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No return for baby unit

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Mark Drakeford, AM: ‘Best advice’ says no way back for SCBU

Mark Drakeford, AM: ‘Best advice’ says no way back for SCBU

WHILE Deputy Minister Vaughan Gething visited Withybush Hospital on Monday (Feb 1), his boss, Welsh Health Minister Professor Mark Drakeford was in Llanelli being interviewed by Herald reporter Alan Evans.

Attacking Conservative election pledges, Professor Drakeford told The Herald: “The Tories say they want to spend more on the health service. People need to look at their record, rather than what they say. The Welsh Government has 10% less money to spend every single year and 30% less on capital funding to make sure we have the buildings and equipment we need for the future.

“Right across England where the Tories are in charge trusts are being instructed to sack nurses because their budget is so badly overspent.”

Professor Drakeford concluded: “The Tories are in public life to cut and cut again.”

We asked about the 8,500 signature petition to reverse the centralisation of services in Glangwili Hospital and whether it would sway the decision to remove maternity and SCBU services from Withybush Hospital.

The Minister’s response was unequivocal and un-encouraging: “That decision came to me as a recommendation from the Board. The decision was independently reviewed last year. It will not be reversed, because the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health – in other words, the clinical specialists who we have to rely on for advice – tell us that the way things are done now is the best way for mothers and babies.

“I will not make a decision that is not good for patients. All the best advice tells us that mothers and babies in that part of Wales have a better service now as a result of the change.”

Praising the front line staff, Mark Drakeford told us: “We have a fantastic group of midwives working out of Withybush who can do more in the future. You can’t go backwards to a position where people in that part of Wales will get a service that nobody else in Wales would be prepared to put up with.

“We are looking at making sure that we have a strong midwife service who in the future will take 40% of all births that happen in that area. Where a mother needs a specialist service above and beyond what a midwife unit can provide that mother needs to know that she will be looked after somewhere where all the expertise she needs is available every single day right around the clock. You can’t do that if you spread your resources thinly everywhere.”

The Minister concluded by telling our reporter: “You do have to concentrate in a place to guarantee that the service that is provided is the service that is needed and it will be at Glangwili and we will invest more money again in the next financial year to improve the physical fabric of that service. Mothers in this part of Wales will be better off as a result.”

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Joinery learner through to Screwfix Trade Apprentice of the Year Finals

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PEMBROKESHIRE COLLEGE joinery learner, Conor Ratcliff has made it through to the final ten in this year’s Screwfix Trade Apprentice of the Year competition.

Now in its seventh year, the competition celebrates the next generation of tradespeople as they start out on their career. With over 2,500 nominations, Conor was shortlisted to the top 30 where he had to deliver a video presentation to industry-leading judges and trade body representatives. Judged on professionalism, creativity, innovation, enthusiasm and knowledge of their trade, Conor impressed the judges and is now in the final 10.  

Simon Jackson, Screwfix Customer and Digital director, commented: “Every year we are amazed by the outstanding quality of entrants and, this year, we are on the lookout for apprentices who go above and beyond to succeed within their chosen trade.

“We’ve seen how this career-boosting accolade and £10,000 prize bundle helps kickstart an apprentice’s career. I’d like to wish everyone through to this stage the best of luck!”

The prize package includes everything a future tradesperson may need to start up their own business including £5,000 of tools, a £3,000 training budget and £2,000 worth of technology. The college where they study will also receive £2,000.

Conor is thrilled to have made it through to the finals and commented: “I am extremely honoured to have made it is this far in the competition and I am very excited for the final event. It would be an amazing opportunity for me, if I won this competition.

“I hope it encourages more people to consider an apprenticeship in a trade, the Carpentry and Joinery department have been incredibly supportive during my studies.”

The Final is due to take place imminently where the judges will conduct an online interview with the ten finalists before selecting and announcing their overall winner.

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Warrant without bail issued for Milford Haven man who failed to attend court

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A WARRANT without bail has been issued for a Milford Haven man who failed to appear in court yesterday.

Gareth James Mann, 45, of Bunkers Hill was stopped in his VW Golf on October 31, 2020 in Milford Haven.

Mann is accused of driving without a licence, insurance, under the influence of cocaine and whilst in possession of an ounce of cannabis.

Police are now instructed to find Mann, arrest him and bring him before the courts.

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Pembroke Dock: Trial date set in historical rape case

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A 69-YEAR-OLD man, charged with nine counts of raping a girl under the age of 16 in Pembroke Dock, will stand trial at Swansea Crown Court in September.

The alleged historical offences took place in the 1980s, the court heard.

Barry Arthur Lake, lately of Abinger Road, Carswood, St Helens, is accused of three counts of raping a child in each of these years: 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1989.

He appeared at a plea and directions hearing on April 14, to confirm his name and address, and where he entered not guilty pleas.

Lake was bailed on the condition that he did not contact, directly or indirectly, certain named people, and that he did not enter an address in Pembroke Dock.

Further he must not contact anyone under 18 without supervision.

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