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Cancer care investment promise

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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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Permit applications open for Tenby pedestrianisation scheme

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL is now accepting applications for vehicle access during this year’s Pedestrianisation of Tenby.

The scheme, which is due to start on Monday, July 5 and conclude on Friday, September 10, will again see the walled town divided into three ‘zones’, each having varying degrees of vehicle access.

Whilst all necessary plans are being put in place for it to start and finish on the above dates, the scheme will remain under constant review in light of Government guidance relating to Covid-19, and the Council will provide any updates as necessary.

Possession of an ‘access permit’ does not provide any exemption from Government restrictions, and any regulations relating to travel and the occupation of holiday accommodation or second homes must be observed at all times.

Following the success of last year, the permit application process will continue online, with paper application forms and guidance notes no longer being delivered to residents and businesses.

The application form and guidance notes are available from pembrokeshire.gov.uk/tenby-pedestrianisation

Residents and business within Tenby are encouraged to complete the application process as soon as possible, to ensure that there is sufficient time for the application to be processed.

Permits will be issued approximately 7-10 days prior to the start of the scheme.

For enquiries, e-mail tenby.pedestrian@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

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Join the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Panel as an independent member

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THE Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Panel is looking for two members to join them in their work to support and challenge the Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner.

The Panel is made of up of members nominated by Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys county councils along with at least two independent members.

Opportunities have now arisen for two independent members to join the Panel and carry out key statutory roles that will support the Commissioner exercise his role effectively.

Members will be expected to attend and take part in regular meetings and take part in decision making, creating reports and making recommendations to the Commissioner.

They will review the Commissioner’s annual draft Police and Crime Plan and annual draft budget, review and scrutinise his decisions and actions, and if necessary review the proposed appointment or removal of the Chief Constable and other senior police force appointments.

Applicants will need to demonstrate that they can take a balanced and objective approach in supporting the Panel and the Commissioner, make strategic and well-informed decisions, and interpret and question financial, statistical and performance related information.

They will also need to be able to act as a ‘critical friend’, challenging views or proposals for change constructively.

Applications close on May 31, and appointments to the Panel will be made until October 31, 2024. 

For further information, visit www.dppoliceandcrimepanel.wales

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Successful Fire Service and Health Board partnership to enhance COVID-19 vaccine roll out comes to end

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TUESDAY 11 May 2021 marked the end of a hugely successful partnership between Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and Hywel Dda University Health Board, initiated to enhance the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine to the communities of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

Since February, Community Safety Staff from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have transported 125 passengers over 9450 miles to ensure they were able to receive their COVID-19 vaccination.

Chris Davies, Chief Fire Officer for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “Recognising the configuration of our Service, the areas we cover and indeed the people we employee, this seemed an ideal opportunity for us to widen our response to the pandemic and support our partners in safeguarding our communities.

“Whilst we already collaborate with the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust, this opportunity enabled us to expand our assistance further within the health arena. This partnership with Hywel Dda University Health Board was the first of its kind for Fire and Rescue Services in Wales and paved the way for a number of similar partnerships for us and the other Fire and Rescue Services in Wales.

“I am extremely proud of our staff who have participated in this collaboration and have made a huge difference to the lives of so many people. Their contribution has without doubt had a positive impact on our response to this global pandemic”.

Mydrian Harries, Corporate Head of Prevention and Protection for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, coordinated the Service’s response to this call for assistance.

“Our communities are at the heart of our core business. Knowing we were in a position to make an impact, we put in place a robust solution in record time, to not only ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff, but to also safeguard those who were eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination, but may have had barriers preventing them from attending their appointments.

“Using this partnership as template within which we could expand, we have since been able to offer our assistance to other Health Boards across the Service area. Indeed, a group of 10 vaccine heroes from our Service have joined Powys Teaching Health Board’s vaccination team, playing their part in distributing vaccines at mass vaccination sites in Newtown and Builth Wells. This is another fantastic example of how working together has been vital in our ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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