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Paediatric care controversy rages on



Still questions to be answered: Stephen Crabb on LHB

Still questions to be answered:
Stephen Crabb on LHB

CLAIMS by local health campaigners that there has been a significant change in the arrangements for out of hours paediatric care at Withybush Hospital have been denied by the Local Health Board. SWAT (Save Withybush Action Team) have reported that from December 1 there will be no paediatric cover after 10:00pm at Withybush’s Accident & Emergency Department. SWAT’s Facebook page has received a significant number of comments and shares since its post of Tuesday (Nov 18) on the topic. Responding to SWAT, a Health Board spokesperson has said that the service model for the delivery of paediatric services has not changed. The Board has, however, not denied that the out of hours services of a middle-grade doctor are to end. The Health Board’s stance, while technically accurate is not the whole story.

The Herald has seen internal Health Board documents that suggest that the services of a middle-grade paediatric specialist were not part of the out-ofhours paediatric service’s long-term delivery plans. At the end of September, Bernadine Rees, the Local Health Board Chair, told the Herald that the new service model developed for paediatric care at Withybush provided for on-site care at Withybush to run from 10am to 10pm, supported by 24 hour Accident and Emergency care. Withybush’s 24 hours paediatric facilities were withdrawn by the Local Health Board on October 20. SWAT now state that the services of a middle-grade paediatric specialist, which have been available out of hours at the Haverfordwest hospital since that date, are to cease from the beginning of December.


Significantly, the provision of out of hours specialist paediatric middlegrade doctor cover was omitted from the Health Board’s plans for paediatrics published in April 2014. That document refers only to specialist cover being available during the hours the Short Stay Assessment Unit remains open from 10am to 10pm. While the Health Board has confirmed that A&E remains open at Withybush 24 hours a day, there are serious concerns among Pembrokeshire’s vital tourism business about the effect of further downgrading Withybush’s services. The fact that the service withdrawal has been timed to fall outside the main tourist season, upon which Pembrokeshire’s economy depends, has, in the view of some engaged in the tourist industry, stored up significant problems for the 2015 summer season. The Health Board has still failed to come up with a long term solution for minor injuries care around Pembrokeshire’s south east coast. The future of paediatric care at the hospital was raised by Paul Davies AM, when he and Stephen Crabb MP met with the interim Chief Executive of the Local Health Board, Karen Howell, to raise concerns about the future of services at Withybush. Both urged the Health Board to be transparent in their future plans, following community concerns about the future of Paediatric and Cancer services. They were also keen to find out what steps are being taken to address staff shortages and stressed the need for the new Chief Executive, Steve Moore, to regain the trust of Pembrokeshire people when he takes up his role in the New Year.


Commenting, Stephen Crabb MP said: “2014 has been a very challenging year for Withybush and health services in Pembrokeshire following the refusal of the Welsh Health Minister to back down on his downgrading plans. Having already seen the removal of the Special Care Baby Unit, and the cutting of Paediatrics, there is now uncertainty over the future of cancer services. The welcome news last week that the Health Board have committed to the refurbishment of Ward 10, and a new Chemotherapy Day Unit, still does not address the underlying staff shortage problems at the hospital – Withybush does not have an Oncology or Palliative Care consultant. Unfortunately the meeting last Friday left me with more questions than answers. I made it clear that when the new Chief Executive takes up his role in the New Year, he faces an uphill task in reassuring Pembrokeshire people about the delivery of cancer services.” Local Assembly Member, Paul Davies said: “Last week’s meeting was a good opportunity to raise some very real concerns over paediatrics provision in Pembrokeshire. The downgrading of full time paediatric services at Withybush hospital to a 12 hour model has rightly worried families across Pembrokeshire. Unfortunately, following this meeting I still remain unconvinced that these changes will result in safe and sustainable services. Removing services from Withybush Hospital remains a reckless and irresponsible way forward – and I hope the new Chief Executive will seriously examine this issue, when he takes post in the New Year.”

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Port boss: Pembroke Dock development full permission an ‘important step’



THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of the Port of Milford Haven has welcomed a decision of “non-intervention” by the Welsh Government over plans to re-vamp Pembroke Dock’s historic port facilities.

The redevelopment scheme, approved by Pembrokeshire County Council’s Planning Committee in May, will see some areas such as a dock covered with sand and “infilled”.

Plans also include the demolishing of some buildings, erection of buildings and ancillary works.
Despite planning being granted at council level, full authorisation to go ahead with the development was not to be issued until the Welsh Government made its decision regards the matter.

More about the planning application can be read here:

Now that the Welsh Government has decided not to interfere with Pembrokeshire County Council’s grant of planning permission, the Port’s boss, Andy Jones, expressed his delight, saying: “This marks an important step forward in the development of Wales’ clean energy centre at Pembroke Dock.

“It will provide sustainable opportunities for the many people who rely on the activity along the Milford Haven Waterway for employment.

CEO: Port Authority’s Andy Jones (Pic MHPA)

“Pembroke Dock Marine will unlock new opportunities for young people to enter the maritime, renewable and engineering sectors, build resilience within Pembrokeshire’s business community, and make a positive contribution to our natural environment as we transition to a low carbon energy generation.”

Tim James, head of commercial and energy at the Port of Milford Haven called the project a “once in a generation opportunity to improve Pembrokeshire’s economy for years to come”.

Objectors had complained that the plans were too large and would damage the historic dockyard, as well as having a visual impact on the dock.

The was opposition from local heritage campaigners, with complaints over the size of two huge proposed hangars which the project’s critics said would impact adversely the landscape.

The economic benefits of the £60 million marine energy “far outweigh” any impact on the historic environment, a report earlier this year to council planners said.

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Medical evacuation from LPG tanker off St Ann’s Head



ANGLE Lifeboat was launched on service at 12:59pm on Thursday afternoon (Jun 10) to assist in a medical evacuation from a LPG tanker 13 miles SSW off St Ann’s Head.

The coastguard helicopter from Newquay in Cornwall was also on route. With the poor visibility due to fog, Angle all-weather lifeboat was to stand by the vessel to provide an alternative route for evacuation if needed.

After a choppy route in the poor visibility the RNLI volunteers arrived on scene at 2:07pm.

At the time of their arrival, the paramedic from the coastguard helicopter was aboard the vessel preparing the casualty to be winched to the helicopter.

In less than ten minutes the casualty was winched up to the helicopter and flown to hospital, at which point the lifeboat and crews were stood down and headed back to the station.

After rehousing shortly after 3:30pm the lifeboat was washed fuelled and made ready for service shortly after.

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Milford Haven child sex offender Colin Sharpe jailed for 10 years



A MILFORD HAVEN child abuser sat crying in court as details of his four-year long abuse of a schoolgirl were read out.

Colin Sharpe’s teenage victim says she is now “plagued by nightmares” that he will return and abuse her again, Swansea Crown Court heard.

Sharpe, 40, of Howarth Close was told by Judge Paul Thomas QC at Swansea Crown Court that “Your only concern was your own selfish sexual pleasure.”

The court heard that after the matter was reported to police and officers began a search for tSharpe. He was found in his vehicle in a car park at St Ann’s Head.

The court was told that police used their car to block Sharpe’s exist from the car park but he “sped off” across the grass towards the cliff edge before crashing into a fence.

The defendant abandoned his vehicle and made off on foot to the clifftop. A standoff then developed during which police brought in a specialist negotiator to talk him down.

After a lengthy negotiation Sharpe was arrested.

Passing sentence, the judge told Sharpe: “You had no concern for the psychological damage you did.”

He added: “But it is to your credit that you immediately admitted what you had done; this had saved his victim the further ordeal of giving evidence in a trial.

Judge Paul Thomas jailed Sharpe for 10 years and imposed an indefinite order requiring him to sign the sexual offences register on release.

Sharpe will now be subject to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and an indefinite restraining order when he is released.

As The Herald previously reported, Sharpe, who has been on remand since March, admitted one charge of sexual assault and five of sexual activity with a child, all between July 2017 and March 2021.

Police were informed about the sexual abuse by a third party, who discovered what he had done, and he was arrested and questioned early last year.

Earlier, Ian Wright, counsel for the CPS said that Sharpe used “emotional blackmail to frighten the girl into staying silent”.

He added “Matters seem to have come to a head on March 12 this year after Sharpe had once again sexually abused his victim.”

Dean Pulling, defending, said that when the police interviewed Sharpe he gave ‘guilty pleas and admissions’ at the earliest opportunity.

Excerpts from a personal victim statement highlighting the ongoing ordeal of Sharpe’s teenage victim were also read out in court.

“I am having nightmares,” the statement reads.

“I have nightmares of him coming back from prison and starting to do worse. My life has been greatly affected.”

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