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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.”


High value items stolen in Llangwm burglary



POLICE are appealing for witnesses to a high value burglary at a home in The Kilns, Haverfordwest, and have released an electronic image of a man they would like to speak to in connection with the incident.

The front door of a house was forced open and entry gained some time between 8am and 3.35pm on June 6.

Around £300 in cash, two iPads, two blue tooth speakers, an iPod, GoPro camera, a white gold wedding ring with diamonds worth around £800, a diamond and pearl necklace worth between £3,000 and £4,000, a fob watch, Zeiss First World War binoculars, and a Nintendo Switch were stolen.

Through enquiries, it has been established that two men were seen in the area at the time, who might have information that could help the investigation.

An electronic image of one of the men has been created.

They were described as two men in their mid-40s with blonde hair in a short back and sides style. They had gaunt faces with prominent cheek bones, and were slim and tanned.

The older looking of the two was wearing dark navy safety trainers, black cargo trousers and a long-sleeved dark shirt with a dark grey lightweight body warmer over the top.

The younger had similar clothing, and was carrying a Morrisons bag for life.

They were seen walking down the Sardis road; between the lane for Rosemarket and the Troopers Inn crossroads.

Officers are urging anyone who has been offered any of these items for sale, anyone who can help identify the men described, or anyone who saw any suspicious behaviour in The Kilns on June 6 or the days prior, to call Dyfed-Powys Police on 101.

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Pembrokeshire Coast project in exciting UK partnership launch



FIVE of the UK’s National Parks, including the Pembrokeshire Coast, are running major conservation projects as part of an exciting new partnership launched this week between the National Parks and Clif Bar.

These projects, under the new National Parks Protectors Fund, are funded by Clif Bar, which has a long history of supporting environmental schemes in the USA and Canada. However, this is the first time the company – which sells a range of energy bars for active lifestyles – has worked in the UK.

In the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park the pilot project – entitled ‘Paths, Pollinators and People’ which involves the creation of a new Pollinator Warden role, aims to enhance the biodiversity alongside a lengthy section of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, from Newgale to Abereiddi.

This project is the first step towards a longer-term aim of maintaining the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in a way that improves biodiversity and wildlife interest for visitors, whilst at the same time ensuring its quality as a National Trail.

The Pembrokeshire Coast is the only Welsh National Park to have a Clif Bar supported project but all 15 UK Parks will benefit. Those not running a special project will receive a smaller grant to support their choice of conservation work during the year.

Tegryn Jones, Chief Executive of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, said: “The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is one of the world’s finest long-distance walking routes, attracting one million visitors every year. The support of Clif Bar will make a vital contribution to improving the biodiversity of such an iconic stretch of the Coast Path.”

Catherine Hawkins, Chair of National Parks Partnerships, said: “Clif Bar is really stepping up to help the UK National Parks to protect and conserve their precious landscapes. The National Parks work year-round on projects that protect and conserve important habitats and wildlife. But with so much work to do, we need the support of partners like Clif Bar to help protect these landscapes for now and the future.”

David Smith, Senior Marketing Manager at Clif Bar Europe, added: “Clif Bar is a purpose-led company committed to sustaining five bottom lines. These are our Five Aspirations – sustaining our business, brands, people, community and planet. Our partnership with the UK National Parks truly embodies these aspirations by supporting the communities we live in and the planet we share. We are confident that the projects supported through the UK National Parks Protectors Fund will help ensure that these outstanding landscapes we are so lucky to share with nature are available for generations to visit and enjoy.”

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Missing man’s anorak and walking stick found on coastal path



Reginald Davies has been missing since June 14

AN ANORAK and a walking stick believed to belong to a missing man from Pembrokeshire have been found near a coastal path.

The search for a Reginald Davies has now entered its fifth day, after he was reported missing shortly after 9.30am on Friday morning (Jun 14).

Sniffer dogs and a police helicopter have been involved in the search, along with the coastguard, mountain rescue teams, and the RNLI.

The 70 year old Mr Davies went missing from his home in the village of Newport, and his family are now “increasingly concerned for his welfare.”

Police are continuing their search and are appealing to the public for help.

They describe Mr Davies as being around 5ft 6ins tall and of slight build. He has short black hair and wears glasses.

He is known to frequent the coastal path near his home and the Parrog area of Newport. Police have confirmed on Tuesday that a walking stick and an anorak – believed to belong to Mr Davies – have been found near the path.

He does not have access to a car so is believed to have left his home on foot.

Anyone who has seen Mr Davies or has any information regarding his whereabouts is asked to contact Dyfed-Powys Police by calling 101.

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