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Crisis? What crisis?

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nhssaveTHE HERALD can reveal that in recent days, expectant mums expecting to deliver their babies at West Wales General Hospital, Glangwili, were turned away and sent to Withybush Hospital instead. A shortage of maternity beds meant that patients could not be admitted at the Carmarthen Hospital. 

• As SCBU cut looms, Glangwili can’t cope

• Transport plans questioned

In addition, the Herald understands that four C-sections, two elective and two emergency, were recently performed at Withybush within one twentyfour hour period. In the case of the emergency C-sections, Welsh Health Minister Mark Drakeford’s purported “safety net” would have been of no use at all in keeping mums and babies safe. The Herald has been told that such was the shortage of SCBU spaces in the Local Health Board area that a baby from Carmarthen requiring special care had to be transported to North Wales to receive appropriate treatment, while another mum had to be transported to Bridgend to have her baby delivered. We spoke to Peter Milewski, retired consultant surgeon and health campaigner: “As a result of the service cuts, I dread to think what is going to happen if the Withybush SCBU is closed in August. The Board will probably find that it’s full and there’s nowhere for the babies to go, so it won’t be able to close it (or relocate the staff that run it). “For many years, significant numbers of Grade 1 or 2 Caesarean sections have taken place each week at Withybush. Grade 1 or 2 means 15 minute urgency so obviously wouldn’t reach Carmarthen. Some of them occur out of the blue in low-risk multiparous women of exactly the type who would be considered (by the health board, not by me!) suitable for an isolated midwifery unit. “These are the women who will lose their babies, and, occasionally, their lives. “On top of that, there are the women who develop their complication at home and will be supposed to be taken to Carmarthen. That can never be eradicated. It’s clear that some will not make it, whereas they would have to Withybush. “It is common for babies to be shifted in various directions between SCBUs. For example Swansea may be full and transfer their babies to Withybush (I’ve seen that happen myself, and it’s not an isolated incident). Again, what’s going to happen to them?” Another confidential source working in the Health Board has confirmed that in 2012 there were 60 Grade 1 (immediate) or Grade 2 (within half an hour) emergency Caesarean sections. That’s at least one expectant mum and baby each week who would not make it to Carmarthen. There were 120 less urgent C-sections. Even some of those may not have made it to Carmarthen. While under the new arrangements, some of those 60 will have been recognized as high risk and sent to Carmarthen, ostensibly low risk and unpredictable patients would not have been sent there. There is no indication that that 2012 was different from any other year. We asked Peter Milewski about the figures and he told us: “It certainly accords with my impression when I was working. When I was in theatre it was not uncommon for me to have to postpone a case to make way for an emergency Caesarean Section.” Patient transport, a major issue which is yet to be resolved has also been thrown into sharp relief with the revelation that expectant mums cannot be transported by Air Ambulance in an emergency. David Williams, from Pembrokeshire Health Concern said: “It has always been the case that women in labour or likely to go into labour cannot be transported by air ambulance for lack of room, equipment and expertise. “Patients are loaded feet towards the tail of helicopter so no room to work at business end and currently helicopter staff are not allowed to go below waist. The Health Board – apparently – did not know this. When challenged it said the Board would get bigger helicopter. However, due to the new A & E, dialysis unit and car park changes nothing bigger than current helicopter can land at Withybush, anyway. To use a larger helicopter, the Board would either have to build bigger helipad or land at Withybush airport and have patients transferred to that location by road ambulance, assuming one is available. “When it comes to emergency consultant cover, the Welsh Government has said that it is not how far away a consultant can live from the relevant site but the time taken to be able to return for emergency work purposes. It is for local employers to consider service needs and establish local limits. “The Deanery requirement for full A & E cover, which is required to meet the out-of-hours paediatric plan, is that the consultants are to be within 20 minutes of hospital 24/7. Therefore transferring to Glangwili, which is minimum of 45 minutes away, means A & E cover will be lacking. “The Health Board may try to say all consultants will have to live around Whitland (!), but as the Board claims to have a recruitment problem (disputed and shown to be contrived). So, telling consultants where to live will not making recruitment easier. “How many are you going to need to keep on call 24/7, as those on duty at Glangwili will be more than twenty minutes away from of Withybush and those off duty surely cannot be on call 24/7 – and that’s without factoring in staff sickness, absence, or holiday cover. A Health Board spokesperson told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “I can confirm that nobody was transferred to another Health Board due to capacity issues. “We would like to reassure the public when our obstetric services is on one site there will be no reduction in beds. Locating our obstetric services on one site is only part of the service modernisation of our maternity services. “In addition to the obstetric service there will be a midwifery led unit on both the Glangwili Hospital and Withybush Hospital sites.”

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Health

Tavernspite School the ‘healthiest of schools despite the pandemic’

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THE STAFF, governors, parents, and of course, the children of Tavernspite Community Primary School are delighted to gain the Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes National Quality Award for an incredible 5th time after a recent and very rigorous assessment.

The school is already well known and highly regarded for its outstanding work in developing the health and wellbeing of all members of its school community. To achieve this prestigious recognition in the midst of a pandemic is all the more impressive. 

Health and Wellbeing at the school is led by teacher, Lauren Arthur, who has done an incredible job preparing for this re-assessment and raising the profile of the Healthy Schools scheme.

The assessor Mrs Lynne Perry, enjoyed a virtual tour and presentation by Year 3 pupils who took great pleasure in proudly showing Mrs Perry all the wonderful work the school has done to ensure its children are safe, happy with high levels of emotional and physical wellbeing.

In her report, Mrs Perry wrote, ‘Tavernspite School continues to be an outstanding health promoting school. The health promoting school ethos is evident across the whole school population and it runs seamlessly throughout everything that the school does. Tavernspite School continues to give high priority to promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of the whole school community.’

The school received fantastic support from Mrs Liz Western, Senior Public Health Officer and Lead for Healthy Schools and Pre-schools, Pembrokeshire, to whom they are very grateful.

Head teacher Kevin Phelps said, ‘We were delighted to receive this award for the fifth time, particularly considering the experiences we have all been through these past twelve months. Health and wellbeing has never been so important and we are proud to be leading the way like this.’

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Joinery learner through to Screwfix Trade Apprentice of the Year Finals

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PEMBROKESHIRE COLLEGE joinery learner, Conor Ratcliff has made it through to the final ten in this year’s Screwfix Trade Apprentice of the Year competition.

Now in its seventh year, the competition celebrates the next generation of tradespeople as they start out on their career. With over 2,500 nominations, Conor was shortlisted to the top 30 where he had to deliver a video presentation to industry-leading judges and trade body representatives. Judged on professionalism, creativity, innovation, enthusiasm and knowledge of their trade, Conor impressed the judges and is now in the final 10.  

Simon Jackson, Screwfix Customer and Digital director, commented: “Every year we are amazed by the outstanding quality of entrants and, this year, we are on the lookout for apprentices who go above and beyond to succeed within their chosen trade.

“We’ve seen how this career-boosting accolade and £10,000 prize bundle helps kickstart an apprentice’s career. I’d like to wish everyone through to this stage the best of luck!”

The prize package includes everything a future tradesperson may need to start up their own business including £5,000 of tools, a £3,000 training budget and £2,000 worth of technology. The college where they study will also receive £2,000.

Conor is thrilled to have made it through to the finals and commented: “I am extremely honoured to have made it is this far in the competition and I am very excited for the final event. It would be an amazing opportunity for me, if I won this competition.

“I hope it encourages more people to consider an apprenticeship in a trade, the Carpentry and Joinery department have been incredibly supportive during my studies.”

The Final is due to take place imminently where the judges will conduct an online interview with the ten finalists before selecting and announcing their overall winner.

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Warrant without bail issued for Milford Haven man who failed to attend court

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A WARRANT without bail has been issued for a Milford Haven man who failed to appear in court yesterday.

Gareth James Mann, 45, of Bunkers Hill was stopped in his VW Golf on October 31, 2020 in Milford Haven.

Mann is accused of driving without a licence, insurance, under the influence of cocaine and whilst in possession of an ounce of cannabis.

Police are now instructed to find Mann, arrest him and bring him before the courts.

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