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

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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.”

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Union wants council investigation into Councillor Paul Dowson’s conduct

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PEMBROKESHIRE County Councillor Paul Dowson’s public statements criticising the Black Lives Matter movement should be formally investigated by the council, according to UNISON.

The trade union said Mr Dowson’s use of a phrase adopted by the racist Klu Klux Klan was deeply offensive when people around the world were united in protest at police brutality and the murder of George Floyd.

UNISON questioned whether the councillor is fit to hold public office.

Mr Dowson used his Facebook page to attack Labour councillor Josh Beynon’s suggestion Pembrokeshire County Hall could be lit up in support of Black Lives Matter’s commemoration of Mr Floyd’s death.

Cllr Dowson posted that “White lives matter” a White supremacist phrase which originated in 2015 as a racist response to protests against police brutality against Black-Americans in the USA. Councillor Beynon received an online torrent of racist and homophobic abuse.

Manuela Hughes, UNISON Pembrokeshire branch chair said: “The Black Lives Matter movement has shown everyone that racism is rife in society. Black people are more likely to have been subjected to police brutality, more likely to live in poverty and more likely to be unemployed as a result of systemic racism. Their contribution is often written out of the history of this country.

Black workers have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19 and in the NHS, care and transport sectors, Black people have paid with their lives for caring for the whole community.

“This is the climate in which Councillor Dowson made his comments. He has brought Pembrokeshire County Council into disrepute. It is important that everyone stands together against racism and the council must formally investigate his behaviour.”

Mr Dowson was criticised for his Facebook comments in April last year that former Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, should commit suicide.

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Advice for businesses re-opening

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AS LOCKDOWN restrictions are expected to ease, businesses and building owners are reminded to check the maintenance of their premises as they re-open.

People who manage or own buildings are being asked to follow the latest advice from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and the Health and Safety Executive (CIEH).

Particular attention should be paid to water systems not used during the lockdown to help minimise the risk from Legionella bacteria as they prepare to reopen following the lockdown period.

Legionnaires’ disease can be contracted by breathing in small droplets of water suspended in the air which contain Legionella bacteria. Symptoms include fever, a non-productive cough and pneumonia.

Prevention work includes flushing through cold water systems with fresh mains water as well as increasing the temperature of hot water systems to above 60°C if possible to achieve thermal disinfection of the hot water system.

This should be undertaken as part of a thorough risk assessment and may require other works to be done.

More information is also available from the Health and Safety Executive website.

The Food Standards Agency also has guidance for food businesses re-opening their operations. It includes information relating to food safety issues as well as COVID-19 expectations. The link is: https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/reopening-checklist-for-food-businesses-during-covid-19

To confirm your business has taken the necessary measures and is operating in line with the Government guidelines click on:

https://goodtogo.visitbritain.com/your-business-good-to-go-wales

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Man charged with two robberies a day apart

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A MAN has been charged with two attempt robberies in Pembroke Dock a day apart.

Jamie Rawlinson, of Colley Court in Monkton, is alleged to have committed the second offence just three hours after being released from police custody.

Dyfed-Powys Police arrested the 28-year-old on June 26 on suspicion of attempted robbery after receiving a report he had demanded a man give him money. It was reported that he held a sharp object against his chest. Searches were carried out, but no weapon was found.

Rawlinson was bailed with conditions for the offence, but less than three hours later, police were approached by a vulnerable man who said he had tried to rob him.

He was arrested and charged with two counts of attempted robbery. He has been remanded to appear at Swansea Crown Court on July 31.

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