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Top cancer doc quits

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THE PEMBROKESHIRE HERALD can reveal that Dr Anne Barnes MBE has quit her post at Withybush Hospital following a dispute
with the Local Health Board. 

Sources close to Ward 10 have told this newspaper that Dr Barnes, awarded the MBE for her services to cancer patients in Pembrokeshire, walked outdocterlast Friday (Jan 30), having become frustrated with what she perceived as the Health Board’s failure to deliver on assurances given previously to her.

Dr Barnes had agreed to come out of retirement to ‘hold the fort’ at Withybush Hospital while the Board made permanent arrangements for specialist staff cover at the ward. It is understood that Dr Barnes became dissatisfied with the arrangements the Board had put in place and was not prepared to continue in the circumstances in which she found herself.

One current staff member told us: “I know that after all the reassurances that Ward 10 would remain dedicated to palliative care and cancer patients, it is now a general medical ward. This means that non-specialist consultants have control of patients’ admissions and treatment.” Dr Barnes told us: “When I put in my notice of retirement, the Health Board had made no successor arrangements.

They asked me to return to set up a full-time acute oncology service. I accepted the challenge to keep the service going. I was asked to extend my contract from December to the end of January. I said I was prepared to do so under certain conditions, which were not met. I went back to work last month to work to its end, but no progress was made.

I was left unable to admit patients and had no junior doctors to work with.” She continued: “I was asked to extend that contract beyond the end of January. I had no written contract. As I felt the Board was not giving me the facilities to provide a good standard service, I decided to leave. I told them on January 20 that I was leaving. The Board told me they wanted me to work notice of a month, but at that stage my fixed term contract ending December 31 was already over.

“Yesterday (Feb 4), I received a letter dated January 30, asking me to sign an extension to my contract!” Dr Barnes concluded: “I feel very upset about the situation. I wanted to try but my feeling is that I cannot come to an agreement with the Health Board that would enable me to deliver the level of service which I consider to be of an acceptable standard.

I prefer, therefore, to leave the service and hope that the Board is able to find a replacement.” Dr Sian Lewis Acute Services Clinical Director and Consultant in Haematology told The Herald: “Dr Barnes has this week withdrawn from the part-time post in oncology and palliative care. The service model introduced six months ago is unaffected by this and patients will continue to receive oncology, palliative care and chemotherapy services at Withybush Hospital, from a team of doctors and nurses, as they do now.”

 

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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50

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EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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Nolton Haven: Man hospitalised after getting into difficulties in sea

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A MAN was taken to hospital after getting into difficulties in the sea off Nolton Haven on Friday.

Emergency services were alerted at 2.40pm on February 26 by a 999 call to the control centre.

The Little Haven RNLI lifeboat, Broad Haven Coastguard, an ambulance crew and a Coastguard rescue helicopter assisted police in the operation.

The male casualty was stabilised on the beach and shortly before 4.30pm, was then transported to Withybush Hospital.

A police spokesman told The Herald: “We were called to a male who had got into difficulties in the water at Nolton Haven shortly before 3pm.

“He was taken to hospital by ambulance.”

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Cyclist killed on A40 was serving police officer, force confirms

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A CYCLIST who died after a crash with a van on the A40 in Carmarthenshire was a serving police officer with Dyfed-Powys Police, the force has confirmed in a statement to Herald.Wales.

The driver of the van involved in the crash, which happened on Thursday (Feb 25) has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, it was confirmed on Friday (Feb 26).

Police are investigating the fatal collision, which caused the road to be closed for 12 hours, and are asking for any witnesses to come forward by calling 101.

37-year-old Lynwen Thomas, who is a former student at Ysgol Bro Myrddin, Croes-y-Ceiliog, Carmarthen, was a sergeant and a very well-respected member of Dyfed-Powys Police.

A spokesperson for the police said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues, who have all been offered specialist support. We ask that family members are given the privacy they need at this difficult time.”

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