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Cancer care investment promise



Commitment from Health Broad: Major improvements need to happen to give cancer patients the care they deserve

Commitment from Health Broad: Major improvements need to happen to give cancer patients the care they deserve

RADICAL plans to change the way in which cancer services are delivered at Withybush will mean that 24-hour inpatient paediatric care will be unlikely ever to return to Withybush Hospital. The planned reshuffle of cancer services sets out that Oncology will stay in its current location within the hospital building, whereas Ward 10 will move to Ward 9. Under that scheme, Paediatrics would move to Ward 14 and the Cancer Day Unit (CDU) to the current Ward 10 location.

There is now a 73-week programme from start to finish for the service reconfiguration. The projected costs of the move to Ward 9 is believed to be in excess of £880K, while the CDU projected cost is in excess of £900K. Last week, the Board unveiled a second project board for its plans for the new Cancer facilities at the Hospital. That unveiling took place ahead of a meeting of a stakeholder group that discussed the Board’s new development plans. Speaking afterwards, Chris Evans- Thomas MBE of Adams Bucketful of Hope said: “This is the biggest statement you could wish for this Christmas!

I asked for a sign the same size as the one that was erected to announce the Kidney Dialysis Unit and bingo! – it was up in plenty of time for Christmas. Thank you Sue Lewis and Paul Hawkins. Things are definitely moving!” Lyn Neville, of Pembrokeshire Cancer Support, told The Herald: “I am concerned that staff have still not been asked for their views and advice on a move for CDU. “Surely that have the knowledge and expertise to know best what is required of a new unit. I know we are at planning stage but there is no point drawing plans if you do not know exactly what is required of them. I hope the Health Board allow the staff to be involved in the project.”

Sue Lewis County Director & Commissioner said: “This was a really positive meeting. The new development is supported by the ongoing efforts of our local charities and the generous donations of the people of Pembrokeshire and we will be working in partnership to deliver the new service. Work on the project will commence in 2015.” The Board also announced that it and fundraising groups are meeting on a regular basis to progress these developments in areas including recruitment and retention of specialist staff; and reviewing other modern healthcare facilities developed with community and patient representatives, such as the Renal Unit at the hospital.

The two cancer charities have also celebrated their own recent successes. Lyn Neville, Pembrokeshire Cancer Support Coordinator was recently awarded the Pembroke Dock Town Council Award of Merit and Bucketful of Hope organised a well-attended Christmas Ball, which has raised further charitable funds for the group. The erection of the Board and the announcement of the new plans’ scope, follows a recent Welsh Government announcement that it would not create a specialist fund for cancer drugs in Wales, as the NHS has in England.

In November, Health Minister Mark Drakeford rejected the need for a cancer drugs fund, saying the system in the Welsh NHS was ‘fair to all patients, is clinically driven, provides good outcomes at a cost effective price – and that is the right way to do it.’ On that occasion, the minister was being challenged by the Conservatives to respond to a nearly 100,000-signature petition calling for one to be set up in Wales. Instead, Welsh patients suffering from all illnesses, including cancer, must apply for health board funding for the drugs through the Individual Patient Funding Request (IPFR) system.

Research by the Rarer Cancers Foundation in 2013 found patients in Wales are four times less likely to receive new treatment than those in England. In addition, the Welsh Government has come in for strong criticism on the issue of cancer patients’ waiting time for treatment. In May, the Welsh Government changed the way that cancer waiting times were calculated, conceding that early intervention was vital to successfully tackle the disease. However, cancer waiting time targets have been missed every month since 2008, continue to be missed, despite the Welsh Government’s attempt to adjust how waiting times are reckoned.

Plaid Cymru’s Elin Jones, the Shadow Health Minister told The Herald: “The Labour Welsh Government cancer target is still not being met. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment can make a vital difference to people with cancer, but in Wales too many patients are having to wait too long. “The First Minister promised that the Welsh Government would meet its cancer treatment target by October 2013, but more than a year later that still hasn’t happened. Major improvements need to happen if we are to give cancer patients the care they deserve. This must start with strong leadership from the Welsh Government.”

In the Hywel Dda Health Board area, the percentage of cancer patients’ starting treatment within 62 days of urgent referral is 87.6%, a marginal but significant improvement on the national average of 85.1%. The number of patients starting treatment in 31 days on a non-urgent referral route is slightly worse than the Welsh national average at 96.6%.

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Tenby: Air Ambulance medivac patient with suspected broken leg



PARAMEDICS asked for assistance, and the Wales Air Ambulance were subsequently tasked with tending to an incident at Tenby harbour on Sunday (Oct 2).

A male required assistance due to a fall around the beach area, and suffered a suspected broken leg.

A spokesperson for the air ambulance said: “Our overnight crew arrived on scene at 8.12 pm.

“Following treatment at the scene from our on-board medics, we airlifted the patient to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. Our involvement concluded at 10.31 pm.”

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Cleddau Bridge was closed due to concerns over person in distress



THE CLEDDAU BRIDGE was closed just after midnight on Sunday morning after reports of concern over a person in distress.

A number of police units attended the incident, and an ambulance was put on standby, but thankfully was not needed. The bridge was closed for around a hour, with a diversion put in place.

Nearby residents noted the flashing lights from multiple emergency services on the bridge and posted statuses on Facebook wishing for the person’s safety.

Some other witnesses on the Pembroke Dock side of the estuary noted activity in the water from small vessels in the area under the bridge, which they believed may have been boats put on standby.

In a statement a spokesperson from the Welsh Ambulance Service said: “We were called in the early hours of Sunday morning at 12:43am to reports of an incident on the A477, Cleddau Bridge.

“We sent one emergency ambulance but were subsequently stood down.”

At just after 1am Sunday the police posted the following on their official Facebook page, confirming that the incident was over: “Cleddau Bridge has now reopened. Thank you for your patience.”

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Thirty bags of cocaine – worth £90m – wash up on west Wales beach



DYFED-POWYS POLICE has confirmed that what is expected to be a large quantity of the class A drug cocaine has washed up on on a west Wales beach this weekend.

The Herald understands that a man walking on Tan-y-Bwlch beach, south of Aberystwyth, made the discovery early on Saturday morning – which at street value could be sold for as much as £90m.

The beach walker found 30 black bags on the sand which had been tied together with a rope and empty gallon jerry cans for buoyancy.

Inside each black bag were 30 x1kg blocks, labelled with the name of fashion brand Dior – the mark of a Latin-American cartel – indicating 100% purity.

A similar brick of cocaine confiscated in Australia (File)

Thinking the package was suspicious, the man called the police.

When the police arrived, one of the bags was cut open and inside was what appeared to be cocaine.

The suspected cocaine was then taken away by officers, and it has now been confirmed that the white powder inside the bags is believed to be cocaine.

A spokeswoman for Dyfed-Powys Police said: “We are investigating the discovery of a significant quantity of what is thought to be cocaine, spotted along the Ceredigion coast this weekend.

“Enquiries are being undertaken to establish how such an unusually large amount of the controlled drug came to wash up on the Welsh shore, following recent storms.

“The precise quantity is still being established and at this time no-one has been arrested in relation to this matter. Officers have thanked those who found the packages and their sensible actions in reporting the matter immediately.”

No arrests have been made.

The UK’s cocaine market is estimated to be worth more than £25.7 million daily, according to the National Crime Agency’s latest strategic threat assessment.

Figures released by the agency earlier this year revealed how cocaine seizures nationwide have soared by 161 per cent between early 2020 and early last year.

A suspected £90million haul of cocaine was found on beach
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