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Three field hospitals to be decommissioned as health board reviews capacity

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THE LOCAL health board has confirmed that three coronavirus field hospitals will close

In a statement released on Wednesday (Mar 24) Hywel Dda University Health Board said that Ysbyty Enfys Scarlets, based at Parc Y Scarlets, Llanelli; Ysbyty Enfys Carreg Las, based near Narberth, Pembrokeshire, and Ysbyty Enfys Plascrug, Aberystwyth, will all be returned to their former use from 31 March 2021.

Ysbyty Enfys Selwyn Samuel, in Llanelli, will be retained until 2022 as a surge facility in the event of a possible third wave of Coronavirus, while Cardigan Leisure Centre will be retained as a Test Trace and Protect and Mass Vaccination facility.

Andrew Carruthers, Director of Operations at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We are extremely grateful to all of our partners, including local authorities, Llanelli Town Council and private businesses such as Parc Y Scarlets and Bluestone, for coming together early in the pandemic and making it possible for us to have these facilities at our disposal.

“From the outset it was clear that we could not predict the way the virus would spread and affect our local population, and we have known that being flexible in our use of these facilities would be key to the way we cared for patients.

“We are proud to have been able to bring some of our field hospitals into use to help manage the demand during the second wave in particular, and are currently looking at what level of support we may need going forwards.

“As such we can confirm that we will be returning some of our field hospitals to their former use, while taking a pragmatic and cautious approach by retaining some beds in the Carmarthenshire locality in the event of a possible third wave of the virus. I would like in particular to extend our thanks to Llanelli Town Council for their ongoing support in our use of the Selwyn Samuel building which will allow us to retain this bed base in the immediate future.

“This pandemic has taken a tragic toll on human life, and despite the success of the vaccine rollout both locally and nationally, it is far from over. It’s essential that our local communities continue to follow national guidance on all aspects of lockdown restrictions, distancing, hygiene and use of masks, and that people do not view the operational decisions that we take as a health board in isolation – we all still need to continue with the collective effort in the fight against Covid-19.”

The Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, Cllr David Simpson, added: “Pembrokeshire County Council is pleased to have worked collaboratively with Hywel Dda on the development of the Covid-19 Field Hospital at Ysbyty Enfys Carreg Las. The scheme was developed with breath-taking speed – from inception to practical completion in less than a month. We are pleased to have been a partner to the Health Board in providing this important facility for local residents during this difficult period.”

Eifion Evans, Chief Executive of Ceredigion County Council, added: “Ceredigion County Council were honoured to have been able to support Hywel Dda Local Health Board during the past twelve months by ensuring that facilities were available to be transformed into field hospitals, in order to respond to this pandemic. Cardigan Leisure Centre will remain as a vaccination centre for as long as required in order to support the work of the Health Board during these challenging times.”

The health board said it would like to urge caution and remind members of the public that the pandemic remains active.

The board said: “People should not assume that our planning decisions signal an immediate return to normality.

“In particular, we are strongly urging local residents and communities to continue following national guidance on social distancing, hand hygiene and use of face masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.”

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Tragedy above Milford Haven takeaway

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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’

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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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Joinery learner through to Screwfix Trade Apprentice of the Year Finals

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PEMBROKESHIRE COLLEGE joinery learner, Conor Ratcliff has made it through to the final ten in this year’s Screwfix Trade Apprentice of the Year competition.

Now in its seventh year, the competition celebrates the next generation of tradespeople as they start out on their career. With over 2,500 nominations, Conor was shortlisted to the top 30 where he had to deliver a video presentation to industry-leading judges and trade body representatives. Judged on professionalism, creativity, innovation, enthusiasm and knowledge of their trade, Conor impressed the judges and is now in the final 10.  

Simon Jackson, Screwfix Customer and Digital director, commented: “Every year we are amazed by the outstanding quality of entrants and, this year, we are on the lookout for apprentices who go above and beyond to succeed within their chosen trade.

“We’ve seen how this career-boosting accolade and £10,000 prize bundle helps kickstart an apprentice’s career. I’d like to wish everyone through to this stage the best of luck!”

The prize package includes everything a future tradesperson may need to start up their own business including £5,000 of tools, a £3,000 training budget and £2,000 worth of technology. The college where they study will also receive £2,000.

Conor is thrilled to have made it through to the finals and commented: “I am extremely honoured to have made it this far in the competition and I am very excited for the final event. It would be an amazing opportunity for me, if I won this competition.

“I hope it encourages more people to consider an apprenticeship in a trade, the Carpentry and Joinery department have been incredibly supportive during my studies.”

The Final is due to take place imminently where the judges will conduct an online interview with the ten finalists before selecting and announcing their overall winner.

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