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“Call us and we’ll meet you there”, expectant mums will be told

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HYWEL DDA UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD is planning to make the Midwifery Led Unit at Withybush Hospital a retained service at night, meaning expectant mums will need to call their community mid wife and arrange to meet at the hospital.

The changes are expect to take place in November.

The move comes following a fall in the number of births in Pembrokeshire since consultant led services were moved from Withybush.

Last year, a total of 3,165 babies were delivered across the health board, with 142 of those being delivered at Withybush MLU.

This was a reduction from the 189 babies delivered at the unit in 2016, and the 160 babies delivered there in 2017.

The Health Board had originally denied that the unit, which opened in 2014, would become a day service with senior management saying that they expected no reduction in service for a unit which was expected to deliver 300 babies a year.

But the plans are no need for concern say the hospital. Keith Jones, Assistant Director of Acute Services said that he did not feel that the plans were a reduction of service for expectant mums in Pembrokeshire, confirming that Midwife Led Unit at Withybush Hospital will continue to be available to women 24 hours a day.

He told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “Our proposals will allow us to deploy our midwives and support staff as effectively as possible, as the midwives currently based in the MLU will be expanded into an integrated community midwifery team.

“This will lead to improved continuity of care for women and their families throughout pregnancy, labour and the postnatal period and ensure that midwives’ time is fully utilised and matched with women’s needs.”

“Any women booked for Midwifery Led Care are continually risk assessed during their pregnancy and follow the All Wales Midwifery Led Care Guidelines and Pathways.

“The proposed model of care is well established throughout the UK both in rural and urban areas.

“Individual pathways of care are discussed with women during their pregnancy and issues such as geographical location, drive times and communications access are all considered.”

Speaking in March when rumours of the changes first started circulating, Local Assembly Member Paul Davies has responded furiously to reports that yet again Withybush Hospital will see services reduced.
He said: “If this is true then this is just another example of services at Withybush Hospital being downgraded.

“It will be yet another blow to the people of Pembrokeshire who have consistently opposed services being eroded at Withybush Hospital.

“If this takes place then it will put children’s and mothers’ lives at risk which is scandalous. The Hywel Dda University Health Board need to think again about any suggestion that services will be reduced at Withybush Hospital.

“In addition, the Welsh Government, who are ultimately responsible for health services in Wales, need to start standing up for the people of Pembrokeshire because they cannot continue to sit idly by as services continue to disappear from our hospital.”

Also, back in March, Keith Jones at the Health Board said: “Withybush Hospital Midwife Led Unit is open 24/7 and we have absolutely no plans to reduce the opening hours of this important service to the local population.

“We have been discussing the options to improve the efficiency of our staffing model by achieving a greater integration of our community-based midwives and staff based in the Midwife Led Unit.

“This will not reduce patient access to the Midwife Led Unit, which will remain open to women in Pembrokeshire 24/7.”

Stephen Crabb MP said: “Local people will be deeply dismayed by this latest development. Every appeal that has been made to Ministers at the Assembly to protect services in Pembrokeshire have come to nothing. Welsh Government in Cardiff has basically washed its hands of this issue and are sitting back while the Health Board does its dirty work of cutting local services.”

Speaking on Tuesday, Paul Davies Assembly Member for Preseli Pembrokeshire said – “Yet again the Hywel Dda University Health Board are planning to reduce services at Withybush Hospital. To suggest that changing from a 24/7 staffed unit to an on-call system overnight will give a better service is quite frankly beyond belief.

“Do the Health Board think the people of Pembrokeshire are stupid?

“An expectant mother does not want the worry of having to ring a midwife who then has to travel to Withybush Hospital if her baby is being born at night.

“40,000 people signed a petition against previous unwanted changes being proposed by the Health Board. They totally ignored this and are ploughing on with their plans to reduce Withybush Hospital to a Community Hospital against the will of the people of Pembrokeshire.”

The health board’s current proposals are simply the latest in a long string of attempts to continuously remove services at Withybush Hospital in recent years, and, to be perfectly frank, the local people are sick and tired of having to fight to maintain essential services at their local hospital.”

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Youth centre conquers coast path challenge to get the Point Across

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YOUNG people from the Fishguard area recently stepped up to the mark to take on a walking challenge set by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority Ranger, Richard Vaughan.

Members of the POINT Youth Centre had been tasked with completing a 22-mile sponsored walk along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path – one mile for each year Richard has worked for the Park Authority.

Richard said: “I was so pleased to see 17 young people take part in the Get the POINT Across challenge, some of them giving up three days of their summer holidays to boot.

“The POINT team certainly went the extra mile and more, walking from Poppit Sands back to the youth centre in Fishguard, which is a total of 27 miles.

“I’ve worked with POINT for around 15 years and have seen how the centre encourages young people to play a positive role in their community. It was great to help them raise some money to continue this work, while they also discovered parts of the National Park for the first time.”

POINT was set up to provide young people aged 11-25 gain the self-esteem, skills and self-confidence to cope with the personal problems during the transition from childhood to adulthood.

The drop-in centre provides a safe and welcoming place six days a week with a range of activities, community projects, workshops and trips. Many have a particular emphasis on the environment such as the John Muir Award and beach cleans.

All the proceeds raised during the walk will go to POINT and Get the Boys a Lift, a not for profit based community interest company (CIC) working to better improve mental health within the community.

To view a video of the Get the POINT Across challenge on the POINT Youth Centre’s YouTube channel.

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New mosaic for Pembrokeshire School

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PUPILS attending Haverfordwest High School after the summer holidays were welcomed back by two new mosaics at the main entrance.

The artwork was the result of a series of free summer workshops for families of pupils from the ten feeder schools aimed at aiding the transition from primary to secondary school.

The workshops were run by Springboard – a Learning Pembrokeshire project for families – and Haverfordwest High School and led by local artist Paul Webb.

Participating families were tasked with creating two large scale mosaics to welcome students at the main entrance.

The finished mosaics incorporate the emblems of all 10 feeder primary schools along with the new Haverfordwest High logo thus ensuring that new pupils feel the connection between past and present on the learning journey at their new school.

Amy Delaney, Springboard Advisor on the project, described it as a fun and rewarding way to enable families to support their children through transition to secondary school.

“Working with other families to produce this amazing piece of artwork has helped both adults and children to feel engaged with the school and more confident about the transition to secondary school.”

Heather Cale, the headteacher of St Marks,Church in Wales VA Primary School in Merlins Bridge, said: “The head teachers of the feeder primary schools have been delighted with the transition project. It has given pupils and families the opportunity to work together, make new friends and to get to know their new school.

“As head teachers we have committed to working more closely together across our cluster, for all learners from 3 to 19 years. This is a wonderful  beginning, and we thank all those involved for their commitment and participation.”

Lauren Davies, Head of Year 7 at Haverfordwest High said the school was thrilled with the success of the project and the positive impact it has had on so many families.

She continued: “We are committed to providing a smooth transition between primary and secondary school for all pupils in the Haverfordwest cluster, and we are continually reviewing and developing transition opportunities in line with the new curriculum.

“Springboard were able to support us with offering something creative and ambitious for last year’s transition. We are already planning another project for the current Year 6 pupils and their families from our partner primary schools.”

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UK’s top skaters and riders drop in on Llanelli youngsters to celebrate a special birthday

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THE WORLD’S and the UK’s finest skateboarders, BMX and Wheelchair Motocross stars will drop in on young people at a Carmarthenshire Ramps skatepark on Saturday 19 October 2019 from 11 am till 2 pm. The event was arranged to celebrate the £3 billion National Lottery players have raised for projects which have specifically helped children and young people develop and thrive in the UK over the last 25 years. £2 million of National Lottery funding has specifically been awarded to support and develop over 47 BMX projects in local communities for young people in Wales to enjoy.     

Wales and Pembrokeshire’s own wheelchair sports superstar, Lily Rice; the Olympic BMX freestyler from Swansea, James Jones; Britain’s leading street skateboarder and 2020 Olympic hopeful, Alex Decunha; and YouTube influencer, Jake O’Neill (aka Jake100), visite hundreds of youngsters at Ramps indoor and outdoor skatepark in Llanelli as part of the National Lottery’s celebrations.
More than £340,000 was awarded by the National Lottery in 2013 to develop and build Ramps Skatepark which now provides activities for over 15,000 young people a year.

At 15 years old, Lily Rice from Manorbier, Pembrokeshire, is a World Champion wheelchair motocross (WCMX) star. She was propelled to fame two years ago when she became the first female in Europe to achieve a wheelchair backflip, and only the second girl in the world to pull off the stunt. Since then, Lily has emerged as one of the global leaders of WCMX – wheelchair motocross.
She says: “By contributing towards building amazing facilities such as this indoor and outdoor skate park, National Lottery funding is helping thousands of young people of all abilities to reach their goals and discover new opportunities. I have trained and practised at numerous National Lottery funded skate parks and there is no doubt that the funding has helped wheeled sports, enthusiasts, to become healthier and more active.”

The National Lottery has inspired millions of people to get active in their local community, as well as supporting individuals and teams from grassroots to elite.

James Jones is a 25-year-old professional BMX rider from Swansea. James, who also celebrated his 25th Birthday this year,  is one of six world-class athletes who make up the Freestyle BMX Team GB for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. James honed his skills and practised his tricks at the Ramps skate park in Llanelli when he was growing up and highlights the importance of young people having access to facilities like this on their doorstep.
James Jones said: “I practised a lot here growing up and this facility has played a big part in my development as a professional rider and a person. I probably wouldn’t be where I am now without the support I got here. It’s not just about learning to ride or skate, there’s a real family vibe here, a great social aspect and it’s well supported by the community. The National Lottery must fund parks such as this one so that young people can have a safe space to pursue their hobbies and meet friends.”
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