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Public force Board to listen



THERE was unrest at Thursday’s (Jan 22) Community Health Council engagement meeting as the public forced the Health Board to cut short their Hywel-Dda-Health-Boardpresentations.

Hywel Dda Chair Bernadine Rees spoke about ‘building a new relationship’ and ‘being open and transparent’ but over an hour had passed before the public got their say.

Community Director for Hywel Dda, Sue Lewis, was halfway through her presentation when when one member of the public got up and shouted: “You’re wasting my breath and I’ve been wasting my time,” before walking out.

Moments later, a woman spoke up saying: “This is a complete waste of time. You are like one of those foreign call centres, giving us a list of things that we don’t want to hear and you are ignoring what we want to say to you. You are proposing all these changes and you are here to consult but this is just a PR job. We know about the problems that exist but we are not getting the services we deserve. You have come here with an agenda and you have spoken for a very long time and it’s about time you let the public speak.”

That prompted applause from the 100-strong audience and Sue Lewis was forced to cut short her presentation.

Another member of the audience remarked that the Health Board were talking at them and not with them. She added: “We have come here to talk, not to be lectured.”

The Director of Public Health, Theresa Owen, had earlier spoken about leading an active lifestyle but another person added: “We want to know what is happening, we know not to smoke and drink. We came here to find out about the nitty gritty of our Health Board.”

One member of the public then went on to speak about the recruitment problems facing Hywel Dda saying: “How can you expect to employ people when they can’t be sure that the job they have is secure?”

Chief Executive Steve Moore responded and talked about a vibrant future for Withybush and added that they needed to assure people that they are putting quality and safety in to everything that they do. He also said that they were looking at bringing care closer to people who live in rural communities.

Another member later added: “In terms of recruitment, why are these people who are showing interest not getting the job?”

Speaking about the problems facing the ambulance service, one person said: “You treat us as if we don’t know. You can’t have an ambulance that goes to Swansea. You haven’t considered the miles they have to travel.”

The Head of Operations for Hywel Dda responded saying that they had considered the miles and also added that six ambulances are on duty in Pembrokeshire and that one of those would be a 24hr vehicle dedicated to Withybush.

Another member of the public talked about the beds in Withybush saying: “There were 384 beds in Withybush when it opened, there are now 120. That is a big bed drop. If you haven’t got a bed there is nowhere to put the patients and this is partly why the ambulance service are overworked.”

He went on to say that months were going by before posts were filled and added that it showed a lack of planning.

Finally he asked if they were aware that nurses were being asked to fill positions in which they were not qualified.

Bernadine Rees responded: “We are all here to protect and support safe and quality services in Pembrokeshire. We have to work together. Hywel Dda wants to be an employer of choice. We are supporting Pembrokeshire services and we want to work with all the groups.”

Another member of the public responded: “If it wasn’t for those groups (SWAT etc.) the public wouldn’t know. The Health Board haven’t been open and honest about what has happened. We need to see you being honest.”

Bernadine Rees responded: “Nobody is shying away from the fact that we need to change.”

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Search for missing Pembrokeshire man scaled back by police



FOLLOWING nine days of extensive searches on land and sea, we can confirm that the search for missing man Jai has been scaled back.

Police said in a statement: “We launched a search for Jai, aged 40, in the area around Hobbs Point on the morning of Monday, 20 March, following a sighting of Jai and his car, a silver Honda Civic, in the area.

“In the past week we have carried out extensive searches using the force’s specialist search team and police search adviser (POLSA), marine unit, specialist sonar, drones, dog unit, as well as working with South Wales Police’s dive team, the NPAS helicopter and Coastguard.

“A decision was made yesterday to scale back the search, which has been communicated with Jai’s family.

“However, we will act on new information, and officers continue with missing person enquiries.
“We are appealing for people not to put themselves in danger, particularly near the River Cleddau, if they are attempting to look for Jai.

“If you have information that could help with that investigation, please let us know:”

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Pembrokeshire chef, Daniel Jones, wins Pub Chef of the Year 2023



TALENTED chef Daniel Jones has scooped first prize in the Pub Chef of the Year category at the International Salon Culinaire awards 2023. The finals of the competition took place at ExCel London on 22 March 2023.

Executive chef Daniel is co-owner of JT at the Abergwaun Hotel, the hotel and restaurant in Fishguard, Pembrokeshire, recently awarded a 4* rating by Visit Wales. His winning dish of Lemon Sole, Spring Vegetables, Bluestone Ale and Pickled Cockle Vinaigrette with ‘Welshman’s caviar’ (handpicked laver seaweed from the Pembrokeshire coast) came first place amongst the seven finalists, and will be introduced to the restaurant’s menu this summer.

International Salon Culinaire is regarded as one of the world’s top competitions for chefs, with over 100 categories, from pastry to knife skills. The competition has been a platform for chefs of all levels, from the talented young chefs training at college, to those who are well established and firmly on their culinary career journey. Gordon Ramsey won Chef of the Year in 1992, and the awards have over the years seen world-class ambassadors including Michel Roux Jr and, this year, Monica Galetti.

The Pub Chef of the Year category launched in 2022 to celebrate the fine food in the pubs and bars of the UK, and to recognise the hard work, expertise and talent in the kitchens of these establishments.

First place winner Daniel said: “I am over the moon to win the Pub Chef of the Year at the International Salon Culinaire. It’s a great honour to have cooked alongside other great culinary talent, and I’m delighted to have been recognised by the esteemed judges on the panel this year. I’ll be taking my accolade back to my hometown of Fishguard, where I hope I’ve made the community proud.”

No stranger to competition, Daniel competed in Masterchef: The Professionals in 2010 and he reached the semi-finals of the National Chef of the Year awards in 2018.

His modern European restaurant JT At the Abergwaun Hotel is steeped in Welsh heritage, supporting local suppliers and offering ingredients like Welsh lamb and beef, plus the famous Fishguard Duck and chicken, along with a selection of fine Welsh cheeses. The A La Carte menu changes daily, depending on what can be sourced that day, from locally foraged, farmed or fished ingredients like local lobster and spider crab.

Daniel will be introducing all-day dining on Saturdays for all to enjoy – including non-hotel guests – and this summer, JT At the Abergwaun Hotel will launch a seven-course tasting menu to showcase Daniel’s award-winning cooking (including his winning dish!) and the local Pembrokeshire produce which he’s so proud of.

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Tuk Tuk touring business with franchise hopes gets licence plate call turned down



A SOUTH Pembrokeshire three-wheeler ‘tuk tuk’ tour business, which has hopes of creating a country-wide franchise has had a call for discreet signage on a support vehicle turned down.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s licensing sub-committee, meeting on March 27, considered an application to amend standard terms and conditions of a private hire vehicle.

The application, by Lorraine Niederlag of Begelly-based Tuk Tuk Time, asked for standard external private hire plates to instead be displayed internally for its “usually affluent” clients.

The application for this change of plates asked: “We wish to request the removal of the large private hire licensing plates, in exchange for more discreet internal plates. The intention is to focus on tours that would compliment our tuk tuk tours.”

The applicants said the charming three-wheeler Tuk Tuks were usually kept to south Pembrokeshire tours, and were not really suitable for county-wide day trips; the support car being used for that.

“As our clients are usually affluent, it would be detrimental to arrive in a pre-booked vehicle with such a ‘taxi’ image. In view of all bookings being pre-booked, we cannot see any safety issues for clients by more discreet signage,” the application added.

At the committee meeting, TUK Tuk Time said it hoped to use the support vehicle, bearing the signage “Wales’ premier travel” for some short trips from its campsite to restaurants until the business grew.

Lorraine Niederlag told members it was hoped that Tuk Tuk Tours could eventually become a franchise, with similar three-wheeler Tuk Tuk and support car schemes running in other parts of the country.

She told members that if the small plates call was turned down the support vehicle would be sold.

Cover image: Giving a shout out to the Rainbow Delivery Squad are Lorraine Niederlag, family and staff of Tuk Tuk Time. Picture: Gareth Davies Photography

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