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Withybush: Overseas doctors say they have received ‘a wonderful welcome’

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WithybushDOCTORS from overseas who are helping to maintain medical services at Withybush Hospital, Haverfordwest, say they have received ‘a wonderful welcome’ from the NHS and patients alike. 

Eight international doctors have now been employed directly by Hywel Dda University Health Board as clinical fellows to support the junior doctor rota and maintain emergency and medical services at the hospital for the Pembrokeshire population.

They have been provided with a two-year training scheme which mirrors many elements of the traditional core medical training (CMT) scheme for junior doctors in the UKs after Withybush Hospital was not allocated any CMTs in August of this year.

Twenty-seven-year-old Yan Lynn Htoo, from Burma, is based in the Emergency and Urgent Care Centre.

He said: “I applied for the job after seeing it advertised on the NHS jobs website and both the hospital and the local area have exceeded my expectations. I was quite anxious when I arrived having not worked in the UK before, but my shadowing and training has been invaluable and I have been supported by the whole multi-disciplinary team.

“In Myanmar (Burma) there is quite a hierarchy where doctors delegate responsibility for things like investigations and bloods to other members of staff. Here the doctor keeps responsibility and that is of benefit as you are personally responsible and there is less likelihood of unnecessary delay or information being missed in translation.

“Everything is computerised, so that has definitely been something of a challenge to overcome but colleagues have been really helpful and we work as one team. Patients have also been very nice and it has been a real insight to be based in the emergency department and see a full range of presentations from those with medical complaints, to those needing surgery, or young children with minor injuries.”

Dr Htoo undertook his medical training back in Myanmar (Burma) and worked previously in Mandalay General Hospital in the specialist areas of medicine, surgery, paediatrics, and obstetrics and gynaecology.

“Although some healthcare is provided free of charge in Myanmar (Burma), for specialist investigations like CT scans you usually have to pay,” he said. “Hopefully one day Myanmar (Burma) will have a system similar to the NHS where healthcare is free at the point of delivery.”

Dr Htoo’s initial intense induction is now complete and he is playing an active role on the junior doctor rota, whilst at the same time studying to achieve further qualifications over a two year period. This will be invaluable to my future career and I am very grateful,” he said.

Dr Htoo is also hoping to spend time travelling around Pembrokeshire and the local area. “I researched the area before applying for the position and part of the attraction was the beautiful beaches, which surpass those in England. I can see the hospital has its challenges being in a rural area, but hopefully this programme is part of the solution.”

The training programme offered by Hywel Dda University Health Board is the first of its kind in Wales and aims to recruit doctors to rural hospitals in an environment of a shortage of junior doctors across the UK. As part of the scheme, the university health board purchases an e-portfolio for each doctor to enable them to build their competencies and achieve qualifications just like other trainee doctors in the NHS.

Another clinical fellow who joined the scheme is 27-year-old Azhar Hussain, from Pakistan. Dr Hussain, who trained at Mayo Hospital in Lahore, is based primarily with the gastroenteritis team.

He said: “I am very grateful to Hywel Dda University Health Board for investing so robustly into this training scheme, which will give each of us invaluable portfolio experience over the two years. I don’t think any other hospital in the UK is doing this and I must say the whole experience – from the induction to the teaching and support with settling into the UK – has been excellent.

“The whole multi-disciplinary team at Withybush Hospital have been very patient and helpful with us. I would particularly like to mention the pharmacy department who have gone out of their way to assist us with protocols, my educational mentor Dr Faiz Ali who has taken such a personal interest in my wellbeing, Dr Chris James who has given much of his time to the clinical fellows on a daily basis, Erika Cowie and Tracy Sandell from Medical Education for setting up everything for our in-hospital simulation training sessions, and the entire medical, nursing, HR and Post Graduate support teams.”

Dr Hussain and his wife are settling well into the Haverfordwest area and have enjoyed seeing some of the local beauty spots and sites of interest.

“I must admit the weather hasn’t been the most co-operative,” said Dr Hussain. “I was working with the out-of-hours GPs the other evening when storm Barney hit and the winds shook the car as we passed over the Cleddau Bridge.”

Chief Executive Steve Moore recently met with Dr Htoo, Dr Hussain and others employed as part of the programme. He said: “Last summer we were faced with a great challenge and we put huge effort into finding a solution that would work for our area. It has been great to hear first-hand how this training is benefiting these doctors, whilst also contributing to our ability to sustain healthcare services for our population.

“We don’t underestimate the ongoing challenges with recruitment in medical and nursing staff, but this scheme is part of what we are doing proactively to adapt to the environment in which we operate.”

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Health

Police and drugs advice service issue warning over ‘deadly batch’ of heroin

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POLICE have asked the media to issue a warning over a batch of heroin.

The drug circulating in west Wales, first detected in Llanelli, is particularly dangerous, it has been confirmed.

“We are warning drug users to take extra care following reports of a particularly harmful batch of heroin circulating in the Llanelli area” said a Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson.

“We have reasons to believe some drugs being distributed and used in the Carmarthenshire area at present have been contaminated with other substances and could be extremely dangerous for anyone taking them.

“We would also appeal to drug users to seek medical attention immediately if they become unwell.

“Please share this information with anyone you believe could come into contact with these drugs.

”In an emergency or if you think someone’s life is at risk always dial 999.”

Earlier this week Barod, the drug and alcohol abuse service reported a dangerous and toxic heroin circulating in Pembroke Dock which a spokesperson described as being ‘potentially deadly’.

To comes as Public Health England issued a formal alert about the risks of heroin containing fentanyl or carfentanyl.

The warning reads: “There is significant evidence from a small number of post-mortem results of recent drug user deaths and from police seizures that some heroin may contain fentanyl or carfentanyl added by dealers.

“These are highly potent synthetic opioids and very small amounts can cause severe or even fatal toxicity.

“Those of you in contact with heroin users should be alert to the increased possibility of overdose arising from heroin cut with these synthetic opioids, be able to recognise possible symptoms of overdose and respond appropriately.”

The fentanyls are a group of synthetic opioids; some have legitimate uses while others are illicit drugs.

Fentanyl is about 100 times more potent than morphine and is a licensed medicine used to treat severe and terminal pain. Carfentanyl is 4,000 – 10,000 times more potent than morphine and principally used as an animal tranquilliser.

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Tenby’s famous walrus ‘Wally’ has been spotted again

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TENBY’S most famous marine animal has been spotted again after fears she had been scared away.

Wally was spotted on Friday evening by the seaside town’s Lifeboat station.

Thought to be a two-year-old male, the walrus’s return comes after it was feared she had been disturbed by people flocking to catch a glimpse of her and “getting too close”

The animal has attracted hundreds of people to the seaside town now that the travel restrictions with Wales have been lifted to coincide with the Easter school holidays.

Wally was last seen on Monday, but  members of the public were warned it was in the animal’s “best interests” to be “left alone” as much as possible and they were urged to “avoid the temptation to get near and disturb” her.

A joint statement was issued by the RSPCA, Tenby harbour master Chris Salisbury, Welsh Marine Life Rescue, Tenby lifeboat coxswain Phil John, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Natural Resources Wales and CSIP Marine Environmental Rescue said that they were concerned to hear that people had tried to get close by using personal watercraft or paddle and surfboards.

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Police plan to deter badly behaved youths from gathering in Tenby

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POLICE in Tenby responded to community concerns over antisocial behaviour and groups of between 15-20 youths gathering and clashing over the Easter bank holiday weekend. They moved the youths on, seized alcohol from them and stopped matters escalating when there were clashes between the groups. And they have a clear message ahead of this weekend – there will be extra police patrols and presence in Tenby, including on the trains, so this type of behaviour won’t be tolerated.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers used powers under the Antisocial Behaviour Act to disperse groups of youngsters meeting to drink alcohol in and around Tenby, many of whom had travelled by train to the area to meet up.

Based on these scenes from last weekend, plans are in place as part of a joint operation with Pembrokeshire County Council licensing officers and British Transport Police, to address and prevent any further gatherings.

A Section 34 Order is in place covering Tenby, which allows officers to move people out of the area and prevent them from returning for up to 48 hours.

Sergeant Stuart Wheeler said: “Following last weekend we had some concern from the community of Tenby, due to antisocial behaviour related to the groups of youths from Pembroke, Pembroke Dock and Tenby, and subsequently those groups clashing. Alcohol consumption by these youngsters was a factor.

“Proactive action was taken, and we are keen to avoid a repeat of this behaviour this weekend, and have therefore put plans in place. Additional resources have been allocated, which will allow us to respond quickly and prevent matters from escalating.

“Tenby Neighbourhood Policing Team and response officers, will be carrying out high visibility patrols in the area, covering areas known to be popular with youngsters. Pembrokeshire County Council licensing officers will be assisting us in ensuring youngsters can’t buy alcohol in the area by visiting shops and reminding them of the laws around selling alcohol, and if they bring it with them it will be seized. And our colleagues in British Transport Police will be patrolling the train network to prevent problematic groups getting to Tenby by train.”

Police are also appealing to parents and carers to know where their children are, and what they are doing.

Sergeant Wheeler added: “We would like to appeal directly to parents to be aware of where their children are, and prevent them from gathering in large groups. This type of behaviour is distressing for people living and working in Tenby, and we are urging you to be accountable for your children’s actions.

“We understand that the past few months have been difficult, and that children want to see their friends, but remember that only 6 people from 2 households can meet outdoors still. Please do your best to ensure they are adhering to regulations that are in place for all our safety.”

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