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Cancer care questions continue

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prof wagstaff• Health Board cancer service ‘propped up’ and ‘unsustainable’

• Will cancer care be cut and moved to Carmarthen?

“HYWEL DDA do have a serious problem with their oncology services. They currently employ two oncologists to serve a population of 250,000 persons. 

“They rely on visiting Swansea consultants to prop up their service. This is unsustainable. “Furthermore oncology has become so specialised that it is no longer possible to be a general oncologist treating all types of cancer. “It is my view that Hywel Dda should employ sufficient oncologists to allow patients with common cancers to be treated at one hospital in the Health Board. “Patients with rarer cancers will need to travel to Swansea to a consultant who is sub specialised in the rarer cancer types. This is the way that oncology is developing across Europe.” The words of Professor John Wagstaff, the Programme Director in Medical Oncology for the Wales Deanery, the Postgraduate School for Medicine and Dentistry and the body responsible for commissioning, quality assurance and supporting the education and training of trainees, hospital doctors, GPs, dentists and DCPs throughout Wales. We asked the Health Board to respond to Professor Wagstaff’s views and we were directed to the comment it had already made about cancer services in Pembrokeshire last week: “Hywel Dda University Health Board is fully committed to the achievement of a new Chemotherapy Day Unit for Pembrokeshire which will realise the time, effort and investment that has been made by those fundraising in the county. The capital build is only part of the challenge as all service/units that we provide require a review of staffing to ensure that they are sustainable in the long term. “We continue to work hard with colleagues, partner organisations and stakeholders, including our charitable fundraisers, to ensure we provide the best care possible for cancer patients and will continue to work closely with them on the development of the new Chemotherapy Day Unit.” That response does not, however, address one inconsistency in the Health Board’s approach. The head of oncology at the Wales Deanery says that the current service model cannot be sustained and that services need to be centred in one location in relation to cancer services. Taking the Board’s press statement above at face value, it contemplates ignoring Professor Wagstaff’s view, albeit one expressed in a personal capacity. However, the Board continues to press ahead with its even more controversial plans relating to the SCBU, which it claims it is obliged to carry out due to Deanery advice on service provision. Most tellingly, it appears that the advertisement for a cancer specialist doctor at Withybush will be precisely the type of general post that Professor Wagstaff states is no longer appropriate. A Health Board spokesperson also said: “We are currently undertaking a review of Oncology Services which about strengthening and modernising local services providing high quality, safe, effective treatment and care as close to patient’s home as possible. “The review board includes in its membership oncologist from ABMUHB with whom we have a long standing contractual relationship to deliver oncology services. The board will consider a range of views from different clinical staff. The board also includes members of the CHC. “This process is not about reducing the service we offer but is about creating a more sustainable, high quality service. This may mean the way we deliver cancer services may change.”

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Firefighters extinguish blaze at St Catherine’s Fort, Tenby

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A CONTROLLED wood fire earlier in the day caused a fire to break out on Tenby’s St Catherine’s Island on Thursday (May 6).

Heat that was caused by a wood fire earlier in the day caused a ignition on the unburned wood nearby that was needed to be extinguished by Tenby fire crew.

Taking to their Facebook page, St Catherine’s island thanked Tenby Fire Brigade for their assistance.

No serious damage was caused by the incident.

The spokesperson said: “A massive shout out to Tenby Fire Brigade last night who were called to the Island last night after we left following a long day working on the Fort and burning off all the old flooring, having now replaced it all. 

“We had spent at least half an hour making sure that our controlled barrel fire was out. Unfortunately the ground was so hot it transferred to the rest of the unburned wood. 

“Thanks to our amazing local Fire Service, they were on hand to help us out and no damage occurred.”

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Angle Lifeboat tasked to disabled yacht 22miles from St Ann’s head

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Image Credit - RNLI Penny Harris

ANGLE LIFEBOAT and her crew saw out April when they were tasked on 30th of April to a yacht 22miles from St Ann’s head.

Angle Lifeboat and her crew saw out April when they were tasked on 30th of April to a yacht 22miles from St Ann’s head.

The lifeboat was launched at 10:43pm to a 26ft yacht that had reported smoke coming from their engine compartment. The casualty vessel was 22 miles south west of St Ann’s with two crew onboard.

The lifeboat arrived on scene at 11:46pm. The on scene assessment was carried out and both crew were safe and well but the vessel would need to be towed to Milford Haven. The tow was set up and the casualty vessel was under tow at 11:56pm.

The conditions were perfect for the slow tow back which saw a beautiful moon rising and the early glow of dawn.

Lifeboat arrived at Milford and swapped the casualty vessel to an alongside tow to take it alongside in to the lock at Milford Marina where the casualty was safely tied up at 04:49am.

The lifeboat rehoused at 05:15am where she got her well deserved washdown and the crew headed home to get some sleep.

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Meet the Pembrokeshire Mower Doctor

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A NEW Pembrokeshire business is proving to be an inspiration for young people after its recent launch.

The Pembrokeshire Mower Doctor is the brainchild of Ewan Griffiths, who turned his dream into reality thanks to the advice and support of Cam Nesa.

The project aims to reduce the number of young people aged 16-24 who are not in education, training or employment.

Before signing up to Cam Nesa, Ewan was out of work and struggling for direction, and anxiety was preventing him from maximising his potential.

Throughout his journey with Cam Nesa, Ewan worked closely with youth worker Donna Wright to devise a plan that provided support and guidance to improve his confidence and self-esteem, and provide mechanisms for coping with anxiety.

In addition, the project provided Ewan with opportunities to gain qualifications and obtain information that would help him with starting his own business.

Ewan’s message to other young people is simple, “If you find yourself struggling, there is help.”

“Cam Nesa supported me in all aspects of my plan, and working with Donna was fantastic.”

“I would definitely encourage others to reach out for support.”

Donna Wright, who supported Ewan throughout his Cam Nesa journey, said that the launch of his new business is a great source of pride for Cam Nesa and Pembrokeshire Youth Service.

“Ewan has come on leaps and bounds, and it was his engagement and determination that has made his outcome with Cam Nesa so successful and inspiring”, she said.

“Congratulations Ewan on your achievements, and we all wish you good luck with your new business.”

The Pembrokeshire Mower Doctor provides repairs and servicing for mowers, strimmers, hedge cutters, and most agricultural engines, with the mobile service providing collection and returns.

For more information, search ‘Pembrokeshire Mower Doctor’ on Facebook.

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