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October date for removal of paediatrics from hospital

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withybushdowngradeAS REVEALED by the Pembrokeshire Herald in July, the scheduled transfer of inpatient paediatric services to Glangwili is to take place in October.

In August’s Stakeholder Briefing, the date of October 20 is the date the Board has proposed for the closure of inpatient paediatric services.

The Briefing states: “There is on-going work to agree the protocols, operational policies and workforce models for the new service. The changes are being made to ensure the University Health Board meet national safety standards and in response to workforce challenges in recruitment, maintenance of medical rotas, and clinical training requirements. The majority of children will continue to be assessed and cared for at Withybush Hospital through a new 12-hour paediatric ambulatory care unit, supported by a range of enhanced outpatient services. A 24/7 inpatient service will be provided from a single site at Glangwili Hospital, where there will also be a dedicated and newly refurbished paediatric high dependency unit.

“If a child requires a hospital assessment outside of the 12 hours opening at Withybush they will be referred directly to Glangwili Hospital by their GP and in emergencies, ambulances will take children directly to Glangwili Hospital. In addition to normal ambulance services, the dedicated transfer ambulance vehicle currently in operation for maternity, gynaecology and neonatal patients, will also serve paediatrics. The communications team is currently working on materials to explain the changes and these will be available for staff and the public at the earliest opportunity. There will also be an opportunity for staff to meet with senior managers to discuss the changes and to keep them informed of progress, in addition to feedback ongoing from nominated members of the sub groups.”

It is not clear how, if at all, this addresses the concerns of Dr Martin Simmonds, a Withybush paediatrician whose letter the Herald was the ONLY paper to publish in full. In that letter, Dr Simmonds wrote: “We can staff a 24-hour Paediatric unit at Withybush with recently secured middle grade staffing. No, tell them we demand a 24-hour service here such that we can admit a child overnight and discharge the next morning or administer phototherapy for the jaundiced baby from St Davids who must otherwise travel to Glangwili for admission. Tell them we can develop a specialist Paediatric nurse role in A&E but that it will take time.

“Tell them that unless we stop this process now, this winter will see greater challenges and upset than there needs to be, adversely affecting the health of families and staff both here and at Glangwili.”

The Board persisted with the line that concerns raised by clinicians would be addressed. It seems remarkably convenient that those concerns have been addressed in such a short period since the publication of Dr Simmonds letter, to fit the Board’s own revised timetable.

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Jessica ready to help in access officer role

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Pembrokeshire County Council has a new Access Officer.

Jessica Hatchett took up the role earlier this month and has always
been passionate about disability equality in Pembrokeshire.

Jessica, from Neyland, has cerebral palsy and epilepsy and uses a
wheelchair or a walking frame to get around.

She believes her experiences as a disabled person will give her a
different perspective on the role which aims to build on the Council’s
commitment to making Pembrokeshire an accessible county to all.
A founder member of the Young Voices for Choices youth forum,
Jessica has previously featured on the cover of two access guides, as
well as the cover of a Bus Buddies project leaflet.

And Jessica is hoping to continue the good work of her predecessors,
Trever Owens and Alan Hunt.

Jessica said: “This job is an absolutely fantastic opportunity to help
make Pembrokeshire even better.

“Inclusive, accessible designs don’t just benefit disabled people –
they make life easier for parents with buggies, people with broken
legs or anyone who might not be steady on their feet.

“Simple design changes make a world of difference to someone with
additional needs.”

The Access Officer role involves responding to requests, comments
and concerns on accessibility issues; liaising with community access
groups; ensuring the Authority’s duties and responsibilities with
regard to the Equalities Act (2010) are met; supporting the work of
Pembrokeshire Access Group and giving advice on all access design
issues such as ramps, disabled parking bays, welfare facilities and
much more.

Jessica, a former journalist with the Western Telegraph, added: “I’m
really looking forward to meeting new people and giving them the best
advice that I can – and if I don’t know the answer I will find someone
who does.

“Also, whilst I am going to investigate good practice collaboratively
with other Local Authorities, I am keen for Pembrokeshire to set the
standard for access issues and introduce new and innovative ideas to
improve people’s quality of life.

“I’m also looking forward to doing my first site visit. I know I have an
important job to do and will take it seriously, but I can’t wait to see
what I look like in a high-vis jacket and hard hat!”

To get in touch with Jessica, call 01437 775148 or email
jessica.hatchett@pembrokeshire.gov.uk.

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Pembrokeshire County Council Brexit update

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AS THE Brexit transition period draws to a close in the New Year, Pembrokeshire County Council is working closely with the Welsh Government, the Welsh Local Government Association and other organisations.

The Authority’s aim is to minimise any potential for Brexit to negatively affect Council services and the county’s businesses and residents.

The transition period ends at 11pm on December 31, after which many changes come into effect.

To this end, the Council is publicising a number of websites providing Brexit information. 

They include:

https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/business-advice-and-support/pembrokeshire-preparing-for-brexit

https://gov.wales/preparing-wales/

https://www.gov.uk/transition

EU and European Economic Area (EEA) citizens who need to apply for Settled Status can find support from Welsh Government and Home Office-funded organisations here: http://www.eusswales.com/en/index.html

Meanwhile, public-facing frontline staff working in support organisations and local authorities throughout Wales are being made aware of the issues involved.

This will enable them to direct EU/EEA nationals and their family members who have queries to the appropriate specialist staff.

For public information on the Settlement Scheme go to: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families

Pembrokeshire County Council also has a generic Brexit enquiry email address at: brexit@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

 

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North Pembs Schools update

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FIVE of the six north Pembrokeshire Schools closed as a precautionary measure due to an outbreak of Covid-19 in the Cardigan Area will re-open fully tomorrow (Wednesday, November 25).

They are Ysgol Clydau, Ysgol Eglwyswrw Ysgol Llandudoch, Ysgol Y Frenni and Ysgol Y Preseli.

Pembrokeshire County Council is extremely grateful to everyone for their patience while this situation has been resolved.

Ysgol Cilgerran will be partially open on Wednesday, November 25 as two classes have been identified as contacts of positive cases.

Foundation Phase classes will reopen tomorrow.

The school will provide further detail on its website.

Pembrokeshire School transport will return to normal, including college transport routes which revert back to normal starting points.

However, affected Ceredigion Schools remain closed and the corresponding Pembrokeshire School Transport will remain suspended for these schools.

Crymych Leisure Centre is also to re-open on Wednesday.

Classes must continue to be booked in the usual way.

 

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