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‘Time to focus on employment’ says minister

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edwina hartEDWINA HART MBE made a statement on behalf of the Welsh Government regarding Murco Refinery: The minister said: “I am today, as agreed, updating Members on Murco Refi nery following my statement last week. This is a diffi cult time for the employees of the company, their families and the wider community in Pembrokeshire. We now need to focus on doing all we can maximise the opportunities for employment at the site, and ensure the employment and skills are retained for the future prosperity of the region.

Yesterday I chaired a meeting of the Murco task force. We discussed a range of issues, including support for the Murco employees and contractors, business support, the role of Enterprise Zones, and issues with connectivity and transport. In terms of support for the employees, we will of course provide support for those facing redundancy through our React programmes. I have been asked by the task force to consider the use of the ProAct scheme which has been used to great effect in the past, and I have instructed offi cials to consider the proposal and provide me with further advice.

We will also be working with the CBI and other business leaders to on opportunities across the sector to bring employers together with prospective employees. We will therefore be holding a series of events, starting with a “Jobs fayre” event on December 10 at the Bridge Innovation Centre. We have taken immediate measures to ensure that the Apprentices on site can continue their learning pathway.

I am very grateful to Valero for agreeing to offer placements to all of the Murco apprentices onto their excellent apprenticeship programme so they can maintain their studies. The task force will also be taking forward a work programme that maximises the skills and training activities on site to support both the employers and the wider contractor workforce with opportunities to up-skill so that that they are able to transfer their skills and enter new sectors. I will be working the Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology to take this work forward. We will also continue to support business growth in the area. Business Wales will offer an enhanced service from their Pembroke Dock offi ces and will be providing an additional presence on the high-street to ensure that we provide advice and support to local businesses to explore new markets and for those wishing to set up in business.

I will be introducing a special round of the Welsh Economic Growth Fund that will be open to support businesses in creating and safeguarding employment in Pembrokeshire. That £3 million fund will sit alongside a £500,000 new round of the SME Growth Fund that I am committing to, aimed at supporting smaller and microsized companies to maximise the employment and growth opportunities in the region. We will of course be exploring the use of European monies to meet our goals and be working with the UK Government to consider the use of the EU’s Globalisation Adjustment Fund. The energy sector is integral to the economic fabric of the local area and is a specifi c priority of the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone.

Today I am announcing the appointment of Mr Stan McIlvenny OBE as the new Chair of Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone. Mr McIlvenny is the current Chief Executive and Company Secretary of Port of Waterford Company, and brings a wealth of experience and expertise in the port sector across shipping, logistics, warehousing, rail and fl eet transport. Mr McIlvenny will take up this position with immediate effect and will Chair tomorrow’s meeting of the Enterprise Zone Board.I know Mr McIIvenny will be keen to give early consideration to the boundaries of the Zone and the opportunities it can deliver in light of the Murco announcement.

I am also keen that we look at how we enhance connectivity within the area to promote business opportunities. I have specifi cally accelerated the Superfast Cymru project to bring early benefi ts to the Haven Enterprise Zone. Good progress is already being made with nearly 23,000 premises in the area already able to receive superfast broadband services. We are also fi nalising the details of how we can provide additional telecommunications support to businesses in Enterprise Zones, and the Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology will be making an announcement on this later in the month. In terms of transport links, I have been asked by the task force to consider the issue of the duallling of the A40.

I have instructed my offi cials to accelerate, to the full extent possible, the programme for delivering improvements at Llandewi Velfrey. I have also asked my offi cials to conduct further, urgent work, to explore additional ways to improve the A40, including the potential for dualling. This work will be complete within 6 months. As a government we are determined to do everything in our power to support the workforce and the local economy of Pembrokeshire and will explore every avenue with the company and partners to maximise the economic opportunities for the region. As part of this, I have decided to enhance the Memberships of the task force to bring in additional expertise.

I have asked Roger Evans MBE to Chair the task force. Roger is Managing Director and Plant Director at Schaeffl er and is a member of the St Athan and Cardiff Airport Enterprise Zone Board. I am grateful to Roger for agreeing to take up this challenge. I know his years of experience in the sector and personal commitment will provide to drive this agenda forward at pace. I have also asked Emma Watkins, Director of CBI Wales to join the group. Emma’s background and expertise will help us link in with anchor companies across Wales. Roger and Emma will work alongside the existing membership of the task force, which includes representatives from Murphy Oil Corporation, Murco, Pembrokeshire County Council, Pembrokeshire College, Unite the Union, and the Welsh and UK Governments.

I am grateful for their work to date. The task force will focus on delivery: delivery of a package of support and assistance for those affected and delivery of interventions to support the economic growth of the area. We will continue to provide advice and support for the workforce through our delivery partners and I have asked the task force to extend that support mechanism to the contractor network. We must ensure that all of those affected have the right information and skills to make the diffi cult choices ahead of them. The wider Murco workforce is highly skilled and has an excellent reputation and we will work with businesses partners in Wales and further to identify new employment opportunities for those affected by redundancy.”

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Health

Proposed locations for new hospital site to be reviewed

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HYWEL DDA UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD (UHB) will this week undertake a review of potential sites as part of the ongoing process to identify a suitable location for a new hospital.

Eleven sites will be assessed on Friday 22 October, including those identified by members of the public during the six-week engagement exercise, which took place earlier this year.

This stage of the process is intended to lead to the creation of a shortlist of sites. This will be subject to further detailed appraisal with significant public and wider stakeholder involvement. The final decision about the chosen site will be made by the health board, in agreement with Welsh Government.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “The building of a new hospital is a major long-term project, which is why we place great emphasis on being open and transparent about the process involved.

“The process we are following includes developing a programme business case to support our strategy for community and hospital-based health and care. As part of the process to apply for funding from the Welsh Government, we will submit the programme business case, and then individual outline business cases, then the final business cases for the new infrastructure we will need. The health board will therefore engage with the public on a regular basis between now and the submission of the final business cases to ensure your views are fully considered.

“I understand and recognise there are passionate feelings about a new hospital, but we strongly believe a new facility is essential for urgent and planned care in the south of the Hywel Dda area. It will provide trauma care and be the main emergency department for the south of our area.

“I can also reassure the public that we have no plans or intention to close either Glangwili or Withybush hospitals. We will engage further on how these hospitals could work alongside the proposed new hospital.”

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Unprecedented demand on health and social care services in local area

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Joint statement by Hywel Dda University Health Board, the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Pembrokeshire County Council, Carmarthenshire County Council and Ceredigion County Council

The urgent statement we have asked to publish is as follows:

THERE is currently an unprecedented demand on health and social care services across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, which is leading to significant delays in care provision. Put simply, the difficulty in discharging medically-fit patients from hospital – many of whom have complex personal circumstances and needs – is leading to significant bed shortages, and consequently, lengthy ambulance waits at the ‘front door’ of A&E departments, which mean that paramedics are unable to respond to other 999 calls in the community.Social care and Health teams are doing everything possible to support people who are well enough to leave hospital but need ongoing care. Priority is being given to the most vulnerable, and alternative health and care packages are being offered as a short-term measure. More carers and health staff are also being recruited to support people in need.

If you have a relative or loved one in hospital who is well enough to go home, but is waiting to be discharged with homecare and community health support, you may be able to help them to get home more quickly if you and your family are in a position to support them at home. If your relative is waiting for a formal package of care, you may be able to offer support and care on a short term, temporary arrangement or you might want to consider whether your loved one could be supported in a temporary residential or nursing care setting. If you feel that this is an option that you could consider, please speak to the ward manager or your social worker to explore further.

Spending as little time in hospital is better for patients and means that NHS beds can be freed up for others with urgent care needs. Supporting older patients to get home from hospital efficiently is an important part of their recovery and it also protects them from negative consequences of hospital admission, such as hospital acquired infection, falls and a loss of independence.  You can find out more about the hospital discharge process and guidance here: Inpatient information – Hywel Dda University Health Board (nhs.wales)

Your support not only helps your loved one, but it is a huge support to the NHS and social care services as well.

Thank you.

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News

Child taken to hospital following collision with car outside school

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AN EARLY morning collision outside Ysgol Harri Tudor school, Pembroke, has seen a child taken to hospital.

The collision happened between a child and a car on Pembroke Road, Pembroke, at approximately 9am this morning.

A secondary school pupil has been taken to hospital via ambulance for what is said to be minor injuries.

Police and ambulance service were on the scene and were helped by school staff to manage the incident.

A police spokesperson said: “Dyfed-Powys Police attended a road traffic collision involving a car and a secondary school pupil this morning, 21st October 2021. The collision occurred on Pembroke Road, Pembroke at approximately 9:00am.

“The Ambulance Service also attended and escorted the teenage boy to hospital with what are believed to be minor injuries.”

A Pembrokeshire County Council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that there has been an incident outside Ysgol Harri Tudur in Pembroke this morning where a pupil came into contact with a car. 

“The police and ambulance have been on the scene and were assisted by school staff. We are not able to release any further details at present.”

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