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What safety net?



ambulanceTHE REVELATION of the extent of the Welsh Ambulance Service crisis could not come at a worse time for the local health board. 

Having scrapped SCBU and a consultant-led obstetric service and replaced it with a 24/7 dedicated ambulance, the Herald revealed two weeks ago that an advert for staff to crew the vehicle did not expire until after the service at Withybush had been removed. The Herald understands that despite Freemasons providing a specialist transport pod for babies to Withybush Hospital, that equipment has been commandeered for use at Glangwili.

As a result, Pembrokeshire neonates and infants travelling to Glangwili in an emergency will be reliant upon a heated mattress. A standard specification ambulance does not carry the equipment a sick neonate requires. To transport a sick neonate or baby needs specialised transport from the ground up. The ambulance must have the floor attachments to secure 200kg of neonatal transport incubator. All of the equipment must be the size for a neonate. While paramedics will do their best they are not a specialist neonatal transport nurse, of which two are required. Safe in the knowledge that the summer recess was coming, Health Minister Mark Drakeford claimed a robust safety net would be in place to ensure patient safety.

Mr Drakeford has avoided scrutiny for now, but is sure to face questions on how the Board persuaded the government that an understaffed and under-resourced service was either safe or robust. He will hardly need reminding that any mishap or tragedy will be laid firmly at his door. It also appears that despite repeated assurances that mothers will not have to travel outside the health board area to deliver their babies, and in spite of planning the closure of SCBU at Withybush for years, facilities are still not ready at Glangwili.

The Pembrokeshire Herald has been contacted by Martin McGeown, whose wife Bianca is expecting twins, a boy and a girl: “We have had a few complications with the little boy so we were back and forth to Cardiff. We are now in Singleton, Swansea. No cots were available at Carmarthen and we were sent to Bridgend hospital on Friday. “I then drove at 12 at night with Bianca down to Swansea as a bed become available. We were told if no cots were available in Wales we would have had to go to Birmingham that day.

“I’m so sad about our hospital and my heart is with all the midwives who have been treated so badly. I hope we can do something about this, as you don’t realise until it happens to one of you “Me and my family have been pulled from pillar to post not knowing were our children would be born. Swansea Singleton are amazing but deep down it should have been at Withybush. “This is not going to get better and has to be sorted.” Commenting on the closure this week of the Special Care Baby Unit at Withybush Hospital, MP Stephen Crabb said: “I was deeply disappointed to see SCBU close this week. Pembrokeshire residents have fought long and hard to retain this vital service but the Welsh Labour Health Minister has pushed on regardless.”

“I have discussed these changes with both the Health Board and the Welsh Health Minister. At no point have I been reassured about the apparent safety-nets planned to deal with emergencies in future. We do not know if these are even operational. With SCBU now closed, this is a damning indictment of Welsh Labour’s health policy.” “People are right to be concerned. Even if the A40 is free from problems, Welsh ambulance response time targets have been missed year after year. Already this week we have seen reports of police cars across Wales transporting patients to hospital because ambulances are not available.” “I have written again to the Welsh Health Minister voicing my concerns. Pembrokeshire residents deserve, at the very least, to be given assurances that adequate plans are in place for dealing with emergency cases.”

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Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan



MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link:

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.


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Natural Resources Wales approves Ireland-UK interconnector licence



GREENLINK INTERCONNECTOR LIMITED says it welcomes the decision by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to approve its application for a Marine Licence for the Greenlink electricity interconnector project, which will link the power markets of Great Britain and Ireland.

An important project for Pembrokeshire, and the UK as a whole, NRW’s go-ahead is one of several consents required for the construction of the project and covers installation of the marine cable in UK waters.

The approval is a major milestone for Greenlink and joins the onshore planning consents granted unanimously in July last year by Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Greenlink’s proposed 190km subsea and underground electricity cable will run beneath the Irish Sea to connect National Grid’s Pembroke Power Station in Wales and EirGrid’s Great Island substation in County Wexford, Ireland. It will have a nominal capacity of 500 MW.

The Wales-Ireland link is just one of four interconnectors being installed

Nigel Beresford, CEO for Greenlink Interconnector Limited, said: “We are delighted by Natural Resources Wales’s decision to grant this licence. This marks a significant milestone for Greenlink and another important step towards project construction, which we expect to commence later this year.

“The Greenlink team has worked constructively with Natural Resources Wales and Welsh marine stakeholders to find workable solutions to the many technical and environmental challenges facing a large infrastructure project like this, and this has been reflected in the quality of the final proposal.

“The thorough environmental and technical assessments we have undertaken, supported by the practical and value-adding feedback we have received from key marine stakeholders, have ensured that we move forward confident that we are delivering a well-designed project with the interests of the Welsh marine habitat at its core.”

The subsea section of the cable will be approximately 160km in length and uses high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology. The preferred route and installation methods were chosen following the conclusion of subsea surveys and consultation with key stakeholders.

In Ireland, a Foreshore Licence application was submitted to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Foreshore Unit) in 2019 and the onshore planning application was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in December 2020.

Greenlink is one of Europe’s most important energy infrastructure projects and brings benefits on both sides of the Irish Sea for energy security, regional investment, jobs and the cost-effective integration of low carbon energy. The project will offer important local supply chain opportunities and plans are being drawn up for ‘meet-the-buyer’ events in the local area prior to construction.

Once fully consented, Greenlink is expected to have a three-year construction programme, with commissioning planned by the end of 2023.

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Appeal from Fire and Rescue Service to install working smoke alarms



AT 01:17am this morning, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, crews from Milford Haven were called to a property fire in the Hakin area of Milford Haven.

The fire was confined to a pan on a stove in the kitchen area and extinguished by firefighters using two breathing apparatus, a hose reel jet and a thermal imaging camera.

Crews also ventilated the property and fitted smoke alarms within the property.

The Fire Service left the incident at 02:00am.

Watch Manager Alun Griffiths, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said “This fire was the result of cooking left unattended. It is so important to remove all pots and pans from a heat source when you are called away from the cooker.

“Thankfully, the occupiers of the property managed to exit the property before our firefighters arrived, but it could have ended very differently as there were no smoke alarms fitted in the property.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of installing working smoke alarms in your homes and testing them regularly. In the dreadful event of a fire, they can alert you to the danger sooner and could mean the difference between life and death.

“As a Fire and Rescue Service, we provide Home Fire Safety advice which is free of charge. We also offer Safe and Well Visits which you can arrange by phoning us on 0800 169 1234 or by visiting the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website.”

For further Home Fire Safety advice or to talk about the possibility of a Safe and Well Visit by Fire and Rescue Service personnel, please phone us on 0800 169 1234.​​​ Alternatively please complete an online Request a Safe and Well Visit​ form on the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website:

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