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Cancer care chaos at Withybush

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Standing together: The Herald supports saving services at Withybush

Standing together: The Herald supports saving services at Withybush

IN THIS week’s Pembrokeshire Herald (Sept 26), we have published an exclusive story detailing the turmoil in cancer services at Withybush General Hospital.

We have revealed that instead of appointing a consultant cancer specialist to Withybush, the Local Health Board appointed a locum to Bronglais Hospital in Aberyswtwyth, which has under half the acute admissions of Withybush.

In the absence of a consultant, direct admissions of cancer patients in need cannot be made to Ward 10.

The Local Health Board failed to advertise for a replacement for Dr Anne Barnes MBE, despite having six months notice of her retirement.

The Board had not informed the national organisation – responsible for training all new doctors in Wales – of the crisis until this week.

After we went to print yesterday afternoon, we received the statement below from the Local Health Board.

The press statement from the Local Health Board reads: “Ward 10 at Withybush Hospital has not closed and any speculation to suggest it is closing is inaccurate. Ward 10 provides care to patients with both specialist cancer needs and general medical problems and is continuing to provide specialist nursing care to cancer patients.”
“Due to well-publicised recruitment problems, there is currently no full-time specialist consultant on site. We do, however, have part time consultant expertise supporting our experienced general physicians and support from consultant oncologists based at Singleton Hospital.”
“The University Health Board is taking a number of actions to address this situation including recruiting to locum posts in all areas and recruiting agency staff. In addition, we are working closely with ABMU Health Board to improve oncology recruitment and are currently reviewing the job description of the palliative care consultant post to attract more candidates”
“We would like to assure local people and patients that Ward 10 continues to care for patients with cancer and the university health board is entirely committed to the appointment of a full-time palliative care consultant.”

We stand by our story.

Stephen Crabb: The news is "deeply concerning"

Stephen Crabb: The news is “deeply concerning”

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP, Stephen Crabb, has reacted to the story in The Herald. The Minister has criticised the effective withdrawal of specialist cancer services from Withybush Hospital.

Commenting on the revelations, he said: “The news that Withybush is set to lose specialist Oncology and palliative care is deeply concerning. Just weeks ago, local people were reassured that there was a green light for a new Ward 10 and Cancer Day Unit moving forward.”

“Yet we now hear that Cancer patients will be assessed in A & E and then treated on non-specialist wards. Strong concerns have been raised about staffing levels in relation to Oncology – the whole situation seems chaotic.”

“From the outside it appears that the public have been misinformed. I will shortly be holding a meeting with the Chair of the Hywel Dda Health Board and will be pressing her for a thorough explanation about this episode.”

“From SCBU to Paediatrics to Surgery and now Oncology, Pembrokeshire people are sick and tired of seeing local health services carved up in this fashion. There is no question in my mind that there is a sustained campaign to chip away at local health services, with local people fobbed off time and again with empty promises and worthless reassurances.”

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Health

Police and drugs advice service issue warning over ‘deadly batch’ of heroin

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POLICE have asked the media to issue a warning over a batch of heroin.

The drug circulating in west Wales, first detected in Llanelli, is particularly dangerous, it has been confirmed.

“We are warning drug users to take extra care following reports of a particularly harmful batch of heroin circulating in the Llanelli area” said a Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson.

“We have reasons to believe some drugs being distributed and used in the Carmarthenshire area at present have been contaminated with other substances and could be extremely dangerous for anyone taking them.

“We would also appeal to drug users to seek medical attention immediately if they become unwell.

“Please share this information with anyone you believe could come into contact with these drugs.

”In an emergency or if you think someone’s life is at risk always dial 999.”

Earlier this week Barod, the drug and alcohol abuse service reported a dangerous and toxic heroin circulating in Pembroke Dock which a spokesperson described as being ‘potentially deadly’.

To comes as Public Health England issued a formal alert about the risks of heroin containing fentanyl or carfentanyl.

The warning reads: “There is significant evidence from a small number of post-mortem results of recent drug user deaths and from police seizures that some heroin may contain fentanyl or carfentanyl added by dealers.

“These are highly potent synthetic opioids and very small amounts can cause severe or even fatal toxicity.

“Those of you in contact with heroin users should be alert to the increased possibility of overdose arising from heroin cut with these synthetic opioids, be able to recognise possible symptoms of overdose and respond appropriately.”

The fentanyls are a group of synthetic opioids; some have legitimate uses while others are illicit drugs.

Fentanyl is about 100 times more potent than morphine and is a licensed medicine used to treat severe and terminal pain. Carfentanyl is 4,000 – 10,000 times more potent than morphine and principally used as an animal tranquilliser.

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Tenby’s famous walrus ‘Wally’ has been spotted again

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TENBY’S most famous marine animal has been spotted again after fears she had been scared away.

Wally was spotted on Friday evening by the seaside town’s Lifeboat station.

Thought to be a two-year-old male, the walrus’s return comes after it was feared she had been disturbed by people flocking to catch a glimpse of her and “getting too close”

The animal has attracted hundreds of people to the seaside town now that the travel restrictions with Wales have been lifted to coincide with the Easter school holidays.

Wally was last seen on Monday, but  members of the public were warned it was in the animal’s “best interests” to be “left alone” as much as possible and they were urged to “avoid the temptation to get near and disturb” her.

A joint statement was issued by the RSPCA, Tenby harbour master Chris Salisbury, Welsh Marine Life Rescue, Tenby lifeboat coxswain Phil John, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Natural Resources Wales and CSIP Marine Environmental Rescue said that they were concerned to hear that people had tried to get close by using personal watercraft or paddle and surfboards.

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Police plan to deter badly behaved youths from gathering in Tenby

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POLICE in Tenby responded to community concerns over antisocial behaviour and groups of between 15-20 youths gathering and clashing over the Easter bank holiday weekend. They moved the youths on, seized alcohol from them and stopped matters escalating when there were clashes between the groups. And they have a clear message ahead of this weekend – there will be extra police patrols and presence in Tenby, including on the trains, so this type of behaviour won’t be tolerated.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers used powers under the Antisocial Behaviour Act to disperse groups of youngsters meeting to drink alcohol in and around Tenby, many of whom had travelled by train to the area to meet up.

Based on these scenes from last weekend, plans are in place as part of a joint operation with Pembrokeshire County Council licensing officers and British Transport Police, to address and prevent any further gatherings.

A Section 34 Order is in place covering Tenby, which allows officers to move people out of the area and prevent them from returning for up to 48 hours.

Sergeant Stuart Wheeler said: “Following last weekend we had some concern from the community of Tenby, due to antisocial behaviour related to the groups of youths from Pembroke, Pembroke Dock and Tenby, and subsequently those groups clashing. Alcohol consumption by these youngsters was a factor.

“Proactive action was taken, and we are keen to avoid a repeat of this behaviour this weekend, and have therefore put plans in place. Additional resources have been allocated, which will allow us to respond quickly and prevent matters from escalating.

“Tenby Neighbourhood Policing Team and response officers, will be carrying out high visibility patrols in the area, covering areas known to be popular with youngsters. Pembrokeshire County Council licensing officers will be assisting us in ensuring youngsters can’t buy alcohol in the area by visiting shops and reminding them of the laws around selling alcohol, and if they bring it with them it will be seized. And our colleagues in British Transport Police will be patrolling the train network to prevent problematic groups getting to Tenby by train.”

Police are also appealing to parents and carers to know where their children are, and what they are doing.

Sergeant Wheeler added: “We would like to appeal directly to parents to be aware of where their children are, and prevent them from gathering in large groups. This type of behaviour is distressing for people living and working in Tenby, and we are urging you to be accountable for your children’s actions.

“We understand that the past few months have been difficult, and that children want to see their friends, but remember that only 6 people from 2 households can meet outdoors still. Please do your best to ensure they are adhering to regulations that are in place for all our safety.”

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