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Three potential hospital sites for public consultation – campaigners not satisfied

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HYWEL DDA health board says that it will consult with the public over three potential sites, two in the Whitland area and one in St Clears, for a new planned and urgent care hospital as part of its wider strategy to improve health and care in the region.

The health board submitted plans to the Welsh Government, earlier this year. It insists that if successful, the new hospital could result in the region of £1.3billion investment into health and care in west Wales.

Despite opposition from many people in Pembrokeshire, a petition signed by thousands and dozens of demonstrations it is continuing with its plan.

Facing constant downgrades: Withybush General Hospital in Haverfordwest

The health board’s argument is that the foundation of its plan is to bring as much care as possible closer to people’s homes, with plans for multiple integrated health and care centres, designed with local communities, across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

Locals say that a hospital away from the centre of Pembrokeshire would mean longer travel times in an emergency – costing lives. They also point to poor rural roads, and the fact that the A40 has not been dueled past St. Clears as concerns – the road is often shut when there is an accident meaning long diversions.

A new urgent and planned care hospital is part of the health board’s strategy to be able to re-provide more care in community settings, by having a sustainable hospital model fit for future generations. This would, the board says, improve and increase the specialist care services that can be provided and tackle some long standing challenges, including old hospitals, problems in maintaining medical rotas over several hospitals, and staff recruitment.

Health Board say its hard to recruit staff for Withybush

In a meeting held on Thursday (Aug 4), the Board heard that the process to date in appraising potential new hospital sites, within the zone agreed following “public consultation” in 2018, had received best practice recognition from the independent body the Consultation Institute.

There was unanimous agreement that further public consultation was needed, especially in order to hear the voices of the seldom heard and staff, including those in the community and primary care services.

Based on the evidence and detail provided through the comprehensive land appraisal process to date, the Board decided to take three of five previously considered sites, through to public consultation.

Sites that will not be taken forward include one of two in St Clears (site J). This was because it had the highest risk score based on characteristics of the site and it was scored materially lower than other sites in the technical appraisal, which was made up of a majority representation from the public and used a weighted scoring process in line with what is most important to our communities.

The other site not taken forward for public consultation was the Narberth site. This was due to clinical appraisal concerns that a site further west would lead to a reduction in the number births, neonatal admissions and acute paediatric admissions reducing the critical mass for safe and sustainable services, and having a negative impact on maintaining trainee status for doctors, nurses and midwives. In relation to time critical transfers, for example neonatal intensive care and cardiac, these all go east and a hospital in Narberth would result in longer transfer times.

Vehicle collision: male was taken to Withybush Hospital. Would new site be too far? (Pic. Michael Brown)

In summing up the meeting, Hywel Dda University Health Board Chair Maria Battle said: “Our programme business case to the Welsh Government is seeking the greatest investment west Wales will have ever seen, and builds on the foundation of our promise to bring as much care as possible closer to people’s homes through integrated care centres in many towns across west Wales.

“We have listened to and continue to listen to the fears and voices of the public we serve and our staff who understand the frontline challenges of trying to deliver services across so many sites and spread so thinly. We promise as a Board to continue to listen and take those views into account at every stage. Recognising the fragility of our services and the risk this poses every day, we do not intend to make changes at Glangwili or Withybush Hospital before a new hospital is built. And afterwards, they will continue to provide valuable health services to our communities.”

Protests have gone on for years: Cardiff in 2014

The health board will now work closely with Hywel Dda Community Health Council to develop a consultation plan to hear people’s views on the three remaining sites, one in St Clears, and two in Whitland.

Campaigners say that moving care out of county puts adults and children at risk of poor outcomes or even death. It wastes crucial time, when time is not on our side.

A campaigner told The Herald: “We have 125,000 residents and millions of tourists.

“By implementing the downgrades, HDUHB, will be knowingly putting their lives at risk.

“We re-iterate, we are a rural, widespread county, with poor roads and public transport network.

“Refinery, gas plant, ferry ports, firing range, extreme sports, plus one of the most dangerous professions: farming.

“HDUHB may infer that the “Golden Hour” is no longer relevant, with better equipped ambulances and better trained staff, but that is dependent on an ambulance being available to help & give that immediate care.

“That is increasingly not the case, as ambulances fail to attend, as they are being sent out of county, unable to offload and unable to return to county, to give the help needed.

“It is an awful feeling to know that if our relatives or our children have a life threatening asthma attack, epileptic episode, or other time critical issue, within the new plans, they are unlikely to get to help and survive.

“HDUHB have said they will make no guarantee that Urgent Care would remain in Withybush General Hospital until (and if), a new build is up and running! That is unacceptable.

“HDUHB should commit to rigorous recruitment policies, to keep WGH Urgent Care fully staffed.

“We have lost faith and trust in HDUHB and do not believe that they are working in the best interests of Pembrokeshire.”

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Next week’s Pembrokeshire County Show promises to be an action-packed two-day event

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WALES’ largest county agricultural show, Pembrokeshire County Show, promises to be action-packed next week. The event, taking place on 17 and 18 August at Pembrokeshire County Showground in Haverfordwest, will have something for everyone.

Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society are pulling out all the stops to make the new style two-day event better than before with new attractions and a new showground layout will make the 2022 show one to remember.

Enjoy listening to the all-day entertainment from the music stage, tickle your tastebuds at the fabulous food court, marvel at the livestock classes, be wowed by the showjumping, explore the horticulture, arts and crafts area, shop til you drop in the NEW Country Market area, showcasing over 40 quality local and award winning product and craft stalls.

Mansel Raymond, Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society President said, “We are very excited about the prospect of seeing our wonderful members, competitors, trade stands, sponsors and community coming together once again next week. Whether you’re a Pembrokeshire local or visiting we’re sure you’ll have a fantastic day out. This year’s show is jam-packed with great attractions and events meaning so there’s something for everyone.”

Thousands of visitors are expected to see some of the best livestock, taste fabulous local food and drink, experience country life and enjoy a wealth of entertainment.

Every day, there will be live entertainment from 6am until 7pm from the Pure West Radio stage. Together with broadcasting live from the show both days there will live music, choirs, special guests, competitions, workouts, arts, dance and performances.

There truly will be something for everyone at next week’s show with over 300 trade stands to explore. Entertainment also includes: Sheep dog trials display, vintage demo and static displays, Classic Cars, Zip Wire, Little legs football, Funfair with promotional discount tickets with thanks to Andrew Holmes Funfairs, Pembrokeshire Food Court, Craft & Horticulture, eggs and pigeon show, cattle on the Wednesday, Children’s calf showing; Children’s equine ring, sheep and pigs showing on the Thursday, horses both days, Dog Agility and the Country Market.

There’s always an emphasis on great Welsh produce, celebrating the show’s ethos of ‘field to fork’ and ‘soil to spoon’. Visitors will be able to tickle their taste buds at the huge food court, sponsored by Castell Howell, which celebrates the very best local produce on offer.

In the Countryside Park there will be BASC Wales displays by gun dogs and retrievers; Canine displays by specialist search and detection dogs; live talks and demonstrations timetabled throughout the day by Old Park Apiaries, beekeeping/honey production/pollinator support. There will also be a chance to try your hand in the BASC Air Rifle target shooting range, learn about the British Bird of Prey Centre, White tailed Eagle project, watch Brendan Rocke’s chainsaw sculptures and carvings demonstrations and enjoy Body Canvas, Stilt walking & Balloon sculptures.

The Community Zone, supported by South Hook LNG, brings together a number of voluntary and community groups. Coordinated by Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services (PAVS) the marquee is an opportunity for organisations, who might not normally be able to have a presence at the show, to promote their activities in Pembrokeshire. From giving advice, supporting those in need or providing training and volunteering opportunities.

Getting around at an agricultural show can sometimes be difficult, however at the Pembrokeshire County Showground there is a good network of tarmac making conditions underfoot easier for visitors with limited mobility. Parking is available for Blue Badge holders and we have disabled toilets and Mobiloo at this year’s show. Mobility scooters and wheelchairs hire are available to hire from Advanced Mobility Solutions please visit the website for bookings: www.pembshow.org

To get to the Showground: for SatNav, use the following address: County Showground, Withybush, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, SA62 4BW. The show is signposted from the main A40 trunk roads. Please look for the ‘P’ signs for public parking.

Dogs are very welcome at the show provided they bring their responsible owners with them! Dog drinking bowls are available around the showground. Dogs must be kept on leads.

Tickets are available on the website: www.pembsshow.org and for up-to-date details of this year’s event follow Pembrokeshire County Show on facebook, twitter or Instagram.

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Pembrokeshire camping sites named among the best in UK

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BRITISH camping has boomed in the last two years, with 4.5m Brits going camping or caravanning for the first time since the start of the pandemic, according to Mintel. And new research has now revealed 10 of the best secret camping destinations Britain has to offer, with Abereiddy and Havefordwest in Pembrokeshire amongst the top locations.

To uncover the country’s hidden gems, tyre and vehicle services provider, ATS Euromaster, researched the top camping destinations social media doesn’t know about, by revealing the number of positive reviews on online camping sites with fewer than five Instagram tags.

These stunning sites won’t break the bank either, with prices starting at only £8 a night for two adults.

The highest reviewed UK locations that have flown under the social media radar are: 

 1. Wareham, Dorset

1. Trigon Farm

Wareham is a pretty riverside town, close to the South coast in Dorset, 8 miles from Poole. The thriving market town is situated where the rivers Frome and Piddle meet and offers lots to do.

Hidden gem: Trigon Farm is set in a rural field near Wareham, with views of Trigon Manor house and arable fields to the left and beyond. This is a great site for families, with great facilities. It’s also dog friendly.

Prices from: £17 per night, for a tent or trailer pitch.

2. Dorchester, Dorset

2. Dewflock Farm

A historic market town on the banks of the River Frome to the south of the Dorset Downs, Dorchester is a vibrant place ideal for sightseeing. Some of the UK’s best-preserved Roman ruins are situated moments away from the thriving high street.

Hidden gem: Dewflock Farm is a working farm where people can camp and glamp, just 5 minutes from Dorchester. It’s a great base for people to explore Dorset, including the lovely beaches nearby.

Prices from: £100 per night in a Shepherd’s Hut.

3. Winnats Pass, Peak District, Derbyshire

3. Newfold Farm

An impressive limestone gorge in the White Peak area of the Peak District, Winnats Pass is a perfect spot for camping. The limestone is full of fossils of sea creatures which lived here over 350 million years ago.

Hidden gem: Newfold Farm is a family-run campsite at the start of the Pennine Way. It’s great for hikers and cyclists. It’s also half a mile from a pub and railway station.

Prices from: £20 per night, tent pitch.

4. Truro, Cornwall

4. Callestick Camping

The only city in Cornwall, Truro is a foodie destination surrounded by beautiful gardens and rivers. The cathedral city offers a perfect blend of historic charm and modern retailers, while tranquil camping among pristine nature is never far away.

Hidden gem: Callestick Camping is a dog-friendly wild camping field with spectacular views over the Cornish countryside, and only 10 minutes’ drive from the beach.

Prices from: £17.50 per night, tent or trailer pitch

5. Abereiddy, Pembrokeshire

5. Eco Caerhys Wales

Abereiddy, a small hamlet in Wales, is a perfect place to get away from it all and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Pembrokeshire coast.

Hidden gem: Eco Caerhys Camping in St Davids offers wild meadow camping at an organic farm on the Pembrokshire coastline. It’s a great place for active people, with surfing nearby.

Prices from: £30 per night, tent pitch

6. Dodd, Cumbria

6. Dodd Newlands

A fantastic place to get stunning views of Cumbria’s lovely Lake District, Dodd is just a few miles north of Keswick.

Hidden gem: Newlands Valley Campsite is close to Keswick and Derwentwater. It’s a great place for outdoorsy people, with mountain biking, boating and quad biking offered nearby.

Prices from: £23 per night, tent pitch.

7. St Austell, Cornwall

7. East Crinnis Cornwall

A striking curve of spectacular coastal scenery and an area rich in cultural heritage, St Austell is one of Cornwall’s biggest towns, boasting many gorgeous beaches.

Hidden gem: East Crinnis Camping in Heronbank is a working farm and wildlife haven half a mile from the Cornish coast with easy access to destinations like Fowey, Mevagissey and the Eden Project.

Prices from: £16 per night, tent pitch

8. Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire

8. Harefordwest three fields

Haverfordwest is the attractive and ancient county town of Pembrokeshire, steeped in history with a castle and museum, which used to be the prison governor’s house.

Hidden gem: The Three Fields Campsite is a spacious site with a private toilet, shower and firepit at each pitch, situated just 10 minutes from Haverfordwest.

Prices from: £26 per night, touring pitch

9. Skegness, Lincolnshire

9. Skegness Birchwood

Skegness is a seaside town in the East Lindsey District of Lincolnshire, offering lots of family-friendly attractions.

Hidden gem: In a countryside setting but only two miles from Skegness, Birchwood Fishing and Camping offers fishing on a large lake in the lovely Lincolnshire countryside.

Prices from: £8 per night, tent pitch

10. Chester, Cheshire

10. Kings Acre Chester

Arguably the richest city in Britain for archaeological and architectural treasures, Chester boasts the most complete city walls, the oldest racecourse and the largest Roman Amphitheatre in the UK.

Hidden gem: Kings Acre Glamping is deep in the Cheshire countryside, yet only 10 minutes’ drive from Chester. Barbecues are allowed, with firepits and professional pizza ovens available to hire.

Prices from: £25 per night, tent pitch

And for those looking to get away on a camping trip, experts at ATS Euromaster have compiled a list of five things to do to your car before setting off on a camping holiday:

  1. Check your tyre pressure and tread depth – make sure it is at the recommended depth. The legal limit is at least 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre.
  2. Make sure you have a spare tyre and that you know how to change it. You don’t want to get stuck in the middle of the English countryside with no phone signal and a flat tyre.
  3. Check your engine oil and vehicle coolant levels and fill up if needs be.
  4. Ensure that your battery is not going to run flat while you are on your trip. If your engine seems slow to turn over or your lights are flashing, it may be running low.
  5. Check your windscreen for cracks and ensure that wiper blades are functioning properly.
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Death of a child in Crymych being investigated by police

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POLICE officers in Pembrokeshire have confirmed they are investigating death of a child at an address in the Crymych area on Sunday evening (Aug 7).

The police told The Pembrokeshire Herald they are not treating the death as suspicious.

A spokesperson from Dyfed-Powys Police said the following: “Our thoughts are with the family who are receiving support from specialist officers.

“HM Coroner has been informed.”

The Welsh Ambulance Service along with the Wales Air Ambulance, attended to the incident.

A Wales Air Ambulance spokesperson said: “We had two helicopters in attendance and that we arrived on scene at 6.13pm and our involvement concluded at 7.17pm.”

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson told this newspaper: “We were called on Sunday, August 7, at 5.29pm to reports of an incident near Crymych.

“We sent a community first responder, two emergency ambulances and a rapid response vehicle to the scene, where we were supported by the Wales Air Ambulance.”

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