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Withybush Hospital: Health board plans for paediatric service cuts



HYWEL DDA heath board’s announcement that its plans to transform clinical services are ‘to move to the next stage’ did not include the detail of what those plans include.

At a public board meeting held in Llandeilo on November 21, Board members approved the move to phase two (the Design Phase) of the Transforming Clinical Services (TCS) programme having considered the independent analysis report (undertaken by Opinion Research Services) on the TCS listening and engagement exercise (the Discover Phase), which concluded in September 2017.

The transformation consultation, in which the Board sought to seek public responses on proposed cuts to local services, was followed by an independent clinical review by Dr Alex Mayor.

The content of that review, while obliquely referred to in a Board press release, is not detailed.

The Herald examined the report before the board, on which it intends to engage in ‘a comprehensive programme of communication and engagement activities with [the] local population across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire next year’.

The Board has agreed to take these forward and to incorporate further planning of Women and Children’s services under the umbrella of our ‘Transforming Clinical Services’ programme.

The Board expresses the hope that the further engagement ‘will build on the success, and learning points, from the TCS listening and engagement exercise ‘the Big Conversation’.’

However the Board’s press release fails to mention what the recommendations actually are upon which it has set up a task and finish group ahead of public consultation on the decisions it intends to make.

The recommendations include the following:

  • No return to twelve hour care provision at Withybush for the Paediatric Ambulatory Care Unit (PACU)– ‘whilst recruitment attempts to all vacant posts should continue, transition to a consultant ‘delivered’ PACU model Monday to Friday 10am to 6pm by a single, integrated team of acute paediatric consultants should be explored and confirmed at the earliest opportunity’;
  • Consultant-led PACU services to be concentrated at Glangwili at weekends;
  • Acutely unwell children should be admitted directly to Glangwili;
  • Glangwili to be the centre for the whole board area for children and young people;
  • Elective paediatric surgery should return to Withybush;
  • Emergency paediatric surgery at Withybush should end.

Those recommendations are supported by the independent expert engaged by the Board confirming that many of the fears expressed by campaigners during the long – and ultimately unsuccessful – fight to retain core services at Withybush have come to fruition.

The papers considered by the Board state: ‘Dr Mayor has advised that, although well intentioned, the UHB’s desire to provide as much acute care as possible at WGH since 2014 without a comprehensive supporting infrastructure of 24/7 paediatric, anaesthetic and A&E skills has effectively weakened the overall acute paediatric service as limited staff resources have been stretched and care pathways have become confused’.

Dr Phil Kloer, the Board’s Medical Director, said: “It is important to reassure people that, at the present time, the operating hours of the PACU at Withybush Hospital will continue to be from 10am to 6pm, seven days a week.

“We are making significant efforts to progress the development of a safe and sustainable longer term staffing model for the unit as part of the wider Transforming Clinical Services design phase and formal consultation in 2018 and we will provide further updates as this work develops.”


Ongoing incident closes busy Haverfordwest road



A MAJOR road in Haverfordwest has been closed due to a police incident this afternoon (May 5)

A man was seen holding onto the outside railings of a bridge, talking to police officers.

The police said: “We are dealing with an ongoing incident, with concern for the welfare of a male, which has meant the A487 between Cartlett Road and Thomas Parry Way in Haverfordwest has been closed.

“Motorists are asked to avoid the area and find alternative routes.

There are reports of long queues for motorists in and around Haverfordwest with some drivers messaging The Herald saying “Town is gridlocked.”

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James Oulton found not guilty of 30 counts of sexual assault against 11 ex-pupils



JAMES OULTON, 34, the primary school teacher who was accused of 30 charges of sexual assault against pupils has been found not guilty of all charges at Swansea Crown court today, following a lengthy trial (May 4).

The charges, now dismissed, had related to his time as a Haverfordwest primary school teacher, between 2012 and 2018.

Mr Oulton had described the accusations as a “witch-hunt”.

He confirmed he had made a formal complaint against one officer involved.

Speaking after the verdict, James Oulton said: “I am glad two years and eight months of hell for my family, colleagues and friends has come to an end.”

“I’m just glad it’s over and that the jury came to the right verdict.”

The press was only able to report on the prosecution case, but not the defence case – because Oulton him self via his barrister had made an application to the court for a press restriction.

The Herald feels that this press restriction on the reporting of both sides of the case, once granted, was unlawful, and is appealing to the Court of Appeal on a point of law.


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Nineteen arrests and weapons seized during knife crime action week



NINETEEN people were arrested and a number of weapons were seized as police took part in a national week of action against knife crime, police have said.

Dyfed-Powys Police has released its results from Op Sceptre, which ran from April 26 to May 2, during which officers across the force took part in activity to crack down on crime involving blades.

The week was led by the force’s roads policing units (RPU), with a focus on targeting operations in key areas throughout the four divisions.

Neighbourhood policing teams were instrumental in engaging with shopkeepers, creating educational videos for communities on social media, and working with RPU on joint patrols in crime hotspots.

Inspector Andrew Williams said: “There have been some excellent results forcewide  from this year’s Op Sceptre, and as a result of the increased proactivity in key areas, there has also been a vast amount of other offences detected.

“This was thanks to some outstanding work by roads policing units, neighbourhood policing teams, the joint firearms unit and response officers.

“Our approach was to educate our communities on the laws around carrying and selling knives, and the dangers associated with having a blade on your possession, which was backed up with operational activity across the force.

“This has been very well received, and will be continued during the next operation.”

During the week 20 stop searches were carried out, resulting in seven arrests and numerous weapons being seized.

Twelve people were arrested for drug driving following stop checks on vehicles, one of which led to the discovery of a cannabis cultivation in the Cardigan area.

Traffic offence reports were issued to 41 drivers, and two people will be dealt with for failing to stop for officers when requested.

Neighbourhood policing activity saw engagement with 95 shop owners and community leaders, with officers and PCSOs reassured to find that most businesses were complying with the Challenge 25 policy. Those who were not will be dealt with accordingly.

Insp Williams said: “Our work to tackle knife crime will continue as we consider intelligence logs that were submitted during the operation and develop targeted plans to deal with concerns in our communities.

“We would also like to remind people that while our knife amnesty has now concluded, the best way to dispose of an unwanted blade is to take it to your local recycling centre.”

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