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Father found dead after being ‘refused a hospital bed’

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24 HOURS after being refused a hospital bed for severe mental health problems, a dedicated father was found dead in Carmarthen.

Matthew Salisbury, aged 34, reported to Glangwili Hospital after experiencing suicidal thoughts. It was his wish to be detained under the Mental Health Act, but he was told he must wait several weeks for a referral to a psychiatrist, claimed his distraught wife Tara Salisbury.

Matthew also leaves behind a two-year-old daughter Alysia, along with two step-children, Jessica and Abigail, aged 11 and 7. An investigation into his death has been launched by the Hywel Dda University Health Board.

According to Tara, from Crymych, Matthew ‘went to the hospital as a final attempt to seek the help he desperately needed, which for someone in his state is extremely difficult’.

Tragically, Tara believes that if he had been detained immediately, Matthew would ‘still be alive’.

Tara said: “What he got was a sympathetic ear, and the same referral to a psychiatrist he would have received from a GP.”

Matthew first sought help for depression in October 2018.

Tara added: “He was given medication and then two or three months ago the dosage was upped. He was also due to see a psychiatrist, but he took a pretty bad turn and wasn’t able to see them.”

After repeatedly threatening to take his own life, Matthew visited Glangwili Hospital on the evening of Saturday May 25. Tara was present with him.

She continued: “A doctor told us that if it ever got to the stage where he threatened to take his own life, we should go to A&E. So that’s what we did.”

“The Mental Health Act 1983 states that if a person is a danger to themselves they should be admitted – even if this is against the person’s will – to protect them from harming themselves.”

However, after arriving at A&E, Matthew was told there was no bed for him.

“I was absolutely gobsmacked” claimed Tara, “He kept on saying that if he wasn’t admitted he was going to kill himself, yet the best they could do was offer him a warm cup of tea, a nice smile and send him on his way.”

Although Tara tried desperately to convince Matthew to change his mind, he ‘wanted to be dead right there and then’.

She added: “He’d done what everybody had told him to do and still hadn’t been given any help.

“He got up on the Sunday morning, said goodbye to everyone and left. I hoped that when he left he would just have a think and not go through with it. But when he didn’t return I called all his friends and family.”

Matthew was found deceased in his car on the early hours of Monday morning, near Carmarthen.

Tara said: “He was a loving father and my best friend.”

On behalf of the Hywel Dda University Health Board, Joe Teape, director of operations, said: “I would like to pass on our sincere condolences to Mr Salisbury’s family following this tragic incident, and in line with our serious incident protocols I can confirm that we have launched a clinical review into the circumstances surrounding his death. The health board will contact the family and invite them to meet with us as part of this process.”

In 2018, 360 people took their own lives in Wales, 278 of whom were men. Anyone seeking help can call Samaritans free on 116 123 or visit samaritans.org.

News

No action at Cardiff Airport over virus

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THERE were no checks or screening at Cardiff airport this morning (Jan 23) as international concern continues to grow about the coronavirus which has killed 17 people and infected hundreds in a central Chinese city.

A Herald journalist landing at 5:30am on a flight from Doha, said that passengers arriving from China or other Southeast Asian were not questioned or screened, despite other airports including Heathrow taking action.

The twice daily Doha flight, which was launched with the help of the Welsh Government two years ago, connects travellers from many destinations from South East Asia, including from China. A connection between Beijing and Cardiff is offered with a 10 hour stop over at Hamad International Airport in Qatar.

The outbreak of the virus is centred on the city of Wuhan. Travellers from Wuhan change at Beijing. At this time of year there is an increased number of travellers between China and the UK due to the Chinese New Year celebrations’

The Guardian reported today (Jan 23) that a sense of panic has spread in the central Chinese city of Wuhan as the city of 11 million was put on lockdown in an attempt to quarantine a deadly virus believed to have originated there.

Today, Chinese authorities banned all transport links from the sprawling city, suspending buses, the subway system, ferries and shutting the airport and train stations to outgoing passengers.

Nearby Huanggang also suspended its public bus and railway system by the end of the day.

In Wuhan, it has been reported that supermarket shelves were empty and local markets sold out of produce as residents hoarded supplies and isolated themselves at home. Petrol stations were overwhelmed as drivers stocked up on fuel, exacerbated by rumours that reserves had run out. Local residents said pharmacies had sold out of face masks.

The incubation period for the virus is said to be five days according to experts.

The Welsh Government has been asked for a comment.

Spencer Birns, Chief Commercial Officer at Cardiff Airport, told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “Cardiff Airport is closely following guidance provided by the relevant authorities in relation to screening procedures for Coronavirus. Port Health advice as of 1200 on 23rd January 2020 is to operate business as usual, with no additional screening. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will update our customers as required.

“The safety and security of our team and customers is our number one priority.”

A spokesperson told The Herald that Chinese nationals arriving in Cardiff on international flights are not being asked if they originated in Wuhan despite the crisis.

“We have not been told to do different to normal,” the spokesperson said.

Pictured above: Regular flights: Qatar Airways plane at Cardiff Airport this morning • Peter Sinclair from Milford Haven lives in China and taking precautions

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Last chance to have your say on National Park’s new Local Development Plan

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THE PEMBROKESHIRE Coast National Park Authority is seeking your views, having made amendments to its forthcoming Local Development Plan following the recent Examination Hearing Sessions.

These amendments are called Matters Arising Changes and any comments received will be passed on to the Inspector for consideration.

The relevant documents and representation form are available on the National Park Authority’s website: www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/haveyoursay and in paper format at Oriel y Parc Gallery and Visitor Centre, St Davids and the Authority’s main office in Pembroke Dock.

Copies of the documents are also available for inspection free of charge on publicly accessible computers at local libraries during their normal opening hours.

Representations should be sent by 4.30pm on Friday 13 March 2020, either by email to devplans@pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk or in writing to:

Park Direction
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority
Llanion Park
Pembroke Dock
SA72 6DY.

For further information or assistance, email devplans@pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk or call 01646 624800 and ask to speak to someone in the Park Direction Team dealing with the Plan.

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Education

No opt-out for learning about religion, relationships and sexuality

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PARENTS will not be able to prevent their children from learning about religion, relationships and sexuality in the new curriculum.

Education Minister Kirsty Williams made the announcement this week, emphasising the need for ‘careful and sensitive implementation’ of the decision.

Education Minister Kirsty Williams told The Herald: “Our responsibility as a government is to ensure that young people, through public education, have access to learning that supports them to discuss and understand their rights and the rights of others.

“It is essential that all young people are provided with access to information that keeps them safe from harm.

“Today’s decision ensures that all pupils will learn about issues such as online safety and healthy relationships.

The announcement was made following an eight-week Welsh Government consultation on ensuring access to the full curriculum, including the teaching of Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) and Religious Education (RE).

Kirsty Williams added: “I recognise this is a sensitive matter and the consultation responses reflected a wide range of views.

“There is clearly a need for us to work with communities and all interested parties in developing the learning and teaching for RSE and RE – this work will be vital to enable everyone to have trust in how the change is implemented.”

The Minister outlined plans for implementation which include the creation of clear guidance, resources and professional learning for schools and the creation of a Faith/BAME Community Involvement Group to hold its first meeting this February.

The group will engage in the development of RSE guidance, develop a shared understanding of the new curriculum and address the concerns raised by faith and community groups during the consultation.

The Minister continued: “It is vital that we continue to work with communities across Wales to ensure parents have the right to develop, care for and guide their children into adulthood while allowing our schools to provide a broad and balanced education.  

We will build on the community engagement which accompanied the consultation with a long term investment in listening to our communities and finding ways to address the issues which concern them.

The Minister also confirmed plans to establish a new RSE Working Group that will oversee the refinement of the new RSE statutory guidance to form part of the new curriculum guidance.

The Minister added: “I want to take the opportunity in 2021 to test the approach for RSE prior to it being made statutory in the new curriculum.  

This will provide valuable intelligence to inform the refinement of our approach and will also enable learners, parents and carers and communities to see it working in practice and to feedback their views.”

Further details on this approach will be announced over the coming weeks.  The consultation also showed support for renaming the subject ‘Religious Education’.

The most popular choice from respondents was ‘Religion, Values and Ethics’ and, as a result, the Minister confirmed the subject name would change when the new curriculum comes into effect. The Terrence Higgins Trust said that the news was something they very much welcomed, and said that they have been campaigning for this for a number of years. The Trust said that Wales has very much lead the way on this one as the UK Government has resisted calls to remove the parental opt-out for lessons when RSE lessons become compulsory in England from September. Debbie Laycock, Head of Policy at the trust said: “By guaranteeing access to Relationships & Sexuality Education lessons for all pupils, Wales is leading the way. We’ve campaigned for compulsory RSE lessons for nearly four decades and until now far too many young people have learned about sex through whispers in the playground. 
“This decision by the Welsh Government will go some way to fixing this. It’s absolutely vital lessons are LGBT+ inclusive and have a strong focus on HIV and sexual health so all young people have the knowledge they need to form healthy and fulfilling relationships. We are now looking to the Welsh Government to continue leading the way by providing all schools with the resources and training they need to deliver these new lessons to the highest standard across the board.” 

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