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Seminar to debate Health Board in special measures

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A SEMINAR, closed to members of the public, will be called to discuss the Hywel Dda University Health Board being placed into special measures.

Members of the Partnerships Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Thursday (Jan 10), had been discussing Cllr Paul Dowson’s notice of motion, which called on the council to recommend to the Health Minister that the Health Board be put into special measures.

In his supporting statement, Cllr Dowson highlights a number of targets which he says the Health Board has failed to meet.

The motion was previously discussed at the last Council meeting in December where members debated the spirit in which it had been made.

The Health Board’s plan to close the A&E in Haverfordwest, downgrade Withybush Hospital, and build a new centralised hospital between Narberth and Whitland has been highly controversial.


At the meeting in December, Cllr Dowson said: “The public have been to Hywel Dda themselves and made their thoughts clear and the board haven’t listened. We are really the only recommending authority that they can go to, so they have to come to us.”

On Thursday, however, his motion was not supported and it was instead suggested that a seminar be called to discuss the Health Board with members of the board being invited to intend.

Speaking passionately about his motion, Cllr Dowson said that Hywel Dda was ‘incompetent’ and added that there was ‘no excuse’ for the Health Board being in deficit by £69.6m.

He said: “Hywel Dda is responsible for more than 40% of the total overspend by Welsh health boards. They have missed A&E waiting times, this is not good enough. What’s very concerning is that they have missed the target for patients starting cancer treatment, it is unjustifiable. Planned operations is 90.9%, it is not good enough.

“I am in this position as the people of Pembrokeshire voted for me to represent their views and that is what I am going to do. They had consultations which they have ignored.

“They are failing the people of our county and they don’t care. We should write to them and suggest they take over the Health Board.”

Cllr David Bryan questioned why Cllr Dowson was not at the committee in October when the Health Board attended a meeting of the committee and why he did not ask any questions to a Board representative on an earlier item.

Cllr Dowson said the time for questions was over saying questions just come back with answers but with no justification.

Cabinet member Tessa Hodgson said that Cllr Dowson spoke with a lot of passion but added that she felt it was nothing they have no jurisdiction over and that it was up to the Health Minister for them to intervene if they saw fit to do so.

Cllr Michael Williams added: “I am not entirely happy with putting the Health Board into special measures. Betsi Cadwaladr has been in special measures for three years and nothing much has happened.

“I share Cllr Dowson’s concerns, something is not right but I am not convinced that special measures is the answer.”

Cllr Stephen Joseph said he agreed with Cllr Dowson adding: “I don’t envy anyone representing the Health Board. The public don’t seem to believe a word they say. I was initially against it thinking it was up to Hywel Dda to sort themselves out but the only people above them are the Welsh Government.”

Cllr Phil Kidney said: “I applaud Cllr Dowson for his passion, other than the improvement in Tenby it has been a shambles. I am not sure if this would speed up the process but we have to agree there are problems. We haven’t got the power but I would take this to full council to have a good debate there.”

Cllr Pearl Llewellyn said she had had numerous requests from the public in her ward including a phone call from Germany asking her to support the motion.

Members were of the view that as it was an important subject but that it needed to go to the full council. The committee was told it was up to them to decide whether it should go to the Council or the Cabinet.

Cllr Bryan said they were wasting their time discussing the motion and instead suggested inviting the Health Board in for a meeting.

Cllr Dowson said they would just give more excuses while Cllr Williams further added that he had no faith in Welsh Government to improve the situation.

Cllr Simon Hancock asked what had gone fundamentally wrong since the meeting in October when the Committee had agreed to work with the Health Board on delivering a new model of care.

When Cllr Dowson’s motion was put to the vote it was supported by four members with six voting against.

Cllr Bryan then put forward a motion that a seminar be held to which the Health Board would be invited and that the results of that would be brought back to full council.

That was supported by a majority.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Dowson said: “If it achieved nothing, it achieved publicity. Hopefully it will have drawn Welsh Government’s attention.

“Regardless of the outcome, it brought the matter to the public’s attention and hopefully the Welsh Government as well.”

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Council’s cannon stolen from outside Cleddau Bridge Hotel

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A LARGE cannon has been stolen from the now closed Cleddau Bridge Hotel in Pembroke Dock in the last few days.

A local councillor and the police have appealed for information which will lead to the safe return of the gun.

Ward councillor Joshua Beynon said: “Dyfed-Powys Police have just telephoned me to say they are investigating the cannon that was stolen from the former Cleddau Bridge Hotel. It is believed to have gone missing sometime between the evening of Wednesday 20th March to the morning of Thursday 21st March.”

The police said in a statement: “If anyone has any information then can I urge you to call the police on 101 and quote the crime number: DPP/0064/21/03/2019/01/C as soon as possible.”

The cannon, one of two dug up from the ground at Hobbs Point and later restored, used to stand outside Llanion Park, the former offices of South Pembrokeshire District Council, which is now the head office of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

The canon is the property of Pembrokeshire County Council and was given to the hotel on loan.

The hotel’s management neglected to make arrangements for its return to the local authority on closing down.

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How to get a refund for unused Cleddau Bridge tickets after April 1

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has announced details on how it plans to refund Cleddau Bridge users left with unused books of bridge tickets after it becomes toll-free.
From 1st April until 30th June refunds will be available from the Cleddau Bridge office itself and the North Wing Customer Service Centre in County Hall, Haverfordwest.
Refunds for all three classes of tickets will be available at the Cleddau Bridge office.

The classes are:

Class A blue-coloured tickets (for motorcycles)
Class B red tickets (cars and light commercial vehicles)
Class C orange tickets (HGVs).

Refunds at the office will be available round-the-clock from 12 noon on 1st April and will be paid – wherever possible – back to the original debit/credit cards up to a maximum of £150 with cash refunds up to £30.

Any refunds over £150 will be made by BACS transfer unless otherwise agreed in advance.

Only Class B red tickets will be refunded at the North Wing Customer Service Centre in Haverfordwest.

Here, refunds will be paid back to the original debit/credit card up to a maximum of £90 (ie three books of 50 tickets)

The maximum cash refund at this location will be £30 (ie one book of 50 tickets).

Refunds at the North Wing Customer Service Centre will be available weekdays between 9 am and 1 pm and 2 pm until 5 pm.

Organisations which have previously purchased tickets with a value exceeding £400 will be contacted during the week commencing Monday, 25th March with instructions on how to reclaim their refunds on an appointment basis at the Cleddau Bridge office.

The County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Paul Miller, said: “I am delighted to announce that bridge users who have unused tickets due to the cessation of tolls will be reimbursed and not find themselves out of pocket.”
Those who qualify for refunds are asked to wait a few days before making a claim so as to avoid a long wait. This particularly applies to refunds at the Cleddau Bridge office.

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Council issue ‘rave alert’ to farmers, landowners and local communities

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL and Dyfed-Powys Police are asking farmers, landowners and local communities to be on alert over the coming weekend (23rd and 24th March) for warning signs of any illegal raves planned for their land.

Any suspicious activity should be reported immediately to the police, especially if there are unusual numbers of vehicles – in particular, camper vans, vans or trucks – seen in the locality.

Illegal trespassers may recce sites in advance of any rave, or people may approach landowners and ask around for land, in the guise of hiring it for acceptable activities such as gymkhanas or scout camps.

Raves can cause anxiety to the community they are held in and, if not dealt with swiftly, are difficult to stop due to the sheer numbers of people involved. There is also a safety concern involved in breaking up such events.

Anyone with concerns should call Dyfed Powys Police on 101 and ask to speak to the Duty Sergeant or Duty Inspector at Haverfordwest Police Station.

Alternatively, please call Pembrokeshire County Council’s out-of-hours service on 01437 775522.

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