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‘One complaint’ claims CHC



Surprised by the report: Tony Wales

Surprised by the report: Tony

ON THURSDAY (Jan 8), the Community Health Council reported it had received only one complaint about the transfer of maternity and children’s services to Carmarthen. Responding to the report former Chair of the Community Health Council (CHC), Tony Wales said: “I was extremely surprised to learn from the Pembrokeshire CHC meeting today that the CHC have only received ONE complaint, to date, regarding the transfer of women’s and children’s services to Carmarthen.”

He continued: “Am I to assume that most of what I read on the SWAT Facebook pages are in fact either not true or just highly exaggerated by people who post their accounts of their problem? “If I was a member of the Ministers panel who was tasked to review the impact of service change I would have no alternative but to report back to the Minister that there is no credible evidence to support that there has been any adverse impact on Parents and their children.”

Mr Wales comment on social media generated a number of responses which suggested that there is considerable confusion about the entirely separate roles of the Health Board and the Community Health Council, which is independent of it.

What is a Community Health Council ? 

The Community Health Council (CHC) is made up of 36 members appointed by local councils, the Welsh Government and the voluntary sector. It is separate from and independent to the Health Board. The CHC acts as a monitor on the services provided by the Health Board and to provide advocacy services and support for those who wish to complain about health services.

In addition to these roles it seeks the community’s views on its health service, inspects premises, and provides information about local health services. When the Welsh Government looks to find out how many complaints exist about the local health service, provided by the Health Board, it will normally consult with the CHC to establish what complaints have been made and to which element of service provision they relate. The CHC asks that patients: “Tell us about your experiences of the health service, good or bad.

You may feel that you have not received the quality of service expected and feel upset about what has happened and want an explanation or make a complaint. “Whether it’s any of these or some other matter to do with health service provision, please let us know – that’s what we’re here for.”

What about social media ?

 Complaints made on social media will not be taken into account by the Welsh Government or the Board. Only complaints made through the Community Health Council will be acted upon. The CHC will not conduct or handle litigation, only complaints about service. Comments on Facebook have suggested that the CHC should simply cut and paste records of complaints made on various patient pages and record them as formal complaints.

It cannot do this. It is up to individuals to make complaints to the CHC themselves. If individuals want to complain, they should communicate with the CHC. The CHC’s advocacy service is free of charge and provides an independent client-led advocacy service to those who wish to complain about care or treatment received from the NHS.

Watering down 

The Welsh Government is known to be frustrated by some Community Health Councils for standing in the way of its drive to cut and merge NHS services across Wales. The former chair of the local CHC, Tony Wales, was threatened with libel action for questioning the conduct of the Health Board’s consultation before it proceeded with its planned service cuts in Pembrokeshire.

CHC’s elsewhere in Wales were also urged to water down their objections to plans to centralise health services. The Welsh Government now plans to seize control of the CHC’s by putting one of its own placements in post as the head of the national body for Community Health Councils. As we have previously reported, the current Chief of the local CHC, Ashley Warlow, is stepping down at the end of this month. No replacement for Mr Warlow has been sought or appointed at this stage, despite him providing his notice in October 2014.

 If you have a complaint 

Lyn Neville from Pembrokeshire Cancer Support contacted us after hearing the CHC’s report of a single complaint. He told us: “It is very important that if you have a problem you report it to the Pembrokeshire Community Health Council who are the public’s Health Service Watchdog.

“The Welsh Assembly have a duty to review service changes and if problems are not fully reported it will appear that there are no issues and everything is fine. “We all know this is not the case. The Health Board will ignore stories in the Press and on Facebook etc but they cannot ignore your ‘official’ complaints.”

He continued: “So, please – if you have had, are having, or have in the future – a negative experience involving Maternity or Paediatric care you must tell the Community Health Council. “You can Telephone, e-mail or write to them. This can be done anonymously if you prefer not to give your name.” The contact details are – Telephone – 01646 697610 (when told Press “1” for the Pembrokeshire Branch of CHC).

Email – uk Write to – Pembrokeshire Community Health Council, Suite 1, Cedar Court, Haven’s Head, Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, SA73 3LS Contact the Advocacy Service Phone: 01267 236326; Email: HDDComplaints. Lyn concluded by asking: “Please do this as it could save a life and make a huge difference to our services at our Hospital.”

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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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