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Seminar to debate Health Board in special measures



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.”


Pembrokeshire residents can quickly check symptoms for variety of conditions on NHS 111 Wales online



NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker can save Pembrokeshire patients time by helping them find the right NHS service for treatment. Symptoms can be quickly checked for a variety of conditions and advice given on the best way to treat them by visiting which is hosted by the Welsh Ambulance Service.

The way we access NHS services has changed as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with more options now becoming increasingly utilised, including the NHS 111 Wales online service which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can be used for both health information and advice and to access urgent primary care in Welsh and English.

In a recent YouGov survey, a third of Pembrokeshire residents had not even heard of the NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker and only 19% had used it during the past 12 months.

Andrew Carruthers, Director of Operations at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We are asking everyone to help us by reconsidering the way you access NHS services. The methods available have changed but we are still here for you. It is worth getting to know the different ways you can access the NHS so you can be seen and treated quicker with your first port of call being NHS 111 Wales.”

According to the YouGov survey, carried out for the Welsh Government’s Keep Wales Safe campaign, only 67% of Pembrokeshire residents had heard of the NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker. However, 86% said they felt it was important to have access to the service.   

NHS 111 Wales online can help if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do. The way it works is: You answer questions about your symptoms on the website and depending on the situation you will:

  •           Get self-care advice
  •           Be told how to get any medicine you need
  •           Find out what local service can help you
  •           Be connected to a nurse, emergency dentist, pharmacist or GP
  •           Get a face-to-face appointment if you need one
  •           Be given an arrival time if you need to go to A&E – this might mean you spend less time in A&E

For those who don’t have confidence going online to seek advice, there is the NHS 111 Wales phone service. This is also a free service where patients can contact the NHS by dialling 111 to receive advice on the best way to manage their issue or gain further assistance if needed. The bilingual telephone service is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Eighty-four percent of Pembrokeshire residents had heard of the NHS 111 Wales phone service when asked for the recent YouGov survey but only 20% had used the telephone service during the last 12 months.


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Trial date for son accused of killing mum



THE SON of Judith Rhead, 68, who was found dead in her home in Market Street, Pembroke Dock on Feb 20 will now appear in Crown Court again in October.

Dale Morgan, 43, said to be a scout master, appeared in court only to confirm his name, date of birth and address – which was listed as Honeyborough Green, Neyland.

A plea and trial preparation hearing date was set for March 26 with a provisional trial date set for October 4.

He was remanded in custody.

In court papers it stated that the alleged murder took place between December 10, 2020 and February 21, 2021.

The paperwork demonstrates that the police are unsure of the exact date that Ms Rhead died. The large date range, two months, points to the likelihood that this will be a challenging case for all those involved.

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Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan



MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link:

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.


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