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Baby unit closes – Carmarthen ‘cannot cope’

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Twins: Mum Bianca with her newborns

Twins: Mum Bianca with her newborns

WITHYBUSH baby unit has been closed for less than a week, despite a long campaign to save the essential service that the Welsh Government deemed unnecessary for Pembrokeshire. 

Already Carmarthen’s Glangwili Hospital has proved it is unable to cope with its new responsibilities as a Pembrokeshire baby is diverted from there to Swansea’s hospital, adding significant and potentially life threatening time on to the wait for specialist care. The baby unit, which closed on August 4, has been a stalwart of essential services for our county since the late seventies. There are many stories of lives it has saved over the years, history that has now come to an end.

The Herald has learnt that already the new history being written by the diversion of this service to Glangwili has begun with a story that could have ended in tragedy. Speaking about an alarming incident this week was parent Martin McGeown: “We went to Withybush on Friday, August 1 for a scan. We were told that one of the twins, the boy, had a problem as his blood flow from the placenta was reduced. We then saw a doctor in Withybush who said we had to go to another hospital to be monitored which should have been Carmarthen, which wasn’t ready.

The closest hospital with a bed was Singleton Hospital in Swansea, but they had no cots, so the nearest hospital then was in Bridgend. I asked if Withybush would take us by ambulance but we were told no, we would have to take her by car. “Whilst it was not an emergency, because she wasn’t actually in labour, they wouldn’t take her by ambulance. We got to Bridgend two and a half hours later. On the maternity ward she had to be monitored 2-3 times a day. I begged the midwives in Bridgend to please transfer my wife Bianca to Swansea.

“They were excellent in Bridgend and they could all see how upset we were, so the midwife begged Singleton on behalf of me to take us in. She got us a bed because someone had left, and purely by chance as the hospital was full. I had to sign my wife out of hospital in order to get to Swansea which was at 12 o’clock at night. She had a C-section on Tuesday, August 5.” He went on to describe how he felt about what had happened and the implication this had for future births in Pembrokeshire: “A Pembrokeshire family is now distraught over what happened to them.

How are people supposed to get to Carmarthen? We were even told that if Bridgend was closed to us, and a bed wasn’t available, we would have to go to Birmingham hospital! It is unbelievable. My son will be in intensive care for another two weeks”. Bianca McGeown added to her husband’s concerns, stating: “The problem was that the twins could have been split up as a result of all this travelling to and from different hospitals. It was a real shock as we expected Carmarthen to be up and running.

Who wants to be driving up and down the motorway panicking, about where they are delivering a baby that will need help. What if someone didn’t have a car – how would they get there? Especially with no ambulance provision, even though I needed a C-section as it turned out”. She finished by commenting on the baby unit’s closure in Withybush: “It’s a shambles and it’s also really sad. In Pembrokeshire we are cut off: what about in the winter in bad weather and getting to Carmarthenshire safely? For people who are in labour, and not straight forward labour, I dread to think what could happen.”

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Five shouts in five days for Lifeboat crews at Angle

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ITS BEEN a really busy week for the crews at Angle with their first tasking to the 39 meter 300 tonne tall ship on Monday evening with engine failure and taking on water.

Crews then paged again in the early hours of Wednesday morning to a 11 meter sailing catamaran becalmed and low on fuel.

The training day Thursday was interrupted just after 12:30 PM with a tasking to a tender with three people on board that had upturned just off St Brides Haven.

Little & Broad Haven Lifeboat was also tasked along with Dale Coastguard.

Little and Broad Haven Lifeboat reached the three casualties and took them to shore where they were passed into the care of Dale Coastguard. Angle Lifeboat was stood down as it was passing through Jack’s Sound.

As the Lifeboat was returning from the shout another tasking request came through. A tanker had spotted an unmanned RIB approximately 10 miles SW of St Ann’s Head. Once on scene, after some investigation the RIB was believed to have come from a mooring and no people were missing. The Lifeboat towed the RIB back to Angle.

The Lifeboat was rehoused shortly after 4:00 PM

The 5th shout for Angle Lifeboat this week.

This was a large multi agency search.

The crew were paged at 09:35 AM to assist Tenby Lifeboats RNLI ALB and inshore Lifeboats to search for a missing person in the water following a report from a fisherman on rocks near Manorbier that he had lost sight of a person that had been rowing a dinghy toward shore and the occupant may be in the water. HM Coastguard Tenby had also been tasked to the search

The dinghy was handed over to Tenby inshore lifeboat crew after being picked up by a Range Safety boat who then brought it into the awaiting police at Manorbier Beach.

Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 187 from St Athan and St Govans Coastguard Rescue Team had now also joined in the search for the missing person.

After several hours searching a man approached police at Manorbier, stating he’d been on the vessel off Manorbier, had got into difficulty and ended up in the water.

With the casualty now safely ashore, all units were stood down at 12:27PM.

Angle Lifeboat then headed to Tenby Harbour to pick up some sustenance, a fizzy drink and a chocolate brownie, before heading back to Angle and rehousing at 2:31PM. The lifeboat was refuelled and given a well earned wash ready for the next tasking.

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A40 closed at Scleddau due to collision between car and motorbike

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EMERGENCY SERVICES have shut the A40 at in Scleddau due to a serious road collision.

The accident happened just before 2pm. The Herald understands that the collision involved a motorcycle and car at a junction near The Gate Inn public house.

Police said: “Emergency services are currently on scene and dealing with the incident. Please find an alternative route if possible. Update to follow.”

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Moley’s Ambassador March to support those who have lost a child

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ON SATURDAY (Jun 19), Andrew Cole (aka Moley) will set off on a 24 hour walk around Pembrokeshire with the aim of doing as many miles in as little time as possible. 

Moley is proud to have recently been made ambassador of the charity ‘2 Wish UponAa Star’ an organisation dedicated to supporting families that have lost a child under 25 years of age.

He will be setting off at 6am in the morning from Neyland and walking all day and night, finishing at 6am the following morning.

2 wish upon a star was set up by Rhian Mannings, who set up the charity after losing her own son.

By celebrating the lives of those lost, and offering support to families through their grief; Rhian and her team offer an essential service to the community and those families who have suffered the devastation of losing a loved one.

Appealing for support from the people of Pembrokeshire he said: “Please give generously to support the wonderful work of Rhian and her team. Also, if you happen to see me in the day, feel free to give me a beep of encouragement’

“If you would like to donate to Moley, and support the charity, you can visit his JustGiving page.”

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/moleycole

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