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Patients coming to ‘real harm’

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Appointmens system breaking down: many people are losing their sight because of delayed or cancelled appointments

Appointmens system breaking down: many people are losing their
sight because of delayed or cancelled appointments

AT LEAST four people a month are losing their sight in Wales because of delayed and cancelled appointments. In a report commissioned by RNIB Cymru doctors are saying that the appointments system is breaking down and unable to cope with the demand. The report makes a conservative estimate that 48 people a year are losing their sight because of delays in follow up appointments. 

An ageing population, more treatment options and an increase in some underlying causes of sight loss, such as diabetes and obesity, have caused an increase in demand for ophthalmology appointments. Targets set by the Welsh Government mean that priority is given to the first appointment which means that patients who need follow up appointments and treatments often have to wait much longer than they should.

In that time their sight can deteriorate rapidly without the appropriate treatment. RNIB Cymru is concerned that systems within the NHS will not allow consultants to prioritise patients according to their clinical need. Hospitals are also failing to accurately record how many patients are losing their sight while waiting for an appointment. Ceri Jackson, Director of RNIB Cymru said, “It is a scandal that so many people are losing their sight because of delayed or cancelled appointments and that only one health board in Wales could tell us how many people had lost their sight.

Pressure to meet waiting time targets for new patients is putting vital follow up appointments at risk. Welsh Government and Health Boards need to undertake a comprehensive review of capacity and demand and to take immediate steps to clear the backlog of patients waiting to be seen by ophthalmology services.” RNIB Cymru wants to see new systems put in place to ensure eye clinics have the appropriate information to prioritise appointments in line with clinical need and not waiting time targets. It is also of vital importance that patients are informed of the risks to their sight if their appointments are delayed or cancelled.

Investment is also needed in IT systems in order to develop innovative solutions, such as virtual clinics. The President of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, Professor Caroline MacEwen said, “This report highlights an area of grave concern, in that patients who are within the health care system are being lost and coming to harm. There is a pressing need to protect follow up patients who have known eye diseases with a waiting time “target”, just as applies to new patients, coupled with the collection of accurate data on such delays. The prevention of avoidable sight loss should be an area of priority for all involved in eyecare.”

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Appeal after woman sexually assaulted on cycle path near Haverfordwest

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POLICE officers in Haverfordwest are appealing for witnesses after a woman was sexually assaulted at approximately 4.30pm on Sunday (May 16).

The woman was walking along the cycle path between Haverfordwest and Tiers Cross when she was approached by a man who threatened and assaulted her, before walking away towards Haverfordwest town.

The male is described as a white male, between 5ft 4 and 5ft 11 tall , normal build with a welsh accent. He has short dark hair, a beard and a moustache, brown eyes, and wearing light blue jeans, navy/dark blue jersey with grey sleeves. Anyone who saw a man matching this description in the area between 3.30pm and 5pm in the afternoon.

A 35-year-old man has been arrested and is currently in police custody.

The cycle path is currently closed while the investigation continues.

Detective Superintendent Jayne Butler, who is leading the investigation, said “Incidents of this nature are extremely rare in the Dyfed-Powys area. The public may see an increased presence of police officers in the coming days as police investigate the incident. Anyone with concerns or information that could help our enquiries can speak to those officers or contact police. While a man was quickly arrested we would still like to speak to anyone who saw a man matching the above description in the area yesterday afternoon.”

Anyone with information which could help the investigation is asked to contact police. This can be done online at bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired, text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet endorses STEP Fusion application

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL’S Cabinet have today endorsed proposals from Cllr Paul Miller (Cabinet Member for Economic Development) to further progress the nomination of a Pembrokeshire site to host a Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) fusion power station in the county.

Working with the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), the proposed site is adjacent to the existing energy facilities on the South Shore of the Haven waterway.

If approved, the facility will initially host research with the ultimate aim of developing this technology which could offer a virtually limitless source of clean electricity by copying the processes that power the sun.

Cllr Paul Miller, Cabinet Member for Economic Development said: “I am pleased my Cabinet colleagues endorsed this important programme of work. The Haven Waterway has provided livelihoods, underpinned by fossil fuels, for thousands of Pembrokeshire families, mine included, for more than 50 years. It’s my job to help ensure the waterway continues to provide high skilled, engineering, science and technology jobs for the next generation of this county – and so linked to our focus on climate change (and in addition to our existing multi-million pound commitments to supporting wind, wave and tidal clean power generation) my team have been exploring whether we can also support the development of clean, green fusion technology.

“It’s very early days in the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s site selection process but we’ll provide regular updates as things progress.”

•       STEP is an ambitious programme to design and build a prototype fusion power plant;
•       It is a UKAEA programme, currently with £222m funding from the UK Government to produce a concept design by 2024: https://step.ukaea.uk/

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Re-opening of indoor hospitality and attractions at Milford Waterfront

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RESTAURANTS and indoor visitor attractions in Milford Waterfront are welcoming the return of indoor services from today.

The re-opening of indoor dining allows all restaurants at Milford Waterfront to seat customers indoors. As well as all restaurants on the Waterfront now being able to offer this service, the brand-new Foam Domes overlooking the Milford Haven Waterway are able to open, with bookings being taken from the 19th May.

Indoor visitor attractions are also allowed to re-open. This includes the Waterfront Gallery, which is open today and Phoenix Bowl & Pirate Pete’s Adventure Play which is making preparations to open from Wednesday 19th May. Also, Milford Museum, which has had a new rendered exterior finish, is preparing to open for the end of May.

Lucy Wonnacott, Marketing Manager for Milford Waterfront commented: “We are delighted to see the re-opening of indoor hospitality and visitor attractions here at Milford Waterfront. Each business has their own safety and social distancing measures in place and we kindly ask that you respect and adhere to these for your own safety, and that of others. We hope you enjoy your visit to Milford Waterfront and stay safe!”

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