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Save Withybush Hospital Campaign issues local ‘Call to arms’ ahead of Senedd debate showdown

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CAMPAIGNERS determined to save the A&E at Withybush hospital have announced that they will be ramping up efforts to engage local support for the hospital in the run up to the Senedd debate, which is to be held on Wednesday, June 29.

The debate comes following the recent Save Withybush A&E petition topping the 10,000 signatures needed for it to be considered for debate. With such strong support, now sitting at over 11,000 signatures, campaigners were offered the opportunity to close the petition early, so that it could go directly to a debate in the Senedd prior to the summer recess.

With the petition demonstrating such overwhelming feeling on this issue, campaigners say that they are now issuing a local “call to arms” ahead of the debate. Describing this as a rally cry for local residents, Town and community councils, Trade Union branches, County Councillors and anyone with concerns over the proposed downgrades to the hospital to take action and to make their voice heard in the run up to the debate.

A spokesperson said: “We have created several ways which people can help, We have created a Model Motion in support of the campaign which we are asking Town Councils, Community Councils and Trade Union branches across Pembrokeshire to carry at their meetings, We’d also like to thank Fishguard Town Council who are already canvassing their electorate with regards to passing a motion defending Withybush.  We urge County Councillors to support a similar motion which is currently being considered by Pembrokeshire County Council. We’ve created an email template which we ask residents to send to their Local and Regional elected MS’s. We need to let our elected reps know that united we will defeat these dangerous plans to take away our A&E.” 

Adding: “Voluntary researchers have also joined the campaign and have helped to create a briefing paper which will be sent to all the relevant MS’s so that they can contribute to the debate, fully armed with the facts, and in full knowledge of the dangers these proposals pose.”

The hard hitting Briefing paper highlights several areas where the Health Board’s proposed changes would put people at risk and have not been properly thought out, including concerns over the safety of workers within Pembrokeshire’s more dangerous industries such as Farming and the Oil refinery. Also citing the impact the changes would have for people who do not have cars and who simply could not rely on Pembrokeshire’s poorer infrastructure and public transport links if the changes ever went ahead.  

Campaigners say the paper also highlights the Health Board’s abject failure to properly engage with the local community.  Saying: “Under the Future Generations Act, which which is a brilliant piece of legislation adopted by Welsh Government in 2015, the Health Board has a legislative obligation to engage in co-production of services while drawing up proposals like this, our paper shows unequivocally that they have failed to do this because the various public consultation processes have not used the correct methodology. It’s all very well having brilliant ideas, but it’s not much use if those ideas are not being properly implemented which puts people’s health and lives at risk.”

The paper concludes with what campaigners describe as “damning insights” into the Health Board’s Financial motivation for the downgrades with the following words:.

“It is well known that HDUHB had been placed in targeted intervention, and is still under enhanced monitoring (last assessed 11th Feb. 2022) for financial mismanagement. We understand that there needs to be a business case presented to fund such wide scale changes; but the proposals are suggestive of making decisions based upon financial considerations rather than health need and population well being. HDUHB has three times issued public statements regarding pressure on services requesting the public stay away and cite recruitment problems as background issues to the proposals. Whilst these are pressing matters; they should not form the basis of decision making that risks universal access to that most basic health service- critical care.”

All of the ways which people can get involved, including how to email their local MS’s can be found on the Save Withybush Facebook group, or alternatively people can email savewithybush.wales@gmail.com for a copy of the template letter to send to their MS’s.

The Save Withybush campaign urges all concerned to email or write to their MS’s and for all Town and Community Councils to adopt their model motion in defence of the hospital adding: “There seems to be a misconception among the executive of the Health Board that these proposals are some kind of ‘done deal’, they are not, the Board will soon learn that Pembrokeshire is prepared to fight them at every level to stop these dangerous proposals and that with our collective voice we will remind them that their job is to provide universal access to health services inline with the original principles of the NHS, currently they are not doing that, instead operating more like a corporate body which has lost its way.”

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Pembrokeshire residents head to the polls for The Local Government Election 2022

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THOUSANDS of voters across Pembrokeshire will head to the polls on today to have their say on who they want to represent their local area for the next five years.

The election will determine who will lead Pembrokeshire County Council, which is responsible for a large number of vital services for people and businesses such as rubbish collection, managing schools, providing social care and housing to name just a few.

Local elections: Thousands of People in Pembrokeshire will be heading to the polls today (Image: File)

There is no election in 19 council wards due to those seats being uncontested. Pembrokeshire has the second highest number of uncontested council seats in Wales, after Gwynedd. People in those wards have received a letter from the council explaining there is no election in their areas.

Some people have already had the chance to cast their vote in today’s election via a postal vote.

For everyone else, polling stations will open across the county opened at 7am and, they will remain open for fifteen hours – closing at 10pm.

For the first time, those aged 16-17 will be able to take part and vote in the local government election.

EU citizens are permitted to vote in the election.

Some people could have two votes, for example if they live in two Local Authority areas (for example students or because of work).

Voters will get a ballot paper to select which candidates they want to back.

If there is more than one councillor in a ward (Dual seat ward) voters will get more than one vote.

It is first past the post, so the winners in the ward are the candidates who win the most votes.

HOW TO VOTE

Polling stations will open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday, May 5, 2022.

You don’t need your poll card to vote.

You must vote at your assigned polling station.

If you are registered to vote, but you don’t have your poll card, you can go to the polling station and give them your name and address.

In Wales, you don’t need any form of ID.

Once the polls close ballot boxes will be delivered to The Parkhouse Centre, Withybush Showground, Haverfordwest in preparation of the count which will start at 9am on Friday.

It is estimated first Council ward declaration will be at around 10am, the full council declaration is estimated at 2pm.

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New Chief says ‘there’s always more to do, I’ll starts as I mean to go on’

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE’S new Chief Constable, Dr Richard Lewis, marks his return to force with a Saturday nightshift back on the streets of Aberystwyth, where he first began his policing career.

Announced as Police & Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn’s preferred candidate to lead the force following the retirement of Mark Collins earlier this year, Dr Lewis has served as the Chief Constable in Cleveland since April 2019.

Originally from Carmarthenshire, his career in the police service started in 2000. During his 18 years in Dyfed-Powys Police he served in every rank up to Deputy Chief Constable, working in all four counties in the force. He has also been the head of the professional standards department and chaired the Wales Counter Corruption Working Group.

Speaking ahead of his return home, Chief Constable Dr Richard Lewis shared a message with the organisation about his intentions for Dyfed-Powys Police, and the importance of giving our communities and the workforce a voice in shaping those plans for the future.

The Chief’s plan is to consult both within and outside of the force, he said

He said: “Since my appointment, I’ve heard so many tell me that there’s no reason why Dyfed-Powys Police can’t be an outstanding organisation and public service for our communities – I couldn’t agree more, but the time has come to stop asserting what we could be, and push on harder to always improve. The first step to doing so is to consult on priorities, and I will do this during my first 100 days; not forgetting that we must also work to deliver the PCCs Police & Crime Plan, in itself develop through consultation with our communities.

“My aim in spending my first shift back in force, out on the streets with our frontline colleagues is because I want to see it as it is and hear it as it is. I want the truth and I want challenge.”

The Chief’s plan to consult both within and outside of the organisation takes him through until late March, at which point the hoped-for rich picture of where Dyfed-Powys Police goes next and the plan to deliver the vision will be put into place.

Dyfed Powys Police has many unique challenges

Dr Lewis continued: “Once we agree on priorities, we will relentlessly pursue them as a single team, with clarity and focus. Prioritising some things means admitting that other things, whilst important, are not top of our agenda.

“However, consulting cannot mean that our work grinds to a halt in the meantime – the rhythm of an organisation requires work to continue apace.

“When we’ve set our priorities and decided how we will measure progress, we will not set targets but simply aim to be better every single day. We will not define ourselves against the results of others, but aim to continuously improve.”

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3-year-old boy killed in tragic accident on farm near Clynderwen

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A YOUNG CHILD has been tragically killed in a vehicle collision on private land near Clynderwen, the police have confirmed.

A spokesperson for the police told The Pembrokeshire Herald on Wednesday (Aug 4) “Dyfed-Powys Police was alerted to a collision involving a vehicle and a child at a private property in the Clynderwen area at approximately 7pm on Tuesday, August 3.

“Sadly, a three-year-old boy died at the scene.

“An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident is ongoing and the family is being supported by specialist officers.

“The Health and Safety Executive and HM Coroner have been informed. Nobody else was injured.”

The Herald understands that the incident involves an agricultural vehicle.

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