Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

Health Board want to maintain services in Withybush until new hospital is built

Published

on

REPRESENTATIVES from Hywel Dda Health Board have said they want to keep as many services in Withybush as possible until the new hospital is open.

They joined a meeting of the Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Thursday (Sept 8) which discussed a notice of motion from Cllr John Cole.

Cllr Cole had called for the Council to ‘stand with’ its electorate in supporting the retention of services in Withybush Hospital.

The Health Board is in the process of making a business case for a new hospital, to be built in Whitland or St Clears, but there has been opposition to the plans from members of the public.

During the meeting, concerns were raised about travel times to the new site and services being kept in Withybush until the new hospital is built.

Health Board representative Lee Davies said: “The proposals are designed to retain as many services as close to home as possible and retain as many services as we can at Withybush and at Glangwili.”

He said the proposed site of the new hospital was an area which was within an hours travelling time for much of the population.

It was recognised though that this would still be a challenge for some residents of the more rural communities such as Angle, St Davids and the north of the county.

Cllr David Bryan asked if there had been any talks with the Welsh Government about changes to the A40.

Lee Davies said they were in conversation with the Welsh Government and that some improvements were being made but that he didn’t anticipate any change ahead of the new hospital being opened.

Cllr Mike James described the bus service in the north of the county as ‘abysmal’ and said transport should be a huge priority.

Maria Battle from the Health Board responded by saying that they would welcome the help, knowledge and advice from all councillors adding that if they spoke as ‘one voice’ they would have a better chance of influencing such issues.

She went on to say: “This is a £1.3billion investment to West Wales, if we speak as one voice we have a better chance of achieving this. There is a possibility to create long term jobs. It is our turn to get this investment. It will bring more services closer to home in Pembrokeshire and it is a new hospital which we all deserve.”

There were also questions about pediatric services after Cllr Steve Alderman highlighted an incident from his ward, where a young family was told to take their child to Withybush by the 111 service, only to be told they had to go to Glangwili.

Maria Battle said that although it was one incident, it was still one too many, adding they would deal with it.

Lee Davies added that there is a review of pediatrics and they are looking for the safest place for it to be sustainable in the intervening period up until the point of the new hospital.

He said: “It is a substantial programme of work and we’re looking to complete all of that by 2029.”

It is proposed that a consultation on the new hospital will begin in January and last for three months and findings from it will be presented in the summer of 2023.

Cabinet member Cllr Tessa Hodgson said: “I welcome the invitation for councillors to be involved in that process. £1.3billion is a massive investment for west Wales. Withybush is held in great esteem by the people of Pembrokeshire but the building is tired and the investment is desperately needed.”

Committee chairman, Cllr David Bryan asked if there would be a retention of services until the new hospital is built.

Executive Medical Director Phil Kloer said: “The basic premise of the motion, we would agree with. We want to maintain as many services as possible close to people’s homes.

“The new hospital will bring a lot of services that are in Glangwili and beyond will bring services back to Pembrokeshire.

“Our intention is to maintain as many services as local as possible, we don’t intend to make any changes. Withybush and Glangwili need to be working to their maximum.

“There will be medical advances, we do need to keep pace with modern thinking.”

Maria Battle added that they wanted to work ‘closely, collaboratively and creatively’ as possible with Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion County Councils when the new hospital reaches the planning stage.

Concluding, Phil Kloer added: “Withybush has got a really big role to play. We will do what we can to maintain services in that period.”

The Committee agreed with the sentiments of the motion adding that they would ask all councillors to get involved in discussions with the Health Board.

News

Pembrokeshire airport lease expected to be completed by end of year

Published

on

HAVERFORDWEST’S council-run airport, which had a circa £119,000 deficit last year, is expected to be leased out by the end of the year following “reasonably complex” negotiations, councillors heard.

Back in May, members of Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet supported the leasing of Withybush Airport as part of plans to make the facility cost-neutral to the authority.

Last year, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet, members heard the financial position at the council-supported Haverfordwest/Withybush airport deteriorated in 2022/23, with an out-turn position for 2022/23 of £238,000.

That loss has been reduced to an expected £119,000 for 2023/24 “following an extensive review of the operations of the airport”.

At the July 18 meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council’s full council, a series of submitted questions on the airport were heard.

Merlins Bridge councillor John Cole asked: “With the council leasing out the Haverfordwest airport, can members be assured that the lease is at comparable rent with similar airport facilities, and the airport being offloaded purely as a cost savings measure?”

He also asked a second related question: “Are current users protected and assured that their tenancy and rents currently payable to the authority are taken into consideration?”

Responding, Deputy Leader Cllr Paul Miller said the proposed letting was considered to be “best letting,” with restricted private documents detailing the figures available to all members.

On the second question, he said existing tenants had been involved throughout the process, and once the new overall lease was in place tenants would be protected through legislation.

However, he stressed the new leaseholder would be able to change conditions in the future and the council would “not dictate terms” in the future.

A further question was asked by Saundersfoot South councillor Chris Williams: “On a recent services meeting back in 2023, we had a productive meeting at Withybush Airport to look at the impact regarding costs to PCC and to consider options with regards to its future operation.

“Can you please clarify if the airport is still owned and operated by Pembrokeshire County Council and if so at what cost since April 1, 2024?”

Cllr Miller said the airport was still currently owned by the council following the Cabinet decision, with “reasonably complex” negotiations ongoing, complicated by land ownership issues and the need to obtain the civil aviation licence.

“Hopefully by the end of the calendar year we will have completed that transaction,” Cllr Miller said, adding that £25,000 had been spent since April 1.

Continue Reading

Farming

FUW sets out its key priorities at the Royal Welsh Show

Published

on

THE Farmers’ Union of Wales has set out its robust asks of the UK and Welsh Governments despite the challenges presented by navigating through a constantly changing political landscape.

Speaking at the Royal Welsh Show this week, FUW President Ian Rickman reiterated the fact that the Union’s stance remains constant and relentless in an ever changing political arena.

“Welsh farming is at an important crossroads which will determine our future for decades to come. Whilst our direction of travel depends heavily on the development of devolved agricultural policies, we must not forget how decisions made by the newly elected UK Government will effectively determine the degree of funding the Welsh Government has available to support agriculture and rural development.

“This, in turn, will have an impact upon the extent to which Welsh food producers can be expected to compete against producers in other UK nations and across the globe on various levels.

“Despite these challenges, our focus as a Union is to keep-on lobbying governments relentlessly for the best possible outcomes for our members, Welsh agriculture and our rural communities.

“The recent Senedd Cabinet reshuffle and UK General Election certainly brought about considerable change to the political landscape in Wales, not least the appointment of Huw Irranca-Davies MS as Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and a new UK Labour Government holding a majority at Westminster.

“However, turmoil in Cardiff persists as Vaughan Gething’s resignation leaves the door wide open for yet another reshuffle within a matter of a few months.

At a UK level, the FUW is calling for a fair, multiannual funding settlement of £450 million per year in EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) legacy funding for agriculture and rural development in Wales.

“The role of this support in underpinning food production, environmental protection and rural communities in Wales cannot be underestimated.

“We also need to see a far more robust approach to future trade deals with other countries and trading blocs if we are to protect Welsh farmers and UK food security. Food imports and exports must be subject to the same customs and adherence to similar standards if we are to provide a level playing field for both UK and EU producers.”

The FUW is calling for incentives and support for farmers to invest in on-farm renewable energy production that benefits local communities. Food production should be recognised as a national asset and the use of productive agricultural land to meet tree planting and other environmental targets should be halted.

Procurement policies must prioritise public sector support for Welsh and British businesses, recognising the range of benefits such properly designed policies can deliver for society. The newly elected UK Labour Government must also protect and promote the UK’s high animal health and welfare standards and bring in a law that ensures that all dogs should be kept on a lead in fields near or adjacent to livestock.

“Despite the uncertainty in Cardiff, we call on the Welsh Government to build strong relations with the newly elected UK Labour Government to ensure that Welsh agriculture receives the attention it deserves. EU CAP legacy funding allocated for Welsh agriculture and rural development must be protected for this purpose and such funding should continue to be co-funded using national funds.

“The ongoing process of negotiating a revised Sustainable Farming Scheme that provides stability for our food producing family farms must also continue if the scheme is to be implemented in 2026. It is crucial that the scheme considers economic, social and environmental sustainability on equal footings and is accessible and achievable for all active farmers in Wales.

“We also want to see the adoption of practical and innovative technological solutions as a central part of the Control of Agricultural Pollution ‘NVZ’ Regulations review. The process must be based on robust data and evidence while seeking to address water quality issues through innovation rather than regulation.”

Mr Rickman added that the Welsh Government has to, now more than ever before, adopt a scientific and holistic approach to bovine TB eradication in Wales by working with the Technical Advisory Group in investigating the effectiveness of current testing regimes and methods for addressing disease transmission by wildlife.

“Finally, moves towards net zero must be sustainable and based on robust science in such a way that actions carried out in response to short-term targets are not reversed. Reducing our carbon footprint must be manageable and realistic, and must not compromise production or the economic viability of farming businesses.

“The coming days are a celebration of Welsh agriculture and the farmers who continue to produce high quality food and protect the environment against a constant backdrop of political uncertainty and challenge.”

Mr Rickman said that the impacts of such uncertainty across the UK and some fundamental policy questions would be the focus of the FUW’s seminars being held over the coming days, as panels of professionals tackle a diverse range of areas of concern for Welsh farming.

“As always, in addition to these events, our staff and Presidential Team will be meeting officials and stakeholders in order to highlight FUW’s farming members’ good news stories and industry concerns. Rest assured, despite navigating a constantly changing political landscape, our constant and relentless stance remains; to represent the interests of Welsh farmers,” concluded Mr Rickman.

Continue Reading

Health

Health Board to make decision about the future of St David’s GP Surgery

Published

on

THE FUTURE of Primary Care provision for patients registered with St David’s GP Surgery in Pembrokeshire will be discussed by Hywel Dda University Health Board at a meeting on Thursday, 25 July 2024.

An engagement exercise was undertaken to gather patient and local stakeholder views on the future of GP services following the decision of the one GP who runs the Surgery to resign his General Medical Services Contract, which takes effect from 31 October 2024.

The engagement with patients and stakeholders included a drop-in event St David’s City Hall in June. This event was well-attended and gave people an opportunity to discuss their concerns in person with the Health Board and Llais, the patient’s voice organisation for Wales.

Patients and members of the local community were also able to share their views via a questionnaire which was available at the engagement event, and also from the Surgery, the local Pharmacy, online, or by contacting the Health Board by phone or e-mail.

Jill Paterson, Director of Primary Care, Community and Long-Term Care, at Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to feed back their views to us. The Health Board is committed to listening to and engaging with our local populations and we would like to thank patients and stakeholders for their involvement in the process so far.

“We would like to reassure patients that we are working to find a sustainable solution from the limited options available so that services can be delivered as locally as possible for patients from the 1 November.

The main themes picked up during the engagement period include concerns about the impact on the community of St David’s if the Surgery were to close, continuity of care and also travel to another GP surgery, especially with regard to public transport.

“People at the drop-in event were provided with information about the frequency of public transport and other transport support available in the community,” said Ms Paterson.

“There was also much appreciation expressed for Dr Stephen Riley and his team and for the care that they have provided over the years. We very much appreciate the continuing support given by the Community to the team at St David’s Surgery throughout this challenging period.”

On Thursday, 25 July, the Board will consider the feedback received.

Ms Paterson continued: “We understand local people will want to know what the future of their GP services will look like, and we will be writing to all patients to inform them of the outcome once a decision is made by the Board.”

To read the Board papers and watch the meeting on the day, please visit: Board Agenda and Papers 25 July 2024 – Hywel Dda University Health Board (nhs.wales)

An update, following the Board’s formal decision on Thursday, July 25 will be shared with patients and stakeholders.

Continue Reading

Community10 hours ago

Rubbish mounting in Milford estate due to ‘recycling confusion’

RESIDENTS of the Mount Estate in Milford Haven are voicing their frustrations and concerns as the area has turned into...

Health1 day ago

No improvement in cancer waiting times despite Welsh Govt plan

TWO years after the Welsh Government unveiled its ambitious plan to overhaul cancer care and reduce waiting times, the latest...

News2 days ago

Former school devastated by fire revealed as £2m drug factory just weeks ago

A SIGNFICANT blaze that led to the collapse of the roof of a former primary school in west Wales occurred...

Crime2 days ago

Thai woman accused of killing son in appears in court

A THAI woman accused of killing her seven-year-old son has made a court appearance. Papaipit Linse, 43, of Upper Market...

Crime2 days ago

Police investigate early hours hit and run in Haverfordwest

POLICE in Haverfordwest are investigating a road traffic collision which occurred at about 2.00am in the morning on Wednesday (Jul...

Charity2 days ago

King’s speech highlights focus on economic growth and defence

ON WEDNESDAY (Jul 17), the King delivered his Speech, outlining the government’s priorities for the coming year. Central to the...

Crime3 days ago

Haverfordwest man denies sexual assaults on boys under nine

A 41-YEAR-OLD Haverfordwest man has appeared before magistrates charged with sexually assaulting a boy under 13 on at least 44...

News3 days ago

First Minister quits after less than four months in job

FIRST MINISTER Vaughan Gething has announced his resignation. Gething did not offer any apologies for the events of the past...

News3 days ago

LIVE – Welsh Government ministers quit and call for First Minister to go

FOUR senior ministers of the Welsh Government have dramatically tendered their resignations in a bold protest against the leadership of...

Crime4 days ago

Ex-mayor gets suspended sentence for child images offences

A FORMER mayor of Pembroke Dock has been given a suspended jail sentence for the possession and distribution of indecent...

Popular This Week