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Case not made for reopening MIUs



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Announced a commitment: Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar

THE WELSH GOVERNMENT has criticised a manifesto pledge by the Welsh Conservatives to reopen minor injury units in Pembrokeshire, saying that there was insufficient demand for the services provided by these units, and that the plan would divert front-line staff away from A&E wards unnecessarily.

Last week Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar announced a commitment to ‘to maintain all existing emergency departments and to re-establish minor injury units (MIUs) in community hospitals which have seen theirs axed by the Labour government – in Newtown, Tenby and Colwyn Bay and in the Rhyl/Prestatyn area.’

Coincidentally, three of these MIUs are situated in Assembly constituencies currently held by the Conservatives.

Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire AM Angela Burns welcomed the pledge: “In the constituency over the last 15 years I have seen our NHS services being neglected and eroded and have fought hard to stop the dreadful closures and movement away from Withybush,” she said.

“This pledge would be absolutely fantastic for the whole future of the health service in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire – investing in Withybush and taking the awful burden off Glangwili.

“Unfortunately the list of axed MIUs is long but I have been lobbying Darren for the Tenby MIU to be included in his commitments and I am delighted that he has accepted the case for a cast iron commitment to Tenby”

Mr Millar further claimed that Wales has ‘seen the largest reductions in healthcare spending of any of the UK nations,’ and announced plans to establish a £20 million ‘Community Hospital Development Fund.’ “Labour has been running the NHS in Wales since 1997, but they are running it into the ground,” Mr Millar claimed.

“In contrast to their legacy of cuts, closures and downgrades, we are making a commitment today to secure, re-open and widen access to NHS services in Wales.

“There would be no reorganisation of the health service under a Welsh Conservative Health Minister and key minor injury units so cruelly closed by Labour, would be re-established to relieve pressure on our emergency departments and provide more convenient access to patients.

“We have always championed the retention of frontline services and consistently opposed the downgrading that has forced patients and their families to travel further for treatment.”


In response, Health Minister Mark Drakeford claimed that the plans would provide an under-used substandard service, and suggested that the Conservative party’s UK record when in charge of the NHS was questionable at best: “The Welsh Labour Government is investing in a modern Welsh NHS,” Professor Drakeford claimed.

“According to the Treasury’s own figures, Wales spends £172 more per person on health and social services combined than in England.

“The Tories are condemning communities across Wales to unsafe and substandard services which ignore best medical advice and the gold standards which NHS services throughout the UK are striving to meet. The Tories are telling people in Tenby, Rhyl, Newtown and Colwyn Bay that they are only worth second or third best with this plan.

“By seeking to reopen minor injury units which only saw a handful of patients every week, the Tories are not just wasting money but they are threatening the very viability of the emergency departments they claim to want to protect by diverting experienced A&E staff away from the busy frontline.

“We have seen what happens to the NHS when the Tories are in charge – a top-down reorganisation no one wanted; fragmentation; increasing privatisation as the health service is sold off piece by piece and spiralling deficits. The NHS is only safe with Labour.”

Tenby MIU closed in 2013 after a survey taken during August (Tenby’s busiest month) showed that a large majority of patients could be more appropriately treated by other healthcare providers. For example, of the 224 patients seen, 43% could have been treated by a GP or Care on Call, while 19% needed treatment at Withybush Hospital A&E department.

At the time, a Hywel Dda UHB spokesperson said: “By moving forward with the closure of the Minor Injury Unit at Tenby Hospital, which currently sees a low number of attendances throughout the year, the health board will be able to redeploy our experienced nurse practitioners to enhance the Accident and Emergency Department service at Withybush Hospital for the benefit of urgent patients from across Pembrokeshire.

“Following the summer service pilot, it is clear that the majority of people only attend the unit for very minor injuries or illnesses, which can be dealt with by self care or through primary healthcare such as their GP or a local pharmacy.”


Labour Assembly candidate Marc Tierney claimed that the plans showed that the Conservatives were ‘out of touch’ with issues in the constituency: “Over the last year, I’ve spoken up and lobbied the Health Board about securing primary care services in Tenby. As a result, the Health Board will bring forward an update on plans to develop an integrated model of health care for Tenby and district at its Board meeting at the end of this month,” he added.

“As our population ages, we need fresh ideas for our NHS and the challenges ahead. The important thing for me is that the community is fully engaged in planning and I know that the South East Pembrokeshire Community Health Network meets often with health bosses to discuss the new model.

“We must not forget that Tenby Cottage Hospital is a modern facility, built after a hard-fought campaign by local people and supported by the then Labour AM, Christine Gwyther. Rather than just bringing back one service like the MIU, I want to see existing services strengthened and new services delivered to meet the needs of local patients now and in the future. That is what people in Tenby want to see happen and I’ll keep championing those views wherever they need to be heard.”

The aging population is especially relevant in light of a Welsh Government announcement to bring community-based eye services to the area – with Tenby and south Pembrokeshire Cottage Hospitals being considered as venues.

At present, patients in Pembrokeshire have to travel to Amman Valley hospital – a 54 mile journey from Pembroke Dock – to access treatment for wet AMD, an age-related eye condition which results in loss of vision.

Many patients, after being reviewed, also have to make further trips for treatment, while the Welsh Government-funded pilot will be able to provide a review and injection on the same visit. It is hoped that providing this service in Tenby will free up surgical capacity in Amman Valley and Bronglais Hospitals, reducing waiting times for patients requiring cataract surgery.

Kathryn Davies, the Executive Director of Commissioning/Therapies and Health Sciences for Hywel Dda UHB said: “This project will improve the quality of life for approximately 340 patients, often elderly and vulnerable, currently experiencing a significant travel burden by providing this care within a community setting, much closer to home. It will also release some capacity within our whole service, allowing us to treat more people who are waiting for care and improve patient outcomes.”

The new sites should be treating patients within the next three to four months.

“Improving our patient outcomes and experience for wet AMD is a significant priority for our health board and we are excited to be progressing this project which is in line with our strategic aim to provide more review, care and treatment as close to home as possible,” Ms Davies added.

“We have also maximised the potential to use innovation, such as training community optometrists. This is not only prudent and beneficial for the health service and its capacity to provide care to our population, but also evidence of a whole-systems approach which meets standards of care and provides a better patient experience.”

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Kill the Bill protest to take place in Haverfordwest on Saturday



INDIVIDUALS and activists from local groups, including Extinction Rebellion Pembrokeshire, Stand Up to Racism West Wales, Pembrokeshire People’s Assembly and Reclaim These Streets Pembrokeshire are campaigning against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill and are to hold a demonstration against the Bill at 1pm this Saturday April 17, in Haverfordwest.
One of the organisers told  The Herald: “This is an enormous piece of draconian legislation that includes significant expansion in police powers to curtail the right to protest. The right to peacefully assemble and protest are a fundamental part of any democracy; empowering people to have their voices heard, in addition to holding the Government to account. These rights are universal –they protect peaceful and legitimate protest whatever the cause.
“The events at the Clapham vigil and at demonstrations over the last few weeks are a dangerous indication of what the future of protest will look like if the police powers bill gets through parliament.”
A local campaigner, a mother and grandmother said “We are in the process of losing a fundamental part of our democracy, It is important we protect it for future generations. We have messed up so much of their future already-we need to hold the Government to account”.
Aspects of the Bill include:
  • The power for Police forces to shut down protests that they deem too disruptive at their own discretion.
  • Up to a 10-year sentence for demonstrators considered to be causing a “public nuisance”.
  • The power for police forces to impose start and end times on static protests of any size.
  • The power to expand stop and search powers, which already discriminate against marginalised communities. If you live in the Dyfed Powys police area, you are 5 times more likely to be stopped and searched if you are black than white.
  • Up to 10-year sentences for damage to public monuments’ Police powers will be expanded and custodial sentences increased to “protect” women.
  • These measures are not sufficient to prevent violence and are troubling, considering some police officers’ involvement in cases of violence against women. Significant restrictions on where protests around Parliament may take place.
  • The elevation of trespass from a civil offence to a criminal offence, meaning police and courts can give harsh sentences to Travellers.
  • Increased power of police to seize vehicles and homes from Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller communities and demanding proof of permission to travel.
  • The bill will criminalise a way of life for these communities.
A peaceful, Covid-compliant march and rally will be taking place in Haverfordwest on Saturday April 17 , assembling at Picton Fields at 1pm.
People will be asked to wear masks and keep to social distancing regulations.  It is one of a number of protests being organised nationally on the same day against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Bill.
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Everything you need to know about the current coronavirus restrictions in Wales



THE GOVERNMENT guidelines in Wales are changing today (Apr 12).

There are major changes coming into force today across the country as the government coronavirus guidelines are starting to relax.

The changes affect household bubbles, non-essential retail, education and travel.

As of Monday, April 12, the following changes have come into force:

  • Six people from two different households (not counting children under 11) can meet and exercise outdoors and in private gardens
  • Households or support bubbles can holiday in self-contained accommodation – including hotels with en-suite facilities
  • All pupils and students can now return to school, college and other education
  • All shops and close-contact services can open
  • The ban on travelling in and out of Wales has ended
  • Driving lessons can resume and some driving tests (Remainder on April 22)

Non-essential retail are able to open up today for the first time since the country was put into a national lockdown with non-essential retail ordered to close in December of last year.

With infection rates falling and the national vaccine rollout success, the Welsh Government have set out a road map of restriction easing.

Unlike England, the hospitality industry in Wales will have to wait until April 26 to open their doors to customers, but only for those who can operate in an outdoor space such as beer gardens.

The current guidelines in force for Wales are as follows:

Meeting friends and family

From May 3:

  • Two families can once again form an “extended household” and meet indoors.

The following rules currently apply:

  • Six people from two different households (not counting children under 11) can meet up outdoors, including gardens.
  • If you are an adult living alone or you’re a single responsible adult in a household (a single parent, for instance), you can form a support bubble with one other household.
  • You can also end it and form another support bubble with a different household, as long as you leave a 10-day gap between.

Going to work

  • You must work from home if you can. The only exceptions will be critical workers and jobs where working from home is not possible.
  • Tradespeople can work in someone else’s private home, as long as it is managed in a safe way and both the worker and household members are well and have no symptoms of coronavirus.

Schools and nurseries

  • All pupils will return to face-to-face teaching at school from 12 April.
  • From that date all students can return to further education and training centres.
  • University campuses will be able to open for blended (face-to face and online) learning for all students.
  • Internal GCSE, A-level and AS-level assessments have been cancelled.

Leisure time

From April 26:

  • Outdoor attractions, including funfairs and theme parks, will be allowed to reopen.
  • Outdoor hospitality can resume, including at cafes, pubs and restaurants, but indoor hospitality will remain restricted.

From May 3:

  • Organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people can again take place.
  • Gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities can reopen. This will include individual or one-to-one training but not exercise classes.

The following rules currently apply:

  • Self-contained holiday accommodation, including hotels with en-suite facilities and room service, can open to people from the same household or support bubble.
  • Outdoor sports facilities such as golf, tennis and basketball are open. A maximum of six people from two households can take part.
  • Organised outdoor sport for under-18s can now take place.
  • All gyms and leisure centres are closed.
  • Professional sports will continue but stadiums are closed to fans.
  • Bars, restaurants, cafes and pubs are closed – except for takeaway and delivery.
  • The outdoor areas of some historic places and gardens can reopen in a limited way.
  • Libraries and archives can reopen


From April 12:

  • All shops can reopen.
  • All close contact services such as hairdressers or beauty salons can open, including mobile services.

The following rules currently apply:

  • Hairdressers and barbers are open for business – by appointment only.
  • Non-essential shops remain closed.
  • Garden centres are now open.
  • Alcohol cannot be sold in shops between 22:00 and 06:00 BST.
  • Face coverings must be worn by customers and staff.
  • Indoor shopping should be done alone, or with people in your household.


From April 12:

  • You can travel anywhere in the UK or the Common Travel Area (Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands)
  • Outdoor canvassing for the Welsh elections can begin.
  • Driving lessons can resume and some driving tests (remainder on 22 April).

From April 26:

  • Weddings receptions can take place outdoors, but will be limited to 30 people.

The following rules currently apply:

  • Weddings and civil partnerships can take place at licensed venues, but receptions are not allowed.
  • Care home residents can receive one designated visitor.
  • You can travel anywhere within Wales.
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Ten years in prison for Milford Haven taxi driver who raped passenger



ANTHONY MARCUS JONES, 43, a taxi driver from Hawthorn Path, Mount Estate, Milford Haven has been sentenced to ten years in jail for rape.

The sentencing hearing took place at Swansea Crown Court on Monday (Apr 12), following a guilty verdict at a previous hearing.

The defendant had already been remanded into custody.

Jones, who was working for local taxi firm Kars Kabs at the time, was working a late shift on a Saturday in April 2018.

On the same night, the victim was out for a night on the town in Milford Haven.

In the early hours of the Sunday morning, the victim was seen on camera in a Milford Haven bar.

In an extremely drunken state and unable to converse, staff at the premises decided it was best to call her a taxi shortly after 1am.

A ‘Kars Kabs’ taxi responded, Anthony Marcus Jones was not the driver.

At this point, Anthony Marcus Jones was hackneying for business in Haverfordwest, a normal technique used by Milford Haven taxi drivers as business ‘dries up’ in Milford earlier than in Haverfordwest.

The victim was put into the back of a Kars Kabs taxi and the driver headed off towards the home address of the victim.

When the taxi pulled into her street, the victim was too inebriated to point out her house, even after several minutes of being asked.

After this, she became unresponsive.

Eager to return his passenger safely and becoming frustrated by her apparent lack of coherency, the Kars Kabs driver contacted his colleague, Anthony Marcus Jones, who had known the victim for years, to assist in getting her home.

At that point it was decided that the best thing that could be done would be for Jones to get the victim home, Jones however couldn’t leave Haverfordwest as he was in the middle of a run.

It was decided that the Kars Kabs taxi from Milford Haven would take the victim to Haverfordwest multi-storey car park where the victim would then be transferred into the taxi operated by Jones who would then return to Milford Haven, this would also allow the taxi drivers to effectively swap towns ensuring that no business would be missed.

This exchange took place at about 1:30am.

Minutes later Jones was seen on camera heading back towards Milford Haven via Haverfordwest High Street.

At this point Jones did not take her to her home address as planned, he took her to a car park where he admitted engaging in sexual intercourse in the back of his taxi.

Forty minutes after leaving Haverfordwest, the victim finally made it home missing several items of clothing and wearing Jones’ jacket.

She was put straight to bed by friends.

The victim was in so much of a state that night that she claimed to have ‘slept the whole next day’.

Later that day, Jones spoke to a friend and boasted about what he had done to the victim, he asked his friend not to tell the taxi firms boss.

The Kars Kabs owner was then messaged via Instagram by a friend of the victim who asked him where her missing items were and how to get Jones’ jacket back to him.

This was the first time the Kars Kabs owner knew that anything happened in his taxi.

At this point he messaged Jones and asked him to return the victim’s items, a regular event for taxi companies after busy nights out and thought no more about it.

The following Tuesday, the owner of the now defunct Kars Kabs was informed of what had happened, fired Anthony Jones and informed the police, leading to Jones’ arrest.

As well as the ten year term in prison, it was also decided at Swansea Crown Court on Monday (Apr 12) that Jones’ details would be entered onto the sex offender’s register for an indefinite term.

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