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Assembly announce bill on alcohol pricing

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BEERSTHE WELSH ASSEMBLY Deputy Minister for Health has announced a plan to introduce minimum pricing on the unit cost of alcohol. AM Vaughan Gething unveiled the draft, ‘Public Health (Minimum Price for Alcohol) (Wales) Bill’, and stated that it would ‘help save lives by tackling the impact on health and society and drinking too much alcohol’.

The bill proposes introducing an offence for alcohol to be sold or supplied below the minimum price per unit, which would be set at 50p per unit, although this, it says, would be kept under review. The Welsh Government claim that Introducing a 50p minimum unit price is estimated to be worth £882m to the Welsh economy in terms of reductions in illness, crime and workplace absence over 20 years. They state that alcohol misuse in Wales is estimated to cost the Welsh NHS around £109m every year in hospital admissions alone.

They have also linked the problem with crime, and the cost of crime to the taxpayer, which they say would also be expected to fall following the introduction of a minimum unit price, with, they claim, an estimated 3,684 fewer offences a year. Workplace absence the Government says would also fall by up to 10,000 days per year.

The draft bill also proposes new powers for Welsh Ministers to make subordinate legislation to set the minimum unit price for all alcohol sold or supplied in Wales as well as powers for local authorities to enforce the minimum unit price, including powers of entry for authorised officers; an offence of obstructing an authorised officer and the power to issue fixed penalty notices.

Mr Gething said: “Tackling alcohol misuse is a priority for the Welsh Government. In 2013, there were 467 alcohol-related deaths in Wales. Each of these deaths was preventable. This new draft Bill signifies our firm commitment to use our legislative powers to improve and protect the health of the people of Wales. Evidence shows that introducing minimum unit price of 50p per unit would be effective in reducing alcohol consumption, alcohol-related harms and the costs associated with those harms. It will save lives, reduce rates of crime, help ensure valuable NHS resources are used wisely and help businesses by reducing absence from the workplace. Minimum unit pricing will affect those drinks sold at unacceptably low prices relative to their alcohol content. This is a particularly well-targeted measure as it will only have a small impact on moderate drinkers and have the biggest impact on high-risk drinkers.”

The Bill has been met with general approval with Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Health, Darren Millar AM, saying: “A minimum unit price for alcoholic drinks will not in itself address the problems caused by alcohol in society but it would be a step in the right direction. Minimum pricing should be part of a broader package of measures which should include improved education about the dangers of alcohol to younger people and a greater investment in alcohol abuse services. While we will support the Welsh Government’s aims in principle, it will be important to resolve questions which remain over whether the proposals fall within the devolution settlement. The cost of alcohol abuse is incalculable and is often a contributory factor in homelessness, unwanted pregnancy, violence, road accidents, marital break-up and obesity. The need to tackle substance misuse is absolutely crucial.”

The Party of Wales Shadow Health Minister Elin Jones said: “Plaid Cymru has always supported action to minimise the misuse of alcohol and we support minimum pricing. We will scrutinise this Bill thoroughly as it makes its way through the Assembly. However, figures show that alcohol is most widely misused by the professional and managerial classes who are less sensitive to price increases. This Bill in its current form will not tackle this problem – the Labour Government must do more if we are to tackle this problem across the whole socio-economic spectrum.”

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Health

Proposed locations for new hospital site to be reviewed

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HYWEL DDA UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD (UHB) will this week undertake a review of potential sites as part of the ongoing process to identify a suitable location for a new hospital.

Eleven sites will be assessed on Friday 22 October, including those identified by members of the public during the six-week engagement exercise, which took place earlier this year.

This stage of the process is intended to lead to the creation of a shortlist of sites. This will be subject to further detailed appraisal with significant public and wider stakeholder involvement. The final decision about the chosen site will be made by the health board, in agreement with Welsh Government.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “The building of a new hospital is a major long-term project, which is why we place great emphasis on being open and transparent about the process involved.

“The process we are following includes developing a programme business case to support our strategy for community and hospital-based health and care. As part of the process to apply for funding from the Welsh Government, we will submit the programme business case, and then individual outline business cases, then the final business cases for the new infrastructure we will need. The health board will therefore engage with the public on a regular basis between now and the submission of the final business cases to ensure your views are fully considered.

“I understand and recognise there are passionate feelings about a new hospital, but we strongly believe a new facility is essential for urgent and planned care in the south of the Hywel Dda area. It will provide trauma care and be the main emergency department for the south of our area.

“I can also reassure the public that we have no plans or intention to close either Glangwili or Withybush hospitals. We will engage further on how these hospitals could work alongside the proposed new hospital.”

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Unprecedented demand on health and social care services in local area

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Joint statement by Hywel Dda University Health Board, the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Pembrokeshire County Council, Carmarthenshire County Council and Ceredigion County Council

The urgent statement we have asked to publish is as follows:

THERE is currently an unprecedented demand on health and social care services across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, which is leading to significant delays in care provision. Put simply, the difficulty in discharging medically-fit patients from hospital – many of whom have complex personal circumstances and needs – is leading to significant bed shortages, and consequently, lengthy ambulance waits at the ‘front door’ of A&E departments, which mean that paramedics are unable to respond to other 999 calls in the community.Social care and Health teams are doing everything possible to support people who are well enough to leave hospital but need ongoing care. Priority is being given to the most vulnerable, and alternative health and care packages are being offered as a short-term measure. More carers and health staff are also being recruited to support people in need.

If you have a relative or loved one in hospital who is well enough to go home, but is waiting to be discharged with homecare and community health support, you may be able to help them to get home more quickly if you and your family are in a position to support them at home. If your relative is waiting for a formal package of care, you may be able to offer support and care on a short term, temporary arrangement or you might want to consider whether your loved one could be supported in a temporary residential or nursing care setting. If you feel that this is an option that you could consider, please speak to the ward manager or your social worker to explore further.

Spending as little time in hospital is better for patients and means that NHS beds can be freed up for others with urgent care needs. Supporting older patients to get home from hospital efficiently is an important part of their recovery and it also protects them from negative consequences of hospital admission, such as hospital acquired infection, falls and a loss of independence.  You can find out more about the hospital discharge process and guidance here: Inpatient information – Hywel Dda University Health Board (nhs.wales)

Your support not only helps your loved one, but it is a huge support to the NHS and social care services as well.

Thank you.

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Child taken to hospital following collision with car outside school

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AN EARLY morning collision outside Ysgol Harri Tudor school, Pembroke, has seen a child taken to hospital.

The collision happened between a child and a car on Pembroke Road, Pembroke, at approximately 9am this morning.

A secondary school pupil has been taken to hospital via ambulance for what is said to be minor injuries.

Police and ambulance service were on the scene and were helped by school staff to manage the incident.

A police spokesperson said: “Dyfed-Powys Police attended a road traffic collision involving a car and a secondary school pupil this morning, 21st October 2021. The collision occurred on Pembroke Road, Pembroke at approximately 9:00am.

“The Ambulance Service also attended and escorted the teenage boy to hospital with what are believed to be minor injuries.”

A Pembrokeshire County Council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that there has been an incident outside Ysgol Harri Tudur in Pembroke this morning where a pupil came into contact with a car. 

“The police and ambulance have been on the scene and were assisted by school staff. We are not able to release any further details at present.”

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