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Welsh NHS experiences second worst wait times on record



CONCERNS have risen as new statistics from the Welsh NHS report a disconcerting deterioration in cancer service waits. In June, performance declined, with only 53.4% of patients meeting the 62-day wait target, a minor yet significant decrease from 54.1% the preceding month. This marks the second lowest figure in recorded history.

Russell George MS, the Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister, vocalised his concerns, saying, “Despite most parts of the UK having made great strides in curbing 2-year wait periods, the progress in Wales remains disturbingly slow. The figures are even more alarming considering the overall decline in performance across the board in our Labour-governed Welsh NHS.”

“The drop in visitors to emergency departments was anticipated to improve our statistics, but it’s disheartening to witness the 4-hour and 12-hour target waits for A&E departments growing worse,” he added, pointing to further issues within the healthcare system.

The Shadow Minister also expressed disappointment at Labour’s fiscal choices, stating, “With a looming reduction in the health budget, slated for the second time in a single year under the Labour administration, we fear the healthcare scenario will only deteriorate.”

George further advocated for urgent action, stating, “For years, the Welsh Conservatives have championed a swifter implementation of surgical hubs and diagnostic centres to address the backlog, taking a leaf out of Rishi Sunak’s strategy to strengthen the workforce. It’s high time we put the health budget on top of our priority list, rather than frittering away public money on 20mph zones and increasing the political entourage in Cardiff Bay.”

In the backdrop of these statements, the total number of patients waiting for treatment in the Welsh NHS has witnessed a surge. June’s figures stood at 754,275, marking an increase from May’s 748,395.

Responding to the latest NHS performance statistics in Wales, director of the Welsh NHS Confederation Darren Hughes said:

“Despite serious operational and financial challenges, NHS leaders and staff across the NHS continue to pull out all the stops to care for patients.

“While in June and July there was a slight decrease in the number of people attending emergency departments compared to the previous month, there was an increase in the number of people calling 111 helpline service, the second highest answered since May 2022, and more people starting their treatment for cancer services.

“However, NHS leaders will be disappointed that there is a slight increase to the number of patients on waiting lists, the second highest on record. We therefore welcome the recently published three-year strategy and action plan to transform planned care, with the emphasis on providing support and information to people who have been referred for treatment.

“It is vital that we continue to engage with the public to empower them to better self-manage their condition and support positive outcomes for both their treatment and also their recovery.

“With demand across the health and care system increasing and NHS leaders having to make difficult decisions about spending priorities, now is the time for an open and honest conversation with the public about what the future health and care service looks like. This must concentrate on creating an NHS which empowers and enables populations to live healthier lives, and which consequently benefits from improved public health. It must centre on increased care in the community and prevention.

“It is for the population and all sectors across Wales to ask what they can do to support the health and wellbeing of people now and in the future. With the demand on health and care services increasing, change must happen, it’s simply not an option to stay as we are.”


Macmillan Cancer Support has warned that Wales’ cancer care system is failing patients, as performance against targets falls to the second lowest on record.

The charity says that data published today for June shows that only 53.4% of people with cancer started their treatment on time – leaving over 870 people to face delays in their treatment during just one month alone.

Macmillan is also warning that people with certain forms of cancer are not receiving equal access to timely treatment, and that cancer treatment waiting times performance for those cancers remains worryingly low.

The latest data shows that as few as 1 in 4 people with gynaecological cancer received their treatment on time during June – with nearly three quarters of people affected being left to face anxious delays in their care.

Glenn Page, Macmillan Policy Manager for Wales said: “Today’s figures reveal a system that is failing people diagnosed with cancer, and the Welsh Government must take urgent action to ensure people can get the treatment and support they need without delay.  

“Timely treatment is needed to ensure people have the best possible outcomes. Right now, only 53% of people with cancer – only 1 in 2 – are being offered that chance in Wales.

“Month after month, people being left in limbo as they wait for vital cancer tests and treatment will be asking “what are we waiting for?”  We are calling on the Welsh Government to take urgent action now to reduce waiting times.

“Macmillan continues to do everything we can to help, and we are here for anyone with cancer and their loved ones. For advice, information or a chat, people can call us free on 0808 808 0000 or visit

Macmillan recently launched its ‘What are we waiting for?’ campaign to speak up for people affected by treatment delays, by calling on all governments in the UK to take urgent action to reduce cancer treatment waiting times.


Cornerstone 4G phone mast unconditionally backed



A NEAR 70-foot-high 4G telecommunications tower scheme in north Pembrokeshire has been unconditionally backed by county planners.

Applicant Cornerstone sought what – in planning terms – is called prior approval for the installation of a 21-metre lattice tower supporting three antennas and associated works on land at Castle Farm Villa, Llanreithan, Hayscastle.

A report for planners says the radio base station “would allow a shared rural network in this rural area of Hayscastle for two of the main operators, to provide 4G connection, which would provide a reliable and fast communications services; to facilitate significantly improved connectivity for residents, businesses and visitors to locality.”

The application was supported by local community council Brawdy.

Cornerstone, in a supporting statement, says: “To keep up with growing demand from mobile phone users we need to upgrade existing base stations or build new base stations. An upgrade can be done in a number of ways, often by redeveloping the site to enable an increase in the number of technologies, or increasing the number or height of the antennas. However, even after these upgrades, in some busy areas the demand for services can still exceed the capability of the local base stations.”

It adds: “We recognise that the growth in mobile communication has led, in some cases, to public concern about perceived health effects of mobile technology, in particular about siting masts close to local communities.

“Quite naturally, the public seeks reassurance that masts are not in any way harmful or dangerous.   We are committed to providing the latest independent peer-reviewed research findings, information, advice and guidance from national and international agencies on radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields.

“Cornerstone ensure that our radio base stations are designed and built so that the public are not exposed to radio frequency fields above the guidelines set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).  In fact, radio base stations operate at low power and emit levels of radiofrequency fields many times lower than the ICNIRP general public guidelines.”

An officer report says a site visit was carried out to assess the impact of the proposed development, considering that the siting and design of the mast and associated structures would be acceptable.

“As such, the prior approval of the local planning authority is not required,” the report concluded.

Recent plans by Cornerstone for a 20-metre-high, timber-clad telecoms tower on land opposite the National Trust car park at Trehilyn West, Trefasser, near Goodwick, were turned down by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park planners.

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Pembrokeshire stands against Israeli apartheid and Genocide



PALESTINE solidarity groups in Pembrokeshire and West Wales are mobilising for a powerful protest in Haverfordwest, Castle Square, this Saturday 20th April at 2pm. They aim to vehemently condemn the relentless Israeli onslaught on Gaza and send a clear message to the UK government and local MPs Simon Hart and Stephen Crabb: End the complicity now! We demand an immediate ceasefire and an end to arms sales that fuel this brutal oppression.

The Nakba, or ‘catastrophe’ in Arabic, refers to the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Israeli forces, following the forcible displacement of 750,000 Palestinians (almost half the population) in 1947-49 in order to establish the state of Israel. Israel’s current assault on Gaza is an escalation of the ongoing Nakba and threatens to be the largest mass expulsion of Palestinians since 1948. The international community has an immediate responsibility to intervene to stop Israel’s ethnic cleansing today. Any delay in implementing practical measures constitutes complicity and/or participation in the ongoing Nakba.

This rally is a collective outcry against the crimes perpetrated by Israel and a rallying cry for the boycott of Israeli products.

“It’s sickeningly hypocritical that Israel strikes nations and communities first, claims victimhood when faced with resistance, and then receives unwavering support from the U.S., the UK, and Germany!” lamented one protester.

“For too long, the international community has turned a blind eye to Israel’s flagrant violations of human rights, granting it impunity while innocent lives are lost.”

“Six months of relentless violence. Six months of Israel slaughtering innocent Palestinians. Six months of Israel killing over 14,000 children! That’s an average of around 76 children a day and what has our government done? Profited from arms sales, turning a blind eye to the bloodshed,” remarked another protester.

This protest is a clarion call to all who stand for justice: It’s time to disrupt the status quo and challenge our complicit government. “We will never give up,” declared a participant. “To dismantle apartheid, we must disrupt the everyday and refuse to be complicit in Israel’s crimes against humanity!”

Join us at Castle Square at 2pm this Saturday to lend your voice to the 2 million people who suffer from a forced famine and brutal occupation in Gaza. Together, we will demand justice, accountability, and an immediate end to the bloodshed, the genocide and ethnic cleansing.

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Dragon LNG ‘monitoring’ scrap car blaze in Waterston



A BLAZE has broken out at the Waterston Car Dismantler’s business in Waterston, Milford Haven.

Dragon LNG which is situated near the site said that the fire was not related to their operation and confirmed that the that emergency services were at the scene.

Residents living nearby have been advised to keep windows and doors closed whilst the incident is being dealt with.

“We are aware of a fire in Waterston with the emergency services present,” said a spokesperson for Dragon LNG.

“The incident is not related to Dragon LNG and Dragon Energy. We are monitoring the situation and are co-ordinating with the emergency services.”

A spokesperson for Mid & West Wales Fire & Rescue Service told The Herald: “At 11.09am on Monday, April 15th, the Milford Haven, Pembroke Dock, Narberth, Fishguard, Carmarthen, Tenby and Haverfordwest crews were called to an incident at a commercial premises in the Waterston Industrial Estate, Milford Haven.

“Crews responded to approximately 150 vehicles on fire, at the height of the incident, 12 fire appliances were in attendance.  Crews utilised six breathing apparatus sets, nine hose reel jets, two ground monitors and approximately 1,000 litres of foam to extinguish the fire.

“Properties in close proximity to the fire were evacuated and nearby roads were closed.  The incident required a multi-agency response, with Dyfed-Powys Police, the Ambulance Service and the Local Authority also in attendance.

“Crews began to leave the scene at 2.11pm.

“Please be advised that as a precaution:

“If you are in an area still affected by smoke, you are advised to stay indoors, close windows and doors, and turn off any air conditioning or ventilation units.

“Motorists who must travel through areas still affected by smoke should keep windows closed, turn off air conditioning and keep air vents closed.”

(Images: M Cavaney/Herald)

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