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Petition for paediatric services handed in at Senedd

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A PETITION calling for services to be returned to Withybush hospital has been handed in at the Senedd today.
Hospital campaigner and activist Myles Bamford-Lewis handed in the petition, which had 20,557 signatures, to local AMs Paul Davies and Simon Thomas.
The petition called for Health Minister Mark Drakeford to return 24 hour paediatric services to Withybush Hospital.

Chief Executive Steve Moore said: “We acknowledge this petition, and clearly we still have a significant challenge ahead in demonstrating to the Pembrokeshire public the safety of the services we provide our children from both Withybush and Glangwili hospitals.“The majority of healthcare for children is still provided in Pembrokeshire, through our GP services, including out-of-hours; the Paediatric Ambulatory Care Unit (PACU) at Withybush Hospital, which is open every day of the week from 10am to 10pm; and through provision of minor injury care for children from Withybush Emergency and Urgent Care Centre, 24 hours a day. For example, in recent months, approximately 76 per cent of emergency attendances to the PACU at Withybush were seen and treated there and children discharged home, and 24 per cent were transferred elsewhere, the vast majority to Glangwili Hospital. A recent independent expert report from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health concluded changes were safe and sustainable, with improved compliance with national and professional service standards and no evidence of worsened outcomes in paediatric or maternity care.“The report did highlight areas where further improvement is needed, and we accept that not all families have received the best of experiences. We continue to work hard with our doctors, nurses and service managers to learn and make improvements. We have already made provision to support vulnerable families with transport, and we are progressing planning for Phase Two capital project to improve accommodation at Glangwili Hospital, as well plans to move the PACU at Withybush Hospital so it is closer and more easily accessible to the Emergency and Urgent Care Centre, strengthening support between the two departments. There is a meeting with our clinicians next week to review paediatric patient pathways in light of some of the concerns we have heard from families to review if there are improvements that can be made either to frontline services and communication between healthcare professionals or to communication with the general public about how to access these services and what to expect from them.“We are also looking very closely at two specific recommendations from the expert report, around merging paediatric consultant teams and bringing all major gynaecological surgery onto one site, as we believe we need further engagement with our clinical staff and patients to understand any implications and develop solutions together.”

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COVID-19 tests being encouraged for wider range of symptoms

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PEOPLE living in Pembrokeshire are being encouraged to have a free COVID-19 test if they have a wider range of symptoms.

Previously, only those with either a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss/change of taste and smell, were advised to seek a test. The health board is now also encouraging people to have a test if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • Flu-like symptoms, including myalgia (muscle ache or pain); excessive tiredness; persistent headache; runny nose or blocked nose; persistent sneezing; sore throat and/or hoarseness, shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Generally feeling unwell and a history of being in contact with a known COVID-19 case
  • Any new or change in symptoms following a previous negative test

The change aims to find hidden COVID-19 cases in our communities and drive down the numbers of onward transmissions.

Identifying infections, which could otherwise go undetected, is particularly important as new variants of the virus emerge. The more tests carried out, the easier it will be to spot early clusters of cases and possible virus mutations. This will help with easing restrictions in the future.

The new testing regime will initially run for at least 28 days and will then be reviewed. Swansea Bay University Health Board is also expanding its offer of testing in this way.

Alison Shakeshaft, Director of Therapies and Health Science at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “Overall, we are seeing a positive picture across the three counties and there has been a steady fall in the number of COVID-19 cases.

“Also, the demand for tests has come down considerably since the end of 2020, so we have capacity to expand the offer of testing to those with a wider range of symptoms.

“We know the wider group of symptoms do occur in COVID-19 but are not reported as often as the ‘classic three’ symptoms. With the very low rates of flu circulating at the moment, it is more likely that wider flu-like symptoms are due to COVID-19.

“Our aim is to find as many COVID-19 cases as possible so we can prevent the virus being passed on to others. We want to do everything we can to help bring the pandemic to a close as fast as possible and help restrictions to be lifted.”

If you have any of the symptoms outlined above, please stay at home and get a test by booking online via the UK portal https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or ringing 119.

As these are national contacts, you may automatically be asked about the ‘classic three’ symptoms. However, to book your test simply choose either one of these options: “You have been asked to take a test by your local council” or “You are part of a government pilot project”.

Once you have had your test, you must continue to self-isolate until you receive your result, which will usually be within 24 hours of the test. If your result is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 days from the date your symptoms started. You will also be contacted by the local Tracing Team.

If your result is negative, you can end your self-isolation, when you feel well enough to do so.

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Dale Morgan charged with murder of Judith Rhead, police confirm

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DYFED POWYS POLICE have charged a man in connection with the alleged murder of 68 year old Judith Rhead who was found dead in her home in Market Street, Pembroke Dock on Saturday (Feb 20).

Dale Morgan, 43, will appear at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court today by video link.

Dale Morgan, in court today

A spokesman for the force said: “Dyfed-Powys Police can confirm that Dale Morgan, aged 43, has been charged with the murder of Judith Rhead, aged 68, who was found in a property in Market Street, Pembroke Dock.

“He is due to appear before Llanelli Magistrates’ Court today (Thursday, 25 February).”

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Judith Rhead murder investigation – Detectives given more time to question suspect

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POLICE have been given more time to question a 43-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder.

The man has been in police custody since Saturday night, after being arrested over the death 68-year-old Judith Rhead.

She was found in a residential property in Market Street.

The police now have until Thursday afternoon (Feb 25) to question the suspect.

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