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Protestors: ‘Health meeting is a load of bull’

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portestWITHYBUSH Hospital’s Conference Centre was the scene of protests on Thursday as the Local Health Board held its first executive board meeting in the county since confirming its intention to proceed with the imminent transfer of vital services from Haverfordwest to Carmarthen. Ahead of the meeting, the Herald spoke to some of those gathered outside: Heather Scammell from Haverfordwest told us: “It’s vitally important that we retain core services at Withybush. Carmarthen is just too far to get to in an emergency and I know from my own experience how vitally important it is to get there quickly when push comes to shove. “When he was 13, my son collapsed into a diabetic coma. He was rushed to A&E at Withybush and I was told he wouldn’t have made it in time to get to Carmarthen. He was in a paediatric ward for a week, in a high dependency unit and then on to an ordinary ward. He had open access to that ward as a child. “I could get there in five minutes, if there were subsequent problems. It was a safe environment for him to be treated in. If A&E had been reduced to a 12 hour service, my son would be dead. “My husband died in the intensive care unit five years ago; they are talking about reducing critical care. The three weeks he was there I could stay there and get there quickly. It was such an important part of his being ready to die and me coming to terms with what was happening. If he had died on the way to Glangwili I would probably still be in pieces. “We were also able to donate his organs which I regarded as so important, it helped me so much. We and the recipients of the organs would have been denied that. Just because they have decided to apply an urban model into a rural area where we don’t have the infrastructure. We do not trust the Health Board or the Welsh Assembly Government. “I think it’s partly a money saving issue and they have this model – everything is ‘sucked’ to Carmarthen. The roads deteriorate as you cross the border (into Pembrokeshire). Carmarthen voted them (the Assembly) in – we didn’t. “A hospital contributes so much to the economy. People, staff, will have to move away. The knock on effect will be massive. Already I know of one couple who have chosen not to retire down here because they don’t trust the Health Board to provide the health care they need. My mother was ill recently and I felt I couldn’t bring her down here. I no longer have the confidence it would have been safe to bring her down from Stafford.” Moira Lewis of Goodwick was even more trenchant in her criticism: “This is the slippery slope of downgrading Withybush Hospital”. Discussing whether the Board would address protestors’ concerns she said: “I walked out in disgust as I could see it was a whitewash and they were only here to put over only what they were going to do. They hadn’t taken any notice of the letters they had received, or the demonstrations. “I walked out when they started saying they were going to give evidence of a patient experience in Withybush, that had nothing to do with the cuts, it was about a woman with diabetes, how she arrived in hospital etc etc. “I said this has got nothing to do with what is going on in Withybush, this is a load of bull, it’s disgraceful – you haven’t listened to anybody and taken no notice of demonstrations. They (the Health Board) are determined to put through whatever changes they have suggested no matter what, to the detriment of people in the county and people will suffer as a result and there could be deaths. “It’s like we are becoming a third world country here. I don’t know what we can do – the Court of Human Rights maybe – we must discuss that with the SWAT committee.” The Pembrokeshire Herald can reveal that a key element of the muchvaunted “safety net” announced by Welsh Health Minister Mark Drakeford is still not finalised. The Special Care Baby Unit is due to close on August 4. An advertisement to crew the 24/7 single ambulance that will replace emergency maternity admissions in Withybush has a closing date 24 hours afterwards. That advertisement indicates that the Board is seeking 12 paramedic staff to replace inpatient consultant-led services for emergency mother and baby admissions, offering salaries of between £21,424 and £27,901 for a twelve month secondment. The fact that the secondment is only of one year’s duration adds fuel to concerns that the Board, which has not yet even begun to build the midwifeled unit scheduled for Withybush, and might seek to renege on its pledge to retain maternity services at the hospital. The Herald has been told by hospital staff that they have been told that if there are problems in delivering a midwife-led service at Haverfordwest, the Maternity Unit will close. The Herald also understands from hospital staff members that the Board has told them that they must transfer to Glangwili without compensation when their duties are redeployed or they will be deemed to have “voluntarily” left the Board’s employment. In a separate story the Herald asked the Health Board to comment on the rumoured withdrawal of the Out of Hours Doctors Service at South Pembs. The Board responded to our request and a spokesperson told us: “The rumour is not true. The service at South Pembrokeshire Hospital has not been withdrawn. We do regularly have an Out of Hours GP based there on a Saturday and Sunday mornings. Recently, due to ongoing shortages of GPs, there have been occasions when this has been unable to happen. On these occasions, the out of hours service is still available at Withybush Hospital.”

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Pembroke: Leave teenage girls alone, sex offender told

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A SEX OFFENDER from Ashdale Lane, Pembroke has been jailed for repeatedly ignoring court orders which were put in place to protect young girls.
Gareth Thomas James Flynn, aged 41, frightened a 14-year-old girl who refused to get off a bus in case he managed to find out where she lived.
41-year-old Gareth Thomas James Flynn scared a 14-year-old girl because she refused to get of a bus, frightened he would learn her address.
He admitted breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and was jailed today for a year.
Sitting at Swansea Crown Court, Judge Geraint Walters berated the defendant.  His Honour said that Flynn had shown a complete disregard for the original SHPO.
The judge said: “Leave teenage girls alone. They are scared of you”
He told Flynn he would be on licence for 12 months after his release from prison, and he reminded him that the SHPO remained in place.

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Narberth: ‘My mum’s camper was stolen and found burned out down the road’

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A CAMPER VAN stolen on Thursday night in Narberth was found burned a short distance from where it was parked, the owner’s son has said.

Zachary Bunce posted an appeal on Facebook on Friday morning saying: “Can every single one of my friends please share this my mother’s Ford transit campervan was stolen last night in the Narberth area can people please be on the lookout for this van as my mother is completely heartbroken.”

But three hours later he updated the post to say: “Thank you everyone who shared, sadly my mums van was driven 1.3 miles down the road and driven into a ditch and burnt it out.

Mr Bunce has said on that the incident has been captured on CCTV, and took place at 2.10am in the morning (Jan 24).
Anyone with any information should contact the police on 101.

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Hook: Police and school confirm death of boy, 13

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POLICE are investigating the sudden death of a 13-year-old boy from Hook on Wednesday (Jan 22)

A police spokesman told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “Dyfed-Powys Police is investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a 13-year-old boy, from the Hook area of Pembrokeshire.

“The death is not being treated as suspicious at this time. Next of kin have been advised and are being supported.”

A letter was sent out to parents and carers by Haverfordwest High VC School headteacher Jane Harries following the death. The letter reads: “It is with great sadness that I have to inform you about the sudden death of a year nine pupil at our school.

“The children in Year nine were told this morning by myself and other pupils were told by their teachers during their lesson this afternoon. The full detail surrounding the death are not known at this stage – but children have been reassured that this is something that does not happen very often. Your child may or may not want to talk bout it, but it is likely that he/she will need your special care, attention and reassurance at this difficult time.

“We are deeply affected by the death, but we are trying, for the children’s sake, to keep the school as normal as possible over the coming days, whilst allowing the children opportunities to talk about the pupil if they wish to. Trained support staff and counsellors are helping to support us through this difficult time. If you feel that your child needs extra support, please let us know.

“Our thoughts are with the pupil’s family at this difficult time, and the whole school community sends them our sincerest sympathy and support. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s achievement leader, or Miss Thomas, pastoral support manager. Paul Lucas, chairman of the governing body at Haverfordwest High VC School, said: “The governors are shocked at the tragic loss of this young student. The family are in our thoughts at this very sad time.”

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