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What safety net?

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ambulanceTHE REVELATION of the extent of the Welsh Ambulance Service crisis could not come at a worse time for the local health board. 

Having scrapped SCBU and a consultant-led obstetric service and replaced it with a 24/7 dedicated ambulance, the Herald revealed two weeks ago that an advert for staff to crew the vehicle did not expire until after the service at Withybush had been removed. The Herald understands that despite Freemasons providing a specialist transport pod for babies to Withybush Hospital, that equipment has been commandeered for use at Glangwili.

As a result, Pembrokeshire neonates and infants travelling to Glangwili in an emergency will be reliant upon a heated mattress. A standard specification ambulance does not carry the equipment a sick neonate requires. To transport a sick neonate or baby needs specialised transport from the ground up. The ambulance must have the floor attachments to secure 200kg of neonatal transport incubator. All of the equipment must be the size for a neonate. While paramedics will do their best they are not a specialist neonatal transport nurse, of which two are required. Safe in the knowledge that the summer recess was coming, Health Minister Mark Drakeford claimed a robust safety net would be in place to ensure patient safety.

Mr Drakeford has avoided scrutiny for now, but is sure to face questions on how the Board persuaded the government that an understaffed and under-resourced service was either safe or robust. He will hardly need reminding that any mishap or tragedy will be laid firmly at his door. It also appears that despite repeated assurances that mothers will not have to travel outside the health board area to deliver their babies, and in spite of planning the closure of SCBU at Withybush for years, facilities are still not ready at Glangwili.

The Pembrokeshire Herald has been contacted by Martin McGeown, whose wife Bianca is expecting twins, a boy and a girl: “We have had a few complications with the little boy so we were back and forth to Cardiff. We are now in Singleton, Swansea. No cots were available at Carmarthen and we were sent to Bridgend hospital on Friday. “I then drove at 12 at night with Bianca down to Swansea as a bed become available. We were told if no cots were available in Wales we would have had to go to Birmingham that day.

“I’m so sad about our hospital and my heart is with all the midwives who have been treated so badly. I hope we can do something about this, as you don’t realise until it happens to one of you “Me and my family have been pulled from pillar to post not knowing were our children would be born. Swansea Singleton are amazing but deep down it should have been at Withybush. “This is not going to get better and has to be sorted.” Commenting on the closure this week of the Special Care Baby Unit at Withybush Hospital, MP Stephen Crabb said: “I was deeply disappointed to see SCBU close this week. Pembrokeshire residents have fought long and hard to retain this vital service but the Welsh Labour Health Minister has pushed on regardless.”

“I have discussed these changes with both the Health Board and the Welsh Health Minister. At no point have I been reassured about the apparent safety-nets planned to deal with emergencies in future. We do not know if these are even operational. With SCBU now closed, this is a damning indictment of Welsh Labour’s health policy.” “People are right to be concerned. Even if the A40 is free from problems, Welsh ambulance response time targets have been missed year after year. Already this week we have seen reports of police cars across Wales transporting patients to hospital because ambulances are not available.” “I have written again to the Welsh Health Minister voicing my concerns. Pembrokeshire residents deserve, at the very least, to be given assurances that adequate plans are in place for dealing with emergency cases.”

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1 Comment

  1. Tomos

    September 5, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Freemasons helping out? Are they feeling guilty?

    they are part of the problem NOT part of the solution – giving jobs to the boyos in all areas of public life (and protecting the bad from publicity,from arrest and prosecution) )rather than those best suited have helped wales go down the toilet! 🙁

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News

Ethiopian sailor absconds from ship docked at Valero

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A SEARCH is underway for an Ethiopian sailor who has failed to return to his vessel after taking shore leave from a ship berthed in Pembrokeshire.

The male, who is understood to be a cadet in his twenties, was a crew member on the Perseus-N; a chemical products ship.

He failed to return to the ship on Tuesday night after 9pm (Aug 20).

The Liberian tanker has already left Milford Haven without the missing member of crew.

The Herald understands that the missing man was with a group of other sailors from the ship in the Milford Haven are using the marina’s leisure facilities.

The group then headed to Tesco in Milford Haven, where all went in to the store except the missing sailor who slipped away, according to CCTV which was checked by police.

One theory, The Herald has been told, was that he left on the train from Milford Haven station by hiding in the toilet. The station is next to the Tesco store.

Border Force have been contacted for a comment in relation to the incident.

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Former Chequers nightclub to reopen

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AN APPLICATION for a new premises licence for the former Chequers night club succeeded at a meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council’s Licensing sub-committee on Thursday (Aug 22).

The former nightclub closed its doors for the last time in 2003, when it ran as a private members’ club, having had an application for a full on-licence rejected.

After failing in an attempt to close the club on that occasion, Pembrokeshire County Council became the only local authority in Wales to classify mobile homes as permanent residences in an effort to shut down the club once and for all.

The new applicant, Mrs Carmen Clemas applied for a new premises licence in respect of the club, which will be renamed the Queen of Clubs.

The Committee heard objections to the licence from local residents and heard representations from both the Police and Fire Service which pointed out that the building would need significant remedial works to it before it could re-open.

While Penally Community Council objected on the basis of events and problems at the premises almost twenty years ago, neither the Police nor Fire Service had an objection to the Club’s re-opening in principle.

Both emergency services emphasised that, even though they had no objections, they had concerns that had to be addressed.

Dyfed-Powys Police licensing officer Nigel Lewis highlighted road safety as a significant issue as it was “quite a nasty stretch of road.”

He said: “A solution will have to be found if the premise licence is to be granted, it’s way too dangerous to let a patron leave your place and and enter into that section,” he added.

The Committee granted the application, refusing permission for licensable activities at the Club on Sundays, apart from Sundays before Bank Holidays, and imposing strict noise control measures.

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St Davids RNLI to feature in new series of a popular TV documentary

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THE volunteer lifeboat crew of St Davids RNLI will be taking to the small screen next week as they will feature twice in the first episode of the BBC TV series Saving Lives at Sea.

Now in its fourth season the documentary series, which showcases the lifesaving work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), will be aired on BBC Two on Tuesdays at 8 pm, as well as being available on the BBC iPlayer following the broadcast. The new 10-part series features real rescues carried out by the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards around the UK and Ireland – including St Davids RNLI.

Each programme gives a unique insight into the lives and work of the charity’s lifesavers who are needed more than ever before, rescuing thousands of people and saving hundreds of lives around our coastline and on inland waterways every year. The new series features more dramatic real-life rescue footage, accompanied by emotive testimonials from the volunteer crews, lifeguards and the people they rescue and their families.

This forthcoming episode, on 27 August, sees St Davids RNLI launch to a crashed plane in one shout, and tow a yacht stranded in a shipping lane in another. These shouts are shown alongside rescue stories from their colleagues at other stations and beaches around our coasts.

Judd Kohler, Station Mechanic at St Davids Lifeboat Station, said: “The first episode of Saving Lives at Sea shows two very different shouts that St Davids RNLI responded to. The programme is a great chance for RNLI supporters to catch a glimpse of the work that their kind donations go towards. We want to say a huge thank you to supporters of the RNLI, who help us to save lives at sea.”

Filming took place over the past year, with lifeboat crews and lifeguards carrying special cameras and welcoming film-makers into their day-to-day life. Rescues from the RNLI’s archives are also revisited, and we get a glimpse into the everyday lives of the thousands of men and women who give up their time to save lives.

Last year alone, RNLI lifeboat crews around the UK and Ireland rescued 9,412 people, saving 211 lives, while the charity’s lifeguards aided 32,207 people and saved 118 lives on some of the UK’s busiest beaches.

Saving Lives at Sea begins on Tuesday 27 August at 8 pm on BBC Two, and will continue throughout August, September and October.

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