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Cancer Day Unit?

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day unitTHE Hywel Dda Health Board’s Glossy Charitable Funds Website has a quote which says: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead.

Fine words indeed, said by an American anthropologist who died in 1978, not words from a local Pembrokeshire NHS Cancer patient. The words are excellent and very true, but a group of committed Pembrokeshire citizens have raised funds for ten years now for a new Cancer Day Unit and refurbished Ward 10 at Withybush Hospital and still they wait.

I recently read a Hywel Dda Charitable Funds Committee Summary Report which was written in November 2010. It stated that a decision could not be made until after the clinical review had concluded in the summer of 2011.

They provided assurances that the Cancer Day Unit was NOT under threat and the Chairman, Mr Chris Martin, agreed to issue a statement to provide assurance to the local population. The statement never happened and two and a half years on still nothing happens with the CDU and Ward 10.

In the report from a meeting, held on September 29, 2011 whose subject was the Charitable Funds Committee Report, point 13 stated: “Current (Charitable) Fund Balances – Charitable Funds could be used for priority items which had just failed to be funded from the Capital Programmes.” Is that what people have given donations for? And do they know this?

I was a member of the Cancer Day Unit Stakeholders Committee and we met regularly discussing the progress etc. In June 2012 the meetings stopped, a couple were arranged and then cancelled at short notice and then nothing. When asked, no one from Hywel Dda would give a reason why the meetings stopped.

I received a reply, to a Freedom of Information request I had made on March 1, 2012 which gave me the Hywel Dda Local Health Board Charitable Funds – Pembrokeshire Division Balances as at March 31, 2011.

I was criticised at one of these CDU Stakeholders meetings for doing this Freedom of Information request to ask for details of the Charitable Funds held for Ward 10 and the CDU, and for giving the details to the local newspapers. I felt the use of Charitable Funds was in the interest of the Pembrokeshire public, who after all had donated all this money.

The balance of Pembrokeshire Charitable funds was £3,056,252.86. My main concern is for Cancer Services and I was amazed to see that Ward 10 at Withybush Hospital, which is greatly in need of a facelift, had an incredible £292,705.01. I have spent a fair amount of time on Ward 10 due to my own cancer problems. It is certainly in need of some updating even if only to make it a more uplifting environment conducive to helping recovery. The staff on Ward 10 are excellent and I have nothing but praise for the work they do. How could it be justified to be sitting on nearly £300,000 which in all honesty had taken some time to accumulate?

The Cancer/ Chemotherapy Day Unit had £239,447.64 in charitable funds. It can be regularly seen in the local newspapers how people work hard to raise funds for this unit staffed by wonderful doctors and nurses. Many people who have sadly lost their fight with cancer leave money to the unit to help others in the future.

So why was £239,447.64 not being utilised to improve the unit? I owe my life to the staff on CDU and therefore feel I need to speak out for them. This was 2011, can you imagine how much has been added to the pot since then. Every week in the papers it shows people leaving money to the CDU and Ward 10.

However, since then the Charitable Funds position has changed. Now funds go into three pots, one of which is Cancer Services and can allegedly (because they will not confirm or deny) be spent anywhere in the Hywel Dda Health Board area. So money raised for Pembrokeshire by Pembrokeshire people is not necessarily spent in Pembrokeshire. So how much does the Cancer Day Unit and Ward 10 have now? Well no one at Hywel Dda seems to know when the question is asked.

I wrote to Mark Drakeford (Health Minister at the Welsh Assembly), in November 2013, who told me: “I have been informed that the Health Board is planning to create a CDU at Withybush Hospital by refurbishing existing accommodation with funds from local fundraising.” I wrote to Mr Chris Martin (Hywel Dda Chairman) who would only say services are being reviewed.

This week I saw the approved minutes of the Hywel Dda Charitable Funds Committee Meeting held on September 3, 2013. The agenda item CF(13)55 said: “The committee considered and agreed to ring fence the £300k towards the creation of a new Cancer Day Service and £250k for the refurbishment of Ward 10.”

This sounds brilliant, although we have been told that money has been ring fenced before and nothing has happened, but the next sentence says: “This development would help appease local feeling in Pembrokeshire and provide a positive message.” So the Health Board are going to “appease” the public of Pembrokeshire. What does appease mean to you? To me it is to pacify or placate, to bring peace, quiet, or calm to; to soothe.

The Pembrokeshire public do not want to be “appeased” they want a new Cancer Day Unit and a refurbished Ward 10. Many of us have gone through cancer, are going through cancer or will one day find out we have cancer. We need proper facilities and top quality services. We have top quality doctors and nurses on CDU and Ward 10 at Withybush Hospital so give them the tools to do the job properly.

Don’t get me started on poor old Dr Anne Barnes MBE (for services to Cancer Patients in Pembrokeshire) who desperately needs support as she does about three jobs at the same time on Ward 10, as consultants have left and not been replaced. So, Mr Trevor Purt, Chief Executive and Mr Chris Martin, Chairman of the Hywel Dda Health Board – “Where is our new cancer care unit?”

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Community backs fundraiser to help injured Pembrokeshire paramedic

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OVER six thousand pounds have been raised to support a local paramedic who was badly injured in a road traffic collision involving a motorbike and a car last Sunday (Jan 29).

Sean Luby, has served as a paramedic for more than three decades.

The Pembrokeshire Herald has been told that he was on his way to work the night shift when his Honda motorbike was involved in a collision with a grey Audi A3 car on the A4076 near the Horse and Jockey public house. The road was closed for several hours.

His condition is now critical but stable after undergoing a 12-hour operation yesterday on Friday (Feb 3), with more surgery expected soon.

His colleagues have set up a JustGiving to support Sean’s family through this difficult time and to help cover their travel and accommodation costs during Sean’s stay in hospital.

Marco Siso, who set up the appeal along with fellow DAV paramedic Simon Clark said: “The response has been really overwhelming”

Marco added: “He’s a lovely bloke and this has hit the staff hard. It has brought us together and we want to do what we can to help.”

As a paramedic of such experience Sean has helped save the lives of hundreds of Pembrokeshire people when he has been both on and off duty.

He is currently one of the dedicated ambulance vehicle (DAV) paramedics at Withybush Hospital, working primarily with the maternity and paediatric services.

Dyfed-Powys police is asking anybody who witnessed the collision, on the on the A4076 Steynton Road, Milford Haven at about 5.10pm on Sunday January 29, to get in touch.

Witnesses can contact police by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Quote reference: DP-20230130-274.

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Site visit for National Park planners considering caravan park improvements

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NATIONAL PARK planners, expected to allow officers to approve an application to relocate caravans in a caravan park, will instead attend a site visit there.

Huw Pendleton, of Celtic Holiday Parks, had applied for a change of use of land for the siting of nine relocated static caravans and associated infrastructure improvements at Meadow House Holiday Park, Summerhill.

The application, before the February meeting of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park’s Development Management Committee, had been recommended for delegated approval by officers if a string of conditions were met.

Delegated approval for the application at the 200-pitch site bordering the national park was mooted despite Amroth Community Council objecting to the application; recommending refusal.

A report for planners said 47 static pitches were previously permitted under a change from 55 touring pitches; nine of these static pitches now being proposed for relocation to an area of land within the holiday park.

It stated the overall number of pitches within the site is not proposed to be increased.

Correspondence had been received which raises concerns on the privacy impact from the proposed static caravans on existing residential properties, as well as the potential for noise and disturbance from occupiers of the site.

It was recommended for delegated approval with a string of conditions including the completion of a Section 106 agreement.

At the February 2 meeting, concerns were raised by neighbour Dorian Evans on amenity grounds, and by local county councillor Alec Cormack, who asked for deferment pending a site visit, saying there would be a “significant impact” on neighbouring properties, which was disputed by agent Gerald Blain.

Following a proposal by Councillor Simon Hancock, members agreed to attend a site visit.

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Wales 10 – Ireland 34: Clinical Ireland outfox wasteful Wales

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RUGBY is often described as a game of inches, where the tiniest errors significantly affect games’ outcomes. That was the case on Saturday, where Ireland won convincingly by making fewer unforced errors than Wales.

As a contest, the game was all but over in the first 25 minutes. Ireland did nothing flash, nothing extraordinary. They were just better at the basics. It’s what you’d expect when the first-ranked team in the world play the ninth.

Conceding a try after two minutes was a bad start, but again and again thereafter, Wales either coughed the ball up or conceded penalties in clutch positions.

Ireland’s game management showed the confidence of being a settled group under a single coach with a defined game plan. Ireland’s players constantly worked off the ball to close gaps and shut off running lines. The Irish slowed down the Welsh ball and applied pressure with clinical precision. The Irish scrum and lineout gave the visitors’ backline time to play.

Whatever the Welsh game plan was before Wayne Pivac left as the coach (answers on a postcard for that one), on Saturday, Wales showed signs of trying to create a pattern of play based on phase play creating the space to allow Wales’s backs to punch through stretched defensive formations. However, a plan is only as good as its execution. And Wales repeatedly created good positions only to make sometimes desperately disappointing mistakes.

Twice Wales had the throw near the Irish line, and twice Irish forwards picked off the ball. On another occasion, Wales went long at the lineout in their half, only for the ball to land on the Irish side. Add that to a crooked throw in a promising position, and Wales lost momentum at crucial stages.
Ireland stormed into an early lead with their first attack ending with Number Eight Doris smashing his way over from close range. It got worse six minutes later when James Ryan scored with almost a carbon copy play.

Wales’s best chance of the opening quarter came when Irish full-back Hugo Keenan got to a loose ball over the Irish line before Welsh winger Rio Dyer.

Although Biggar got the home side off the mark with a penalty, within minutes, a telegraphed pass ended in the hands of Lowe, who streaked over unopposed for Ireland’s third try.

24-3 down soon became 27-3 following another Sexton penalty following Welsh indiscipline at the breakdown. Realistically, that score ended the game. However, in the half’s dying moments, Wales again applied pressure. Jac Morgan, who had a good game in a losing cause, crossed the Irish line only to be held up by a strong Irish defence.

It looked grim at half-time. Wales had been disorganised and disjointed, while every time the Irish got the ball in the Welsh half, they looked like they would come away with points.

Whatever Warren Gatland said at half-time got the Welsh players’ attention.

Wales came steaming out of the blocks in the second half, looking better organised and less frantic. Good phase play opened a gap in the Irish midfield, and Liam Williams sped through the gap to touch down near the posts, making Biggar’s conversion a formality. Wales continued to work through the phases, and only an uncharacteristically poor pass from Justin Tipuric spoiled a good chance for Rio Dyer to get a clear run at the Irish line.

Wales still tried to keep up the pressure but lacked accuracy at key moments when cooler heads might have produced more. As if that wasn’t bad enough, with fifteen minutes of normal time to go, Liam Williams was – maybe a little unluckily – yellow-carded for making contact with the ducking, bobbing and weaving Jonny Sexton’s head.

The man advantage was all Ireland needed to break Wales’s stranglehold on the match. They kept kicking for space behind the Welsh midfield and used Bundi Aki as a midfield battering ram to keep the Welsh players tied in at the breakdown. With Wales stretched and gaps appearing in the defensive live, Van der Flier had the simplest of tasks to add a fourth try for Ireland.

As the clock ticked down – and with Wales 34-10 down – the Irish pressed for the score that would give them a record win in Cardiff. Wales tried again to break out for a consolation score, more in hope than expectation, and it was all Ireland when the final whistle blew.

Warren Gatland said he was “strangely not that disappointed” after the game.

The Wales coach said: “The things I’m disappointed with are things we can put right: the slow start and giving away needless penalties. When you look at the game we put ourselves in positions we could’ve taken advantage of. We can take away the positives, look at our second half performance and improve on that.”

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