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Ambulances backed up at Withybush, as A&E department swamped



A 69-YEAR-OLD from Milford Haven who suffers from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) described by her daughter as being ‘unresponsive’ waited over two hours for an ambulance – despite it being urgently ordered by her GP on Tuesday (Nov 19)

Once finally at the hospital, the daughter said, the full scale of the crisis gripping Withybush’s A&E department became apparent – with her mum waiting five hours in an ambulance.

The daughter who does not want to be identified said: “According to a paramedic in the A&E car park, the hospital was so busy that every available ambulance in the Pembrokeshire area was waiting to unload patients, and the ambulance service was only able to respond to Code Red calls.
“One person, the paramedic said, had already passed away that day because he could not get help in time. The paramedic told me that he dreaded the start of each shift, thinking that it was going to be yet another 12 hours of hell.”
“We were well over five hours waiting to get into the hospital – at one point my mum was taken from the ambulance for a chest x-ray only to be returned back to the ambulance after coming back from radiology.
“Once we got into A&E it was utter chaos, people everywhere. I saw seven people or more being treated in communal areas – I saw patients being seen in the hallways to have IV cannulars taken out after bloods.

The woman’s partner confirmed her story, adding that he thought what was going on at the hospital was “unbelievable”.

But after the two hour wait for help, and the five hours in in the back of an ambulance, the worst was not over.

Nurses at that A&E got the patient mixed up with someone else.

Our source said: “My mum is on warfarin, so I found it strange that she had been put on a drip. I asked what was going on, and said my mum’s name and that’s when two nurses look at each other and realised that my mum wasn’t who they thought she was. This was just before they were about stick something in her through a drip.

“A bag was already hooked up… she had no arm band – as soon as they knew it was the wrong patient they took the bag off the drip stand.

“It was definitely a near miss.”

The Health Board has been asked for a comment.

Our report comes just months after the Community Health Council said that more must be done to reduce waiting times at Withybush A&E.
Community Health Council members carried out an unannounced visit over the summer.

A report to the Pembrokeshire locality CHC on August 7 showed an increase in the number of 12 hour breaches – with some staying overnight at the unit – at Withybush A&E since October 2017, with it topping 450 cases in February this year.

Speaking a few months back, Hospital manager Janice Cole-Williams added that there had been increases in the stays in hospital which impacted in the wait for beds from A&E and staff were looking for solutions.

Deputy chief officer of Pembrokeshire CHC Helen Williams said that the report due on the A&E visit, which is yet to be signed off by the executive members, would recommend opening the discharge lounge at the weekend and keeping ambulatory care open seven days a week.

Ms Williams said it would depend on funds and there may be resistance to working weekends but in the “21st Century things don’t shut at 7pm on a Friday night.
“My opinion, not the CHC’s, but I think it should be operational full on 24/7.”

Another recommendation was to improve communication with patients about the length of wait expected and why there may be delays.

“If you keep patients informed, they recognise that the people behind the scenes are busy, it’s the not knowing when they will be seen.”

Local Assembly Member Paul Davies has expressed his disappointment to The Herald that Hywel Dda University Health Board has failed to meet the Welsh Government’s A and E targets.

In October, he said, 81.1% of patients were admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours in urgent care departments. The target to be seen within four hours is 95 percent.

Mr Davies said, “It’s extremely disappointing to see that a significant number of patients living within the Hywel Dda health board region are not being seen within a four hour window. Despite the efforts of our outstanding NHS staff, the management of the health board is presiding over a shortfall in the number of patients being seen within four hours. We must remember that those attending an accident and emergency department are there to receive care as soon as possible and any delays could have severe repercussions on that patient’s health. Therefore, efforts must be redoubled by the health board and the Welsh Government to turn these figures around as soon as possible.”


Simon’s Hart to Hart with Pembroke constituent



SIMON HART has got into a heated doorstep discussion with a Pembroke pensioner whilst canvasing for next week’s general election.

Michael Hart, 70, who is no relation to Simon Hart, contacted The Herald at lunchtime today (5 December) to say that he had been in a heated discussion with the Tory incumbent, who was out door-knocking on his street.

The argument was sparked by the swastika saga – as exclusively reported in last week’s Herald – in which Simon Hart REFUSES to account for the appearance of offensive Nazi graffiti on one of his election placards, two years after it was taken down from public display.

Simon Hart photographed the placard in question in 2017 – at which point the only evidence of graffiti it bore was written text. But he posted a new photograph of the same placard to kickstart his re-election campaign last month, in which two swastikas are visible where none appeared before.

The MP is still refusing to give any public explanation, and has threatened legal action against those speculating over what he says is “demonstrably untrue.”
Since being reported by his favourite local weekly, Michael Hart tells us that he noticed how Simon Hart was still keeping quiet on the swastikas’ appearance – despite being approached by journalists reporting on the matter for the Independent, Daily Mirror, iNews and Western Mail titles.

Earlier this week WalesOnline reported that, when approached, Simon Hart failed to offer “an explanation as to how the swastika signs ended up on the election board, or who might be responsible”, but he told them: “Any suggestion that I had anything to do with this is malicious, false and defamatory and lawyers have been instructed”.

Michael Hart tells the Herald that he became aware Simon Hart was out campaigning on Kingsbridge Drive at lunchtime, when the candidate’s poster landed on his doormat.

The retiree says that the swastika issue led to the disagreement – in which words were exchanged and threats of legal action were inferred made towards him by the government minister.

Michael Hart, a retired teacher and mechanical engineer, said that he tackled Simon Hart to explain how the swastikas came about. He says his prodding produced what he calls a “tentative explanation” from the Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire incumbent, which he finds “hard to believe”.

“I opened my door and went out to the drive, and politely said I did not want the poster. A few moments later, Simon Hart came up the road and onto my drive.

“I complained to him about two things – the Conservatives’ illegal proroguing of Parliament, and all that I’ve read about his publishing of the photo on his Facebook page of his defaced election board with the swastikas on.

“When I asked him about the signs, he got agitated, angry, and threatened me with legal action, and said he would pursue anybody who made out that he had anything to do with it”.

“On pushing him further, he told me how he thinks they got there. He says when his signs were in storage in a shed, that the shed was broken into, and a large number of placards including the swastika placard were ‘damaged or defaced’ for a second time!

“It really is quite some theory – and if it is true now, then it was true last week when the issue was first exposed. So why didn’t he mention this before now, when the Herald and other papers started asking him questions, or why didn’t he contact the police?

“Why was it when he put the poster on Facebook did he not then explain how the swastikas got there?

“I’m not sure why but he was recording our conversation on his phone. At the end of the visit no one from Mr Hart’s party would accept the poster back – so I threw it in the road and then it was picked up.”

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Jeremy Corbyn 100% confirmed to visit Pembrokeshire this weekend



LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn will be visiting Pembrokeshire this weekend to shore up support for Labour candidates in the area.

Although the exact itinerary has not yet been confirmed, Labour HQ in Cardiff has confirmed to The Pembrokeshire Herald that Mr Corbyn will definitely be in attendance.

Mr Corbyn will be keen to rally votes for Philippa Thompson, who is standing in the Preseli Pembrokeshire seat – the second most marginal in the UK.

At the 2017 election she lost to Stephen Crabb by just 314 votes.

An email sent out to Labour members states: “Jeremy Corbyn will be in Haverfordwest to talk about how we win a better society, and we hope you can join him.

“This election is a once in a generation chance for us. Together we can reverse a decade of austerity. Take power from the billionaires, the bad bosses and the big polluters and give it to workers, young people, communities and everyone the Tories have failed for so long.

“We’re coming together to make our voices heard in Haverfordwest this weekend. This is about getting together, being inspired, and making a difference in the final week.”

The exact location will be sent out to those who register to attend, the email ads. The indoor rally is expected to start at 5.30pm.

Corbyn’s supporters said they hope that their leader will also attend an outdoor rally taking place in Haverfordwest town centre, at a location to be confirmed, the same afternoon.


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Haverfordwest boy caught taking drugs by officers thirty miles away



A TEENAGE boy was arrested in Haverfordwest last week, after he was caught smoking cannabis on CCTV cameras which are monitored in Carmarthen (on Nov 28).

As part of the ongoing effort to crack down on anti-social behaviour in the town centre, known as Operation Spitfire, Haverfordwest Inspector, Reuben Palin, was at police headquarters, where the cameras are monitored, when he spotted the boy on-screen.

He saw a group of teenagers known to police, and the camera operator was able to zoom in for a closer look at their activities. After a call to local officers, they quickly arrived at the scene. The group was searched and one of the youths was arrested for possessing the class B drug.

Insp. Palin said: “We’re doing all we can to address community concerns about anti-social behaviour in Haverfordwest, and this includes putting the town’s new CCTV system to best use.

“Seeing the capability of the cameras in live-time has shown that CCTV is not just useful when an incident has occurred, but can also help us monitor what’s happening in town, and will hopefully deter bad behaviour.

“Obviously this can’t replace good old fashioned foot patrols, and we have a plan that sees CCTV complementing a visible police presence.”

The teenage boy arrested on suspicion of possessing the small amount of cannabis admitted the offence, and will be dealt with by the Youth Offending Team to ensure he gets support for his drug use.

He continued: “We are also working with other agencies, in particular the council, which has recently opened a drop-in centre for young people at No 2 Old Bridge, with the aim of offering a wide range of activities and opportunities that reflect their interests.

“While we have a strategy to minimise anti-social behaviour in this area, we would like to remind parents that the actions of their children are not the responsibility of the police. We urge you to be aware of what your children are doing, and where they are spending their time.

“No one should have to put up with anti-social behaviour and I would encourage the community to contact Haverfordwest Police to report any issues or concerns.”

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