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Charitable funds – Pembrokeshire NHS – where does your donation go?

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A SPECIAL REPORT by Lyn Neville

A SPECIAL REPORT
by Lyn Neville

Many people give donations to the local hospital for different reasons. My concern is for Cancer Services at Withybush Hospital in Haverfordwest and what is done with this money. I have suffered personal grief when members of my family have passed away on Ward 10. The first feeling is sorrow but you also feel the need to help the people who helped you and your loved one. The staff on Ward 10 and in the Chemotherapy Day Unit (CDU) have been caring, helpful, compassionate and professional. Many people make donations in lieu of flowers and in legacies to Ward 10 and the CDU. But, when you make a donation now the Ward 10 and CDU funds have disappeared and become part of Pembrokeshire Cancer Services. So can you give your money specifically (only) to Ward 10 or CDU? It certainly seems not. The Hywel Dda General Fund Charity (the Charity) was established on 29 March 2012 and is registered with the Charity Commission (1147863). The Charity has a single corporate trustee – Hywel Dda [University] Local Health Board. (The name has recently changed again to Hywel Dda Health Charities). The object of the Charity is that: “… The Trustees shall hold the trust fund upon trust to apply the income, and at their direction so far as permissible, the capital, for any charitable purpose or purposes relating to the National Health Service…” The Charity’s Strategic Direction (recently agreed at a Public Board meeting) sets out what the Charity aims to support from the donations received: “The Hywel Dda Charity’s objective is to support any NHS charitable purpose. This is primarily within the Hywel Dda area. The Trustees ensure that this purpose is carried out for the public benefit by working to the following aim: To raise more than £2 million per year to help keep Hywel Dda’s Services at the highest standards”. So, it seems the Hywel Dda Health Board NEEDS the generous support of the public to keep Hywel Dda’s Services at the highest standards. If you also take into account that on the 22nd May, 2014 the Audit Committee Report to the Board informed the Health Board that, “The Audit Committee was informed that Hywel Dda University Health Board’s year-end financial position of £19.225m deficit reflects the on-going requirement for major service redesign in order to deliver the statutory breakeven duty. (The major service redesign is another story!!) At that Health Board meeting on the 29th March, 2012 the Board said – “Board Members will be well aware of the local sensitivities to restructuring of charitable Funds. These funds having in the main been raised over many years by voluntary donations and legacies to local services. Board members can be assured that the restructuring has been focussed on improving the Health Board’s ability to spend the monies on these very local services. “By retaining 110 local designations and significant restricted funds we are bound to apply the monies for the purposes intended. The Charity Commission has repeatedly stated that monies are to be applied for the charitable purposes not hoarded. This proposal is aimed at achieving this end. The creation of local a Charitable Funds Subcommittee in each county has further strengthened this local accountability.” So: the Charity Commission says the money mustn’t be “Hoarded” it must be spent. BBC Wales reported recently that £550,000 had been “Ring-fenced” for the CDU and Ward 10 at Withybush Hospital. This is made up of £250,000 for Ward 10 and £300,000 for CDU and was decided at a Hywel Dda Charitable Funds Committee Meeting in September 2013. But the term “Ring-fence” doesn’t really mean anything. On the 1st December, 2011 the Charitable Funds Committee ringfenced £200,000 for Ward 10. On the 3rd April 2012 – Chris Martin (Chair) in a letter to Angela Burns A.M. informed her that £290.000 had been ring-fenced for Ward 10. So between April 2012 and September 2013 the ring-fenced amount for Ward 10 went DOWN by £40,000! So why did that happen? The Charitable Funds Committee agreed to ring-fence the funds which means they can also agree Not to ring fence the funds and use them for something else. The money needs to be “Restricted” which in the eyes of the Charity Commissions means that is all it can be used for!! But the Health Board say it is too difficult to do this (and would be very inconvenient). At a meeting with Chris Martin (former Chair of Hywel Dda) on the 12th March, 2014 he said I could “trust him that the money was ring-fenced and that is all it would be used for”. Well he’s gone. Let’s see what his successor says. In the Pembrokeshire Charitable Funds Committee Meeting on Thursday 24th January, 2013 it was minuted that, “discussions took place regarding the Cancer Services Fund as the balances do not look like Ward 10 funds are being ring-fenced. “Redacted” therefore agreed to discuss with “Redacted” to provide reassurance.” At the Charitable Funds Committee 4th March 2014 – (minutes 12th Dec, 2013). Finance CF(14)05 Directors Report – Mr Forster began by advising that this contained both good and bad news. The bad news was that donations were down by 30% comparing year on year figures. Donations are down because no one knows where the money goes or what it is being spent on. In a recent Charitable Funds Committee meeting, a Board Member suggested the use of a general “get out” clause. But what does that mean? I am informed that this was a “reference to the trustees’ general power to apply designated unrestricted funds for “any” purpose.” I was also informed that “as a Charity, they rarely exercise this power.” But it is a power they can use if they want to!! The Health Board has a Fundraising Team and an Army of Media and P.R. people so why can they not explain to the generous people of Pembrokeshire why the funding structure was changed, where the money goes and what it is spent on. I was told at a recent meeting with the Chair of the Pembrokeshire Charitable Funds Committee that donations in Pembrokeshire have, “gone through the floor”. If there is no “Trust” then people will not give. Many people now give money to organisations that hold funds outside the reach of the Health Board like the League of Friends and the Withybush Hospital Cancer Day Unit Appeal Shop who are happy to explain to donors how the funds are distributed. As I said, my main concern is for Cancer Services at Withybush Hospital. I took a look at the Hywel Dda Health Board’s “Cancer Delivery Plan 2013- 16” and there is NO “Planned Action” to establish a new CDU at Withybush Hospital or to Refurbish Ward 10. It is very strange that this is not shown as we have been told for many years now that the plan to do this is ongoing. The “buzz words” these days are Honesty and Transparency so can we please have some from the Hywel Dda Health Board on Charitable Funds……… Please? A Board spokesperson told the Herald: “The University Health Board has repeatedly stated both to Mrs Evans- Thomas and other interested parties that, other than the ‘Bucket Full of Hope’ Appeal Fund monies, the University Health Board did not receive donations and legacies from the public to the Cancer Services Pembrokeshire Fund with any specific wish that they were for the ‘Bucket Full of Hope’ or any expressed restriction (most likely in the form of a legacy) that it be used in this way “The Charity Commission have confirmed that under charity legislation the Trustees have a duty to expend the funds under the objects of the charity to which they were donated and these are specifically NHS. It was further confirmed by them that the University Health Board’s Charity has no power to hand these monies wholesale to a non NHS charity. Therefore it is the hospital charity that is responsible for the public discharge of those funds under Charity Commission rules and charity legislation. “NHS bodies can work with other charities on matters of joint interest. However, this would usually be in the form of expenditure grants directly to shared projects and not what ‘Bucket Full of Hope’ are requesting. It is for the Trustees of the NHS charity to make decisions insofar as they lie within their power.”

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Return of Walk and Talk group for Dementia Action Week

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THE PEMBROKESHIRE Walk and Talk Group will make its return next week, coinciding with Dementia Action Week which runs from May 17-24.

Several events are being held across Pembrokeshire and the UK and PAVS has announced two Walk and Talk sessions.

One will be held in the South of the County in Begelly on Wednesday, May 19, and one in the North of the County in Newport on Thursday, May 20.

Walk and Talk is a dementia supportive group. The group provides the opportunity to socialise, improve your physical and mental wellbeing and at the same time enjoy the wonderful Pembrokeshire scenery. There will be walk and talk groups every week starting from next week.

Places are limited and will be on a first come first served basis,  to book a place on these walks please contact Cherry Evans on 07849 086009 or email cherry.evans@pavs.org.uk

Dementia Action Week aims to promote and make people aware that with the right support, people living with dementia can live a good quality of life doing what matters most to them for as long as possible.

One in fourteen people over the age of 65 are living with Dementia and approximately 42,000 people in Wales have Dementia. 65% of people living with dementia are women and 35% men

The covid-19 pandemic meant that many groups and clubs had to shut down and that has made things difficult for those people living with dementia.

People were left isolated and feeling lonely but thanks to modern technology they have been able to keep many in contact with those groups and their loved ones.

Throughout Dementia Action Week there will be daily interviews on the radio station Pure West Radio with lots of information about the activities and points of reference for support across Pembrokeshire.

These daily interviews will cover everything from diagnosing dementia, support, carers perspectives and even the power of music. You can listen to these each day at 11.15am Monday to Friday and at 2.15pm on Saturday and Sunday

If you fancy trying out a ‘tea and natter’ session on Zoom on Tuesday, May 18, at 2.30pm please contact Cherry Evans on 07849 086009 or email cherry.evans@pavs.org.uk

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Cllr Mike James is new Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has a new Chairman.

Cllr Mike James became Chairman at the virtual Annual Meeting of Council today (Friday, May 14) following an extended period as Vice Chairman due to the Covid-19 situation.

Cllr James, who represents St Dogmaels, moves into the Chairman’s seat vacated by Cllr Simon Hancock.

Cllr Pat Davies was appointed Vice-Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council.

At the same meeting Cllr Hancock was appointed Presiding Member for the coming year.

Cllr James joined Pembrokeshire County Council in 2010 and has previously served as Chairman of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Chairman of National Park Wales.

Cllr James said: “I feel very privileged to be appointed Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council.

“I always try to achieve the best in my life and this is right up there at the top.

“I hope I can achieve the high standard set by Councillors who have been Chairman before me. Councillor Simon Hancock most certainly accomplished that standard.”

Cllr James is married to Sian and they have two daughters, Fern James and Rhiannon Lloyd.

Born and bred in St Dogmaels, Cllr James attended Ysgol Llandudoch and Ysgol Uwchradd Aberteifi.

He worked for 32 years at Slimma/Dewhirst Cardigan and for four years as an LSA in Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn.

Cllr James has also served as Clerk to St Dogmaels Community Council, as the Carers Champion for Pembrokeshire County Council and as a representative on numerous other committees and sub-committees.

A member of Cardigan Rugby Club Male Voice Choir, Cllr James also sits on the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Panel.

Cllr James added: “The last 14 months have not been easy for many people. I hope there is a light at the end of a long tunnel where we can meet and speak to loved ones again.

“I am a people’s person and I hope, if I am allowed, to have the opportunity to meet and talk to as many residents in Pembrokeshire as possible.”

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New international travel rules for Wales confirmed by First Minister

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International travel will restart for people in Wales from Monday 17 May, the Welsh Government has confirmed today.

As part of changes to Wales’ coronavirus regulations, people living in Wales will be able to travel to some overseas destinations without the need to quarantine on their return.

But additional safeguards will be put in place to help prevent new cases of coronavirus being imported into Wales.

A traffic lights system, aligned with England and Scotland, will be introduced. Countries will be classified as green, amber and red, depending on their rates of coronavirus.

Mandatory quarantine is in place for all people returning to the UK from countries on the amber and red lists. All people returning from overseas travel must have a PCR test.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

 “Wales, like other parts of the UK, will be restarting international travel. But protecting people’s health continues to be our top priority and we want to do everything we can to prevent coronavirus from being re-imported into Wales.

 “This will not be like travel in the past. Everyone travelling abroad will have to have a test when they come home and for many people, they will need to quarantine when they get home. There are significant fines in place for those who do not follow the legal requirements.

“Some countries are not yet opening up travel to people from the UK. It’s my strong advice that this is the year to stay at home and enjoy all that Wales has to offer.”

Under the international travel rules:

• People arriving from green-list countries are not required to quarantine on their return to Wales, but they must book and pay for a mandatory PCR test on or before day two of their return. All travellers and members of their household will also be reminded about the availability of additional lateral flow tests to continue to monitor their health.

• People arriving from amber-list countries are required to quarantine for 10 days at home on their return. This is a legal requirement. They are also required to book and pay for mandatory PCR tests on day two and on day eight. Unlike in England, Wales does not operate a test-to-release scheme where an additional test can be taken on day five to reduce the period of quarantine. This is because some 30% of people who develop Covid-19 do so after day five.

• People arriving from countries on the red list are required to quarantine for a full 10 days on arrival in the UK at a designated UK port in a government-managed facility – a ‘covid hotel’ – at their own cost, starting from £1,750 per person. All UK entry points for arrivals from red-list countries are in England and Scotland, which means Welsh residents returning from those countries will need to quarantine outside Wales. Travellers are also required to book and pay for mandatory PCR tests on day two and day eight.

All those who do not follow the rules for red-list countries face fixed notice penalties of £10,000.

Welsh residents must also consult the requirements for visitors for any country they plan to travel to. Restrictions may be in place, including proof of vaccination, tests, quarantine and reasons for entry.

Vaccination status certificates will be available for people in Wales who have had two doses of their vaccination and need to urgently travel to a country that requires covid vaccination proof from Monday 24 May.

The First Minister added:

“We call on people to think about whether they need to travel overseas at this time. We should be cautious about going abroad in light of the ongoing risk of coronavirus and the presence of variants of concern in many countries.

“My clear message to everyone is make Wales your destination of choice this year.”

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