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Over 1,000 turn out to save local hospital services



THE RAIN held off on Saturday (Nov 3) for another major protest against cuts to services at Withybush General Hospital.
Doctors, nurses, politicians, and members of the public were all at the protest – united in one aim – to send a message loudly and clearly to the Hywel Dda University Health Board that their consultation had no credibility and that vital services, especially the A&E department must remain in Haverfordwest.

Some of the many protesters at Withybush Hospital (Pic: Herald)

Roy Towell from Fishguard, just one of over 1,000 protesters said: “I have come out to protest because those idiots are trying to take away our hospital, and to try and get from here to Gwangwili when you are crippled, about to give birth, or injured is not easy. The A40 has been closed four times in the last three weeks, once for seven hours. So how do we get to Carmarthen in an emergency? It is ridiculous.

He added: “My message to the Chief Executive of the Health Board is ‘Listen to what we have to say – we know what we are talking about. We live here and we are being forgotten. It’s not fair, there are thousands of people living in Pembrokeshire and we need these services.”

Former councillor Peter Stock was at the protest. As a well known and respected person in the county, he said what many people are thinking: “A very big thank you to the organisers and all the People that turned out in Support of Withybush Hospital today, Hywel Dda unless you are blind, uncaring, or just plain crazy not to see how strong the feeling of the Pembrokeshire people to retain our hospital with all the facilities and A&E that is so vitally needed here in Pembrokeshire.”

Against cut backs: Vicky Moller holds a banner (Pic: Herald)

He added: “In the 1990’s when the Secretary of State for Wales announced that Pembrokeshire was to have its own health authority because there was a great need, and the best way forward for the future. So what has changed?”

Conservative MP Stephen Crabb MP thanked the people who turned out, but criticised Labour politicians for not showing up: “[It was an] excellent turn-out at the Save Withybush Hospital protest today. Huge thanks to everyone who came from all across Pembrokeshire to make their voices heard. But very disappointing that no one from the Welsh Labour Government came to listen to the concerns of Pembrokeshire. The campaign is not over; we will keep fighting to defend our A&E.”

Stephen Crabb MP and colleagues at the protest (Pic: S Kurtz)

The rain held off for just long enough for the protest to take place (Pic Herald)

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “We’re aware that some people are anxious about changes to healthcare provision but our doctors and other clinicians have led this work and we believe this is our best chance to deal with the fragility of our NHS and to provide the population with safe, effective care that meets their needs.

“We want to make it clear that our plans are not to move services from Withybush to Glangwili hospital but to provide a new hospital in a more equitable position somewhere between Narberth and St Clears. This will bring many services closer to people in Pembrokeshire than they are now, including our main intensive care unit, overnight children’s (paediatric) services and high risk births. This will not happen overnight and we are committed to working with our communities and our partners to demonstrate and test what additional provision can be made in areas furthest from the new hospital, particularly for time-sensitive emergency conditions.

“We also wish to reassure people that should our plans for a new hospital be unsuccessful, we would need to reconsider how we could meet our challenges and this would mean coming back to our communities to engage with them.”
Helen Mary Jones, the Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, will be speaking at a Save Withybush demonstration outside the hospital in Haverfordwest on Saturday.

People from all over Pembrokeshire were at the protest. (Pic: Herald)

Plaid Cymru responded to the decision of Hywel Dda University Health Board to remove services from Withybush and Glangwili hospitals by calling on the Welsh Government’s Health Secretary to intervene to properly merge health and social services.

Helen Mary Jones, Plaid Cymru AM told The Herald that she had raised the issue of Withybush Hospital consistently.

She said: “Since the consultation on the future of services Plaid Cymru elected members have held a number of ‘Health Summits’, with a range of clinicians, to determine how best to deliver health and social services care across the region.

Helen Mary Jones said that the proposals are ‘disappointing’ and ‘a missed opportunity to transform health and social care’.

“There is a vacuum of information on how services will be integrated, recruitment solved, and services delivered” she added.

Mrs Jones told The Herald: “It is clear to us that the Health Board’s choice doesn’t address how services will actually be improved in the short to medium term. There is no proposal for better out-of-hours care, no plan for substantial increases in social care services, and no plans for investing in the ambulance services – only the removal of essential services and the hope that maybe, one day, we’ll see a new hospital. What we have heard so far makes no mention of the transformation that needs to occur in the relationship with local councils and the third sector for the changes to be realised.

“The west has been waiting far too long for a long-term health plan to improve our services.”



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



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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All people eligible for vaccination will get theirs by end of July



PEOPLE eligible for the coronavirus vaccine will get theirs by the end of July, the Health Minister has said.

Wales achieved its target of getting everyone in the first four priority groups vaccinated by the middle of February and is now working on offering the vaccine to those in groups 5 to 9.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has set out that people with severe or profound learning disabilities or with a mental illness will be among priority group 6.

Mr Gething said that they were would make sure that no one is left behind.

The latest figures from Public Health Wales show that 878,506 people had received their first dose of the vaccine.

59,279 people have received both doses of the vaccine.

Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services, said: “We have achieved our first milestone of offering everyone in the first four priority groups vaccination by mid-February.

“We are now making progress in achieving our next milestone, which is to offer the vaccine to all individuals in priority groups 5 to 9.

“The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has set out that people with a severe/profound learning disability and individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, or any mental illness that causes severe functional impairment, should be invited for vaccination as part of priority group 6.

“There are challenges with identifying individuals within these groups, particularly given the JCVI language is not generally in use in Wales, and we are working hard to make sure that no one is left behind. Today we have published guidance on identifying eligible individuals in these groups and on how to support them to take up their vaccine offers.

“The JCVI has also said that some of our invaluable unpaid carers should be included in priority group 6.

“Today we have also published guidance on identifying those unpaid carers eligible for vaccine prioritisation and the process around this. I am grateful to the national carers’ organisations for their support with this work.”

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Council want your help to keep Pembrokeshire active



PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL is asking residents to give their views on local walking and cycling routes.

The Council aims to make journeys on foot and by bicycle easier, safer and more enjoyable for everyone.

In order to design a network that works for all, the Council would like to get the views of as many people as possible, particularly those who don’t currently walk or cycle. This will help ensure the routes built for walking and cycling work for the whole community.

The consultation focuses on the main towns and villages in Pembrokeshire which have been selected by Welsh Government as the designated localities in the County. These are:

  • Fishguard & Goodwick
  • Haverfordwest
  • Johnston
  • Milford Haven
  • Neyland
  • Pembroke Dock
  • Pembroke
  • Tenby
  • Saundersfoot
  • Narberth

Pembrokeshire Council is currently undertaking an Active Travel Network Map consultation (ATNM) which will run in 3 stages

Consultation 1: Residents can take part in the consultation exercise online, hosted by Commonplace at

The interactive map allows participants to flag issues, problems and successes on a plan of the active travel settlement and add comments. Such points could be for example, a pavement that is too narrow or a newly built cycle route that is regarded as a success.

The first stage of the consultation will close on 31 st March 2021.

Consultation 2: Following this, the second step of the consultation will see the Council share the initial findings and ask people what they think of the plans
proposed as a result of the feedback received.

Consultation 3: The third stage of the consultation will give members of the public a final say on the Active Travel Network Maps before they are sent to Welsh Government for approval. These maps will have been produced taking into account public feedback and ideas from consultations 1 and 2.

By upgrading facilities and creating new walking and cycling routes, the Council plans to make Active Travel the popular choice for local journeys, to increase the attractiveness of local communities as places to live and work, improve health and well-being, and help tackle air pollution.

Cllr Phil Baker, Pembrokeshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, said: “This consultation exercise will produce an Active Travel Network Map which will be a plan of routes the Council will use to inform where improvements to walking and cycling should be made in Pembrokeshire.

“It will help to make journeys on foot or by bicycle easier and safer for everyone, particularly those who don’t currently walk or cycle often and people who use mobility aids and will build on the increased level of walking and cycling that we have seen over the last 12 months during the pandemic.”

See more information on Active Travel at:

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