Home office is ‘misleading the public’ over police funding, says Police and Crime Commissioner

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THE POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER has told The Herald that he believes that the Home Office is ‘misleading the public’ that his force will have an increase in funding in 2019/2020.

On the face of it, it appears that Dyfed-Powys Police will have an increase in funding of £8.1 million in 2019/20. However this figure is based upon the presumption that PCC Dafydd Llywelyn will increase the current Band D property precept level by £24 annually.
After what he describes as a frustrating delay, the Government’s provisional grant funding settlement has been announced, which sets out the position for Dyfed-Powys Police for the 2019/20 financial year. On the face of it, it appears that Dyfed-Powys Police will have an increase in funding of £8.1 million in 2019/20. However this figure is based upon the presumption that PCC Dafydd Llywelyn will increase the current Band D property precept level by £24 annually.
PCC Dafydd Llywelyn said: “The way in which the Home Office and Central Government are misleading the public is disgraceful and I am very disappointed in the way this settlement once again shifts the burden onto local tax payers. I continue to try and do the right thing to protect our communities but I feel we are being let down by the Government in London as their actions are likely to impact on our local services.”
“I am currently consulting with the residents of Dyfed-Powys; asking if they would be willing to pay additional police precept to continue to safeguard our communities. Within the survey I have outlined the impact of for Dyfed-Powys Police and its communities. My decision will be made by listening to local communities and the professional advice of the Chief Constable.”
“I am working closely with the Chief Constable to critically review all aspects of the budget requirement. Given the scale of financial challenges that are faced, a precept increase will be unavoidable, but how much this is increased by should not be dictated by Government.”

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Police issue warning over sheep attacks in Pembrokeshire

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE has issued advice to pet owners following a spate of livestock worrying incidents in the Saundersfoot, Narberth and Crescelly areas.

There have been six reports of dog attacks on sheep in the past three weeks, one of which caused a dog to be shot after it was caught attacking sheep in Solva.

PC Gerwyn Davies of the Pembrokeshire Rural Crime Team, told The Herald: “It is important dogs are always kept on leads near livestock, but especially so at this time of year. Sheep are heavily in lamb and their numbers have increased because they come from high grounds in mid Wales for the winter.

“Sheep worrying can have a long term effect on ewes as they can lose pregnancies as a result of stress. This obviously has a negative impact on farmers who not only lose out financially, but it is also very upsetting.

“Sadly, three ewes have been killed and several more injured in the past few weeks. One family dog was shot in Solva after it attacked sheep, which is a sad situation for the dog’s owner and upsetting for the farmer.”

Farmers can legally shoot any dog if they believe it is the only reasonable way of stopping it worrying livestock. If your dog chases or attacks livestock you should make arrangements to contact the landowner/livestock owner.

Anyone who has information about, or wants to make a report of livestock worrying, can contact the Pembrokeshire Rural Crime Team by calling 101.

Dog owners are reminded of this advice when walking in the countryside:

  • Do not allow your dog to enter a field on its own and keep it under your control at all times.
  • Keep your dog on a lead when crossing through fields that contain livestock.
  • Stick to public right of ways.

When at home:

  • Make sure you know where your dog is at all times.
  • Ensure that your property is secure and that your dog cannot escape day or night.
  • If you know your dog has previously chased or attacked sheep then take responsible measures to prevent it happening again.
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New First Minister announces his cabinet

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THE FIRST MINISTER FOR WALES, Mark Drakeford, has today announced his new look cabinet to lead Wales. The First Minister said: “It is an enormous privilege for me to be appointed First Minister of Wales. Every leader needs a strong team around them, and I am delighted to introduce my new cabinet which is a strong mix of experience, talent and passion.

“Brexit is our greatest challenge.  In the extraordinary and regrettable circumstances created by the UK Government, it is vital that we prepare for all outcomes. I have retained Ministers in posts where their experience of Brexit preparation is key, while creating a new post to reflect the priority I attach to international relationships and trade.

“As a government we will continue to speak up for Wales, to fight our country’s corner and make sure the government in London is never in any doubt at all of what matters to the people of Wales.”

Cabinet and Deputy Ministers

Vaughan Gething
Minister for Health and Social Services  – Y Gweinidog Iechyd a Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol

Julie Morgan
Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services – Y Dirprwy Weinidog Iechyd a Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol

Eluned Morgan
Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language – Gweinidog y Gymraeg a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol

Dafydd Elis-Thomas
Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism – Y Dirprwy Weinidog Diwylliant, Chwaraeon a Thwristiaeth

Ken Skates
Minister for Economy and Transport – Gweinidog yr Economi a Thrafnidiaeth

Lee Waters
Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport – Dirprwy Weinidog yr Economi a Thrafnidiaeth

Julie James
Minister for Housing and Local Government – Y Gweinidog Tai a Llywodraeth Leol

Hannah Blythyn
Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government – Y Dirprwy Weinidog Tai a Llywodraeth Leol

Rebecca Evans
Minister for Finance and Trefnydd – Y Gweinidog Cyllid a’r Trefnydd

Kirsty Williams
Minister for Education – Y Gweinidog Addysg

Lesley Griffiths
Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs – Gweinidog yr Amgylchedd, Ynni a Materion Gwledig

Jeremy Miles
Counsel General Designate and Brexit Minister – Y Darpar Gwnsler Cyffredinol a’r Gweinidog Brexit

Jane Hutt
Deputy Minister and Chief Whip – Y Dirprwy Weinidog a’r Prif Chwip

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