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12 hour A&E service would be ‘end game’ for Withybush Hospital

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Protest: Cardiff earlier this year

Protest: Cardiff earlier this year

A LEAKED document has revealed 24 hour A&E services are to be cut at Withybush General Hospital and replaced with a 12-hour service, The Pembrokeshire Herald understands.

A report prepared by Dr Iain Roberston-Steele has been revealed on-line on the SWAT website. The letter states: “It is no longer possible to sustain a traditional 24/7 A&E service at Withybush General Hospital based on middle grade locums and locum consultants”.

Health Board chairman Bernardine Rees was asked by councillors at Full Council recently if the A&E would remain a 24 hour services seven days a week, but she did not confirm that it would.

The shocking document also reveals that since the downgrade in paediatric services overnight there has been increased burden on the out of hours service and that too is branded as “short staffed and at risk”.

The leaked letter says that staffing issues led to the latest crisis in the service, and that a solution needs to be found.Other services that Withybush should not provide services for patients where further or onward care is required will also include ENT, ophthalmology, urology, palliative care, oncology, paediatrics, gynaecology and other specialist services, according to the document.

“Limiting provision at WGH to those services at WGH which are fully staffed and skilled,” it adds.

SWAT chairman Dr Chris Overton told The Herald that the news was  the “end game” for Withybush Hospital. He added: “As predicted for many many years, there will be nothing much will be left at the hospital”

The hospital action group has previously raised concerns that the knock on effect of services removal will result in changes having to be made at Withybush A&E.

Stephen Crabb MP told The Herald: “This leaked document appears to confirm our worst fears about what Hywel Dda and Mark Drakeford have got planned for Withybush. A dark cloud is hanging over the future of our hospital.”

“The removal of a 24 hour A&E service from Withybush is just unacceptable. The Welsh Health Minister should stop hiding away in Cardiff and come down to Pembrokeshire to either denounce these reckless plans or explain why he thinks they make our community safer. People in Pembrokeshire deserve more than behind-the-scenes plotting.”

“Today the UK Government is giving Welsh Ministers an extra £70 million as a result of the increase in English NHS spending. I have asked that the Welsh Government confirm that it will use this money solely for Welsh health services. After all the recent cuts to services, Pembrokeshire should be first in the queue for this spending.”

Party of Wales Mid and West Assembly Member Simon Thomas said: “This is another broken promise on the Welsh NHS by Labour Ministers in Cardiff Bay. I will demand answers from the Welsh Government in the Senedd at the first opportunity to do so on this issue. The people of Pembrokeshire deserve better A&E services.”

“This development about emergency services at Withybush Hospital is very concerning indeed. Welsh Ministers rejected my concerns that losing 24/7 paediatrics would undermine the long term viability of A&E.

“I suspected this but I am amazed it has come so soon. The people of west Wales have been misled by Labour. A Plaid Cymru Welsh Government would recruit 1,000 extra doctors. We would train new doctors to keep services local.”

South Pembrokeshire MP Simon Hart said: “I have not seen first-hand the report that SWAT refers to but if it is accurate, then everything we feared is coming true.  This is death by a thousand cuts for Withybush.  Hywel Dda Health Board has struggled with these staffing issues for years and has yet to solve the problem.  If they are going to use “staff shortages” as an excuse to close any department where they can’t recruit then this will become self fulfilling. We already know that one reason for the GP shortages in the county is the uncertainty over the future of the hospital. Mark Drakeford and the Welsh Government in Cardiff needs to get a grip of this situation and bring this uncertainty to an end.”

Commenting on reports that 24 hour Accident and Emergency, and other specialist services are to be removed from Withybush Hospital, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Kirsty Williams AM said: “This news is obviously a huge blow to communities across Pembrokeshire, especially all the campaigners that have worked tirelessly to keep their local services open. A quick response is vital for people suffering from trauma and accidents, and cutting 24 hour A&E cover could well put lives at risk.

“The fact that these services are seen as unsustainable at all shows that there is a major recruitment crisis in our NHS that the Welsh Labour Government seems determined to ignore. I have been repeatedly calling for a cross-party commission with doctor, nurse and patient representatives to sort out the major problems and plan for the future of our NHS. Today’s news shows that this commission can’t come soon enough.”

William Powell, the Welsh Liberal Democrat AM for Mid and West Wales, added: “Having supported local campaigners in their efforts to protect these services since 2006, this is obviously a huge disappointment. Removing specialist services and a full A&E from Withybush will leave it as nothing more than a glorified cottage hospital, with no equivalent services for miles around.

“With a health board intent on centralising services and a Welsh Labour Government content with them doing so, the people of Pembrokeshire deserve better.”

Spekaing for the Health Board, Medical Director Dr Sue Fish said: “I would like to reassure staff and members of the public that the Emergency and Urgent Care Centre at Withybush General Hospital remains open 24-hours a day and the University Health Board continues to be committed to the long term provision of this service. Senior clinicians continue to meet, and indeed clinicians and managers from across Hywel Dda are meeting today, to discuss how we continue to maintain safe, high quality services with ongoing and significant recruitment challenges. These challenges are faced by many NHS organisations across the UK and are a particular challenge at Withybush EUCC currently. The document referred to is the viewpoint of a single consultant at one point in time and represents no decision by the University Health Board. Changes to paediatric services at the hospital have not resulted in this position, which is a reflection of the ongoing recruitment challenges discussed.

Associate Medical Director for Quality and Safety Iain Robertson Steel added: “I would like to make it clear that this was a private and confidential paper that presents only one contribution from amongst a number being discussed and I am deeply distressed that this has been leaked without the full context.”

letterA letterB letterC letterD

 

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Public engagement exercise over new hospital between St Clears and Narberth

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HYWEL DDA is asking the people of Pembrokeshire to help it further shape and deliver future services by taking part in a six-week engagement exercise.

Since the publication of its strategy, A Healthier Mid and West Wales: Our Future Generations Living Well in 2018, the health board has worked with partners to provide care and develop services. However, the coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on health and care services. As a result, the health board now wants to learn from the public about how the pandemic has affected their health and care, and access to it.

This week, Hywel Dda UHB has been distributing a discussion document for the public to consider, along with a questionnaire for completion.

Hywel Dda UHB is also asking for the public’s feedback in relation to its long-term strategy to develop and build a new hospital in the south of the Hywel Dda area, somewhere between and including St Clears, in Carmarthenshire, and Narberth, in Pembrokeshire.

This location is the most central for most of the population in the south of the Hywel Dda area, and it was determined through the public consultation held in 2018.

The public is also being asked to nominate sites for a new hospital based four criteria:

The nominated site must be within the zone between and including St Clears in Carmarthenshire and Narberth in Pembrokeshire. This location is the most central to most of the population in the south of the Hywel Dda area.

The nominated site should be a minimum of 35 acres of reasonably developable land.

The nominated site should have realistic prospects of obtaining planning permission for a new hospital.

There should be appropriate transport infrastructure for a major hospital site.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “The global pandemic has had a major impact on all areas of our lives so it’s crucial that the health board considers, reflects and learns from this extraordinary period. This engagement exercise will allow the public to tell us in their own words how COVID-19 has affected their health and care, and access to it.

“I would encourage as many people as possible to participate because the feedback we receive will play a major role in helping shape future services. This in turn will allow us to deliver on our long-term commitment for a healthier mid and west Wales.

“I would also stress that this engagement exercise is part of an ongoing process. Over the coming months and years, we plan to engage with the public, stakeholders and partners on a wide variety of issues, such as service models. Everyone will have their chance to give their views and opinions because we are committed to continuous engagement with the public to ensure we provide the best possible care.”

The engagement exercise will run until Monday June 21.

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Paul Sartori taking action to support climate with National Lottery grant of nearly £14,000

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LOCAL hospice at home charity, Paul Sartori Hospice at Home, is taking action to support the climate with the installation of solar panels at its main head office in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire.

The charity which delivers end of life care services across Pembrokeshire, has been awarded a grant to fund the purchase and installation of solar panels at Paul Sartori House, Winch Lane. This investment is part of an ongoing commitment to address the climate emergency and the charity joins many others who are taking action. Paul Sartori was one of 35 community groups, who were selected to take part in the Climate Action Boost scheme, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.

Working alongside Renew Wales, a partner in the initiative, the group explored methods to help tackle the causes and consequences of climate change, and to operate more sustainably. A number of options were discussed to reduce their impact on the environment and Renew Wales helped the charity to develop an environmental action plan, which is to be implemented over the coming months. The scheme available to cover a variety of environmental reduction activities, including renewable energy, reducing consumption, local food and reduced or less impactful travel.

Paul Sartori Hospice at Home wouldn’t normally be associated with environmental activity. Through regular consultation over many months, the charity has been really encouraged by what they have learnt.

“We have invested a lot of time in developing the plan; discussed a number of alternatives along the way, but feel that the solar panel installation will have the biggest impact for the charity in the long term”, said Sandra Dade, Charity Manager. “The National Lottery Climate Action Boost has really inspired our charity to minimise our impacton the environment and we will continue this journey,” added Sandra.

Jemma Nurse, Funding Manager at The National Lottery Community Fund said, “The climate emergency is everyone’s business, which is why The National Lottery Community Fund is acting to support and inspire communities to minimise their own impact on the environment. We are proud to be a significant funder of environmental projects and Paul Sartori Hospice at Home, along with the other groups participating in Climate Action Boost, will play a valuable part in building our knowledge so we can share our learning with other funders across Wales and the UK.”

The services provided by the Paul Sartori Hospice at Home enable people in the later stages of any life-limiting illness to be cared for and to die at home with dignity, independence, pain free and surrounded by those they hold most dear, if that is their wish.

All of the services are free of charge, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, thanks to the generosity of the Pembrokeshire Community. Further information on the charity and its services can be obtained by visiting their website www.paulsartori.org, or by phoning 01437 763223.

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New nursing service to support carers of people living with dementia

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HYWEL DDA UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD, in partnership with Dementia UK, is launching a new nursing service to support carers of people living with dementia.

The Admiral Nurse service will be a significant addition to the current support available to people living with dementia and their carers. The initiative is in line with the Dementia Action Plan for Wales 2018-2022, a Welsh Government strategy that aims to recognise the rights of people with dementia, make them feel valued, and help them live as independently as possible in their communities.

The team will cover Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire with a focus on delivering person–centred and relationship-centred dementia care. The Admiral Nurses will work collaboratively in a family-centric manner, across health and social care pathways, to provide support, expert guidance & practical solutions to enable families/carers, including the person living with dementia, to maximise their wellbeing and improve the experience of those affected by dementia.

Dementia UK is the only charity in the UK dedicated to supporting families affected by dementia through dementia specialist Admiral Nurses.  When things get challenging or difficult for people with dementia and their families, Admiral Nurses work alongside them, giving the compassionate one-to-one support, expert guidance and practical solutions that can be difficult to find elsewhere. They are a lifeline, helping families to live more positively with dementia in the present, and to face the challenges of tomorrow with more confidence and less fear.  

The service launched on 29th March 2021 and is now accepting referrals.

Charlotte Duhig, Admiral Nurse Clinical Lead, said: “I am honoured to be leading this new service to support carers and families of people living with dementia across the counties served by Hywel Dda University Health Board. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an incredibly challenging time for people living with dementia and their carers but I’m confident that this much-needed service will make a difference to the lives of those affected by dementia.

“Having previously set up an Admiral Nurse Service, I know the benefit of working as an Admiral Nurse as families can get the emotional and practical support to allow them to plan for the future. Health and social care professionals can also take advantage of our in-depth knowledge of dementia.”

Dr Hilda Hayo, CEO and Chief Admiral Nurse at Dementia UK, says: “We are delighted to announce this new Admiral Nurse service in partnership with Hywel Dda University Health Board. The fact that this service extends to a large rural area within West Wales, with the support of two Welsh-speaking Admiral Nurses, means that we are improving access to dementia specialist support for families.”            

To be able to access this service, the following referral criteria applies:

  • The person being supported/cared for by the carer has a diagnosis (or likely diagnosis) of dementia.
  • The person with dementia and/or carer lives in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion or Pembrokeshire (or is registered with a GP in those areas).
  • The carer agrees to their referral to the Admiral Nurse
  • The carer should have identified need(s) that impact upon their caring role or as a consequence of their caring role*

If you are a health or social care professional or 3rd sector working with someone you believe this service could benefit, or you are a carer of someone living with dementia and would like to be referred to the service, please contact a health or social care professional who can refer you. 

For further information, contact the nursing team direct:

Clinical Lead: Charlotte.Duhig@wales.nhs.uk

Admiral NurseContact detailsLocality covered
Bethan BulmanBethan.Bulman@wales.nhs.ukCeredigion North
Donna Phillips Ceredigion South
Emma VenablesEmma.Venables@wales.nhs.ukPembrokeshire North
Rosie BellRosie.Bell@wales.nhs.ukPembrokeshire South
Siriol DyerSiriol.Dyer2@wales.nhs.ukCarmarthenshire (3Ts)
Liz WrightElizabeth.Wright@wales.nhs.ukCarmarthenshire (Amman Gwendraeth)
Donna OwensDonna.Owens2@wales.nhs.ukCarmarthenshire (Llanelli)
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