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Patients in danger as ambulance response times fail to meet targets



Plaid Cymru issued a press release this week suggesting that Pembrokeshire’s ambulance emergency response times are failing to meet their set target.

The Party claim that the response times to calls in Pembrokeshire missed the all-Wales target: that of of an ambulance reaching the scene of an incident within eight minutes of an emergency call being placed. Plaid Cymru claim that in July of this year, in Pembrokeshire, only 64.8% of life threatening calls were answered within the target eight minutes timeframe, from an all -Wales target of 65%, falling short by point two of a percent.

According to analysis by Plaid Cymru’s National Assembly team, it was discovered that only seven out of the twenty-two local authorities reached their target for more than nine months out of the last eighteen and, apparently, Pembrokeshire only just managed to meet this success rate, but performance has, as Plaid Cymru put it, ‘deteriorated worryingly this year’.

Plaid Cymru Mid and West AM Simon Thomas said of these apparently alarming figures,

“It is not surprising that the Welsh Ambulance Service is not meeting its targets. What is concerning is that there seems to be little improvement. Many of us wonder why the Welsh (Labour) Government continues to push through their plans to centralise hospital services that will require ambulances to travel further in emergency situations”

He went on to add that,

“The Health Minister must begin to tackle ambulance response times in Pembrokeshire. Plaid Cymru believes there should be better investment in planning and training of the workforce. If this happened more paramedics could make decisions and carry out treatment without the need for hospital”.

Commenting on this seemingly worrying situation, Paul Davies, AM for Preseli Pembrokeshire, said,

“The latest ambulance emergency response times for Pembrokeshire are very worrying. NHS staff work tirelessly but, sadly, Welsh Labour’s record-breaking cuts to the health budget of over £800million, in real terms, over five years are making their jobs impossible. Confidence in our health service is already at rock-bottom, and none of this will do anything to ease the worries of the people of Pembrokeshire”.

He concluded by stating that,

“It’s now time for serious change.  The closure of the Special Care Baby Unit at Withybush  Hospital would have a seriously detrimental effect on other services, such as paediatrics, A and E and, of course, the ambulance service. Labour’s Health Minister has talked of some action, following the latest ambulance service review. I will be monitoring this action to make sure the changes are effective for my constituents and implemented as soon as possible.”

A Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust spokesperson said of the perceived problem,

“Due to the increase in calls that we experience year on year we are actually reaching more and more people across Wales than ever before. July was an extremely busy month for us, with the service taking 36,964 emergency calls, up by 3,093 calls from the previous month, and 1,149 calls from the same period last year, with more than a third of these – 14,254 calls – being the most serious in nature. We recognise that we are short of the target for these most serious calls and are continuing to work with our Health Board colleagues to improve the situation. We would like to reassure the public that the Trust is firmly committed to delivering the improvement aims of its ‘Working Together for Success’ modernisation programme. We are working, and will continue to work, as hard as we can to get to patients as quickly as possible and provide the best quality of care for the people of Wales and we invite the public to support NHS Wales’ ‘Choose Well’ campaign, so that busy emergency services can help those who need them most urgently. We also ask the public only to dial 999 and attend emergency departments for life-threatening and serious illnesses and injuries – remember to keep emergency ambulances for your emergencies.”

When contacted by The Herald, the Welsh Government Press office responded to these criticisms and statistics by issuing a statement saying that,

“The McClelland Review of Welsh Ambulance Services made it very clear that our current eight minute target is only very weakly supported by clinical evidence. Work is underway to develop a new set of clinical indicators that provide a better view of the quality of ambulance provision in Wales, and these will be in place by April 2014. We are encouraged to note, though, that in Pembrokeshire 69% of ambulances arrived at scene to calls categorised as life threatening within nine minutes and 83.2% in thirteen minutes. We expect Local Health Boards to work closely with the ambulance service to improve service delivery, to ensure the people of Wales receive the high quality care they deserve.”

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Further coronavirus restriction relaxations brought forward



FURTHER changes to the coronavirus restrictions have been announced by the First Minister Mark Drakeford today.

The Welsh Government has confirmed further relaxations will be brought forward from 17 May to 3 May – including the resumption of indoor supervised activities for children, indoor organised activities for up to 15 adults, such as exercise classes, and the re-opening of community centres.

This means Wales will have completed the move to Alert Level 3 by Monday 3 May.

From Saturday 24 April, the rule of 6 will allow for up to six people from six households to meet outdoors, not including children under 11 years of age or carers from those households.

The Welsh Government has also confirmed the relaxations that will take place on Monday 26 April. Outdoor attractions, including outdoor swimming pools, funfairs and theme parks, will be allowed to reopen, while outdoor hospitality can also resume, including at cafes, pubs and restaurants.

Organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people will be able to take place and weddings receptions can begin again outdoors for up to 30 people.

Wales has the lowest coronavirus rates of the UK nations.  The successful vaccine programme continues with a higher proportion of people vaccinated in Wales than other nations of the UK for both first and second doses.

Changes from Monday 3 May:

  • Gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities being able to reopen;
  • People will also again be able to form extended households with one other household.

Relaxations planned for 17 May will be brought forward to the 3 May, including:

  • The resumption of indoor supervised activities for children;
  • Indoor organised activities for up to 15 adults (such as exercise classes and swimming lessons);
  • And the re-opening of community centres.

The First Minister said:

“The sacrifices we have made continue to show results. By us all working together and sticking to the rules, combined with our vaccination programme, mean we continue to make progress. Rates of the virus continue to fall and the public health situation is improving. 

“Due to these efforts we are able confirm more easing of the restrictions from 26 April and for early May we are again able to bring forward some of our plans. However, this progress is dependent on all of us continuing to work together to keep Wales safe.

“At the last three-week review, I set out a forward-look of how the restrictions could continue to be lifted in the weeks ahead, if the public health situation remains stable.

“It will be for the incoming Welsh Government to confirm these arrangements at the next three-week review, which will be held on May 13 – a week after the election. It is my assessment that the hospitality sector – bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes – will be able to open indoors from May 17, together with all other tourist accommodation, indoor entertainment and attractions.”

Further possible easements are subject to the public health situation remaining favourable.

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Tragedy above Milford Haven takeaway



DYFED POWYS POLICE has confirmed that a 20-year-old male passed away in Milford Haven last Saturday, April 17.

Police were called to the USA Fried Chicken store on Charles Street at around 1:30pm but have said there are no suspicious circumstances.

A Herald reporter was at the scene and witnessed a number of police cars and an ambulance while plain-clothed officers were also seen.

HM Coroner has been informed.

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson added: “We were called to Charles Street in Milford Haven on Saturday 17 April at approximately 1.34pm to reports of a medical emergency. We attended the scene with one emergency ambulance where we assisted colleagues from the police.”

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Tavernspite School the ‘healthiest of schools despite the pandemic’



THE STAFF, governors, parents, and of course, the children of Tavernspite Community Primary School are delighted to gain the Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes National Quality Award for an incredible 5th time after a recent and very rigorous assessment.

The school is already well known and highly regarded for its outstanding work in developing the health and wellbeing of all members of its school community. To achieve this prestigious recognition in the midst of a pandemic is all the more impressive. 

Health and Wellbeing at the school is led by teacher, Lauren Arthur, who has done an incredible job preparing for this re-assessment and raising the profile of the Healthy Schools scheme.

The assessor Mrs Lynne Perry, enjoyed a virtual tour and presentation by Year 3 pupils who took great pleasure in proudly showing Mrs Perry all the wonderful work the school has done to ensure its children are safe, happy with high levels of emotional and physical wellbeing.

In her report, Mrs Perry wrote, ‘Tavernspite School continues to be an outstanding health promoting school. The health promoting school ethos is evident across the whole school population and it runs seamlessly throughout everything that the school does. Tavernspite School continues to give high priority to promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of the whole school community.’

The school received fantastic support from Mrs Liz Western, Senior Public Health Officer and Lead for Healthy Schools and Pre-schools, Pembrokeshire, to whom they are very grateful.

Head teacher Kevin Phelps said, ‘We were delighted to receive this award for the fifth time, particularly considering the experiences we have all been through these past twelve months. Health and wellbeing has never been so important and we are proud to be leading the way like this.’

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