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Shocking waiting times for ambulances and at A&E

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ONLY 56% of October’s most urgent “red calls” for ambulances in the Hywel Dda health board area failed to reach patients within the target time of eight minutes.

The startling figure, inevitably showing that patient safety at risk, emerged last week in the latest monthly performance data for the Welsh NHS.

Patients waiting for “red calls” include those with suspected strokes, cardiac arrest, or assessed with immediately life-threatening injuries or illness.

Almost two-thirds of amber call patients waited more than an hour for ambulances to attend.

Only 15% of patients on amber calls were attended to within half an hour.

Amber calls include serious but not immediately life-threatening conditions. These calls will include most medical and trauma cases, such as chest pain and fractures.

The target for ambulance performance has never been met since its introduction, and the Hywel Dda LHB area is consistently among the worst for emergency call responses.

PATIENTS CONTINUE TO WAIT

More than 2,850 patient pathways remain open in the Hywel Dda area after two years. While open pathways are not the same as the number of patients waiting, the number of patients waiting shows little sign of falling in time for the Board to meet the Welsh Government’s target of eliminating all waits for treatment exceeding two years by next Spring.

Furthermore, although the number of patients waiting more than two years for a follow-up appointment has slightly fallen in the Hywel Dda area, underlying data show an increase in the number of patients waiting between one and two years for a follow-up appointment.

A&E DEPARTMENTS STRUGGLE

Just over 3,500 patients attended Withybush A&E in the period the statistics cover.
The target performance time is for 95% of all patients attending A&E to be seen within four hours.

At Withybush, 54% received treatment in the target time.

Performance was not much better at Glangwili, where around 57.5% were dealt with on target. Over 15% of patients attending Withybush A&E were still in the department waiting for treatment after more than 12 hours. Again, Glangwili’s performance was only a little better.

THE NATIONAL PICTURE

Nationally, there were 761,111 patient pathways, with 594,000 individual patients waiting for treatment, the highest on record.

For diagnostic services, patient pathways waiting increased to around 120,400 in September, the highest on record.

Two-year waits remain at 26,439 despite the Welsh Labour Government’s commitment to eliminate these waits in March of this year.

Hitting the target to eliminate them by next Spring will take a revolution in patient care or creative manipulation of the figures. Without those, there is no hope of eliminating two-year waits.

The actual picture is far worse than those dismal figures suggest. To try and ensure it reached the target it failed to hit in March, the Welsh Government rigged the figures to exclude waiting times for major clinical specialisms like orthopaedics.

“SHAMEFUL AND UNACCEPTABLE”

Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister Russell George MS said: “Waits for treatment and diagnostic services are the worst on record. Cancer waits are the second worst on record. These shameful statistics from our Labour-run Welsh NHS are completely unacceptable. These are real people languishing on these lists, often in pain. Wales deserves better.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson responded: “The pressure on our NHS services has continued to grow as we enter the toughest time of the year. “Although waiting lists have grown overall, it is encouraging that the longest waits continue to fall. Most people waiting on an individual waiting list (patient pathway) are waiting less than 26 weeks.
“We are pleased that patients waiting longer than one year for their first outpatient appointment also decreased. This was despite more than 4,000 referrals for first outpatient appointments made per day on average in September.
“The number of people being informed they do not have cancer also increased, but it is concerning that so many are missing the target date for treatment. The Welsh Government is exerting significant pressure on health boards to improve performance.
“It is also positive that the number of people calling the NHS 111 Wales service continues to rise. In October, the highest number of callers on record had their calls answered within 60 seconds. This helps patients’ experiences and supports people in accessing the right treatment at the right time and place.
“Although the increase in the total waiting list this month is very small, it is disappointing to see them at their highest levels on record – that is due to the continued number of people joining the waiting lists, with the highest annual number of new referrals on record in the latest 12 months.
“Health boards are working hard to tackle the longest waits, but the most urgent cases must always be seen first.”

Entertainment

Broad Haven’s Music Festival set to rock village

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GET ready for an electrifying day of music and fun as the Havens Events Crew proudly presents the highly anticipated Broad Haven Music Festival. Scheduled for Saturday, July 20, from 3 PM to 11:30 PM, this event promises a vibrant mix of live bands, local talent, and a delightful BBQ, making it an unmissable occasion for music lovers and families alike.

The festival, at Broad Haven School Field, will feature an impressive lineup of performers. Attendees can look forward to the acoustic melodies of Cadence Acoustic, the energetic rhythms of Coastal Horizon, and the dynamic performances by Loose Change. These local bands are set to deliver a variety of genres, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

In addition to the musical performances, the festival will offer a range of delicious BBQ options, perfect for enjoying a summer evening outdoors. Whether you’re a long-time resident or a visitor, the Broad Haven Music Festival is an ideal opportunity to experience the local culture, connect with the community, and enjoy high-quality entertainment.

Tickets for the event are available for purchase at the Broad Haven Post Office and Lobster and Môr. Early acquisition is recommended to secure a spot at this popular event.

It promises to be a memorable day filled with music, food, and community spirit. The Broad Haven Music Festival is more than just a concert; it’s a celebration of local talent and a testament to the vibrant culture of our town. Don’t miss out on this fantastic event!

For more information, visit the Havens Events Crew’s official website or follow their social media pages for updates and announcements.


Event Details:

  • Date: Saturday, July 20
  • Time: 3 PM – 11:30 PM
  • Location: Broad Haven School Field
  • Performers: Cadence Acoustic, Coastal Horizon, Loose Change
  • Tickets Available At: Broad Haven Post Office, Lobster and Môr

Be sure to mark your calendars and get your tickets soon – we look forward to seeing you there!

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News

England’s Euro 2024 semi-final victory captivates millions

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ENGLAND’S Euro 2024 semi-final victory over the Netherlands garnered a peak audience of 20.3 million on ITV, cementing its status as the most-watched television programme of the year. Broadcasters are now hopeful that Sunday night’s final against Spain will attract over 30 million viewers, surpassing the numbers that tuned in for England’s Euro 2020 final defeat.

The overnight viewing figures, provided by ratings agency Digital-i, do not account for the millions who streamed the match on ITVX or watched in public venues. The coverage of Euro 2024 in the UK is split between the BBC and ITV, with the channels alternating first choices for matches in each round. ITV executives celebrated Jordan Pickford’s crucial penalty save against Switzerland, which secured another high-profile England match and delivered a substantial advertising boost to the channel.

Both the BBC and ITV will broadcast the final, with approximately a fifth of viewers typically opting for ITV over the BBC. Euro 2024 has demonstrated the enduring appeal of live sports broadcasting, which continues to draw massive audiences, particularly when the events are free to watch. Even matches not involving home nations have attracted significant viewership, with the Spain v France semi-final on BBC One peaking at 11 million viewers.

The Euros are part of the UK’s “crown jewel” sporting events, which include the football World Cup, Wimbledon, and the Olympics, all mandated by law to be shown on free-to-air channels. In contrast, other sports have opted for the higher revenue available from pay TV channels, resulting in substantially lower audiences for international matches. The England and Wales cricket board successfully lobbied in the 2000s to keep England test matches off the free-to-air list. Consequently, Jimmy Anderson’s farewell match against the West Indies at Lords, broadcast behind a paywall on Sky, attracted a peak audience of only about 700,000 viewers.

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Crime

Welsh Snooker star Michael White jailed for assaulting partner

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A WELSH snooker star has been jailed after assaulting his then-partner. Michael White, 33, of Penshannel, Neath Abbey, assaulted the woman, causing actual bodily harm, on two separate occasions. The first incident occurred on February 12, 2022, and the second on December 10, 2022.

White pleaded guilty to the charges. A further charge of intentional strangulation on December 10 was directed to lie on file. White, whose snooker world ranking peaked at 15 in 2016, was sentenced at Swansea Crown Court on Thursday, July 11, 2024.

He received a total jail term of 36 months – 19 months for the first incident and a consecutive 17 months for the second. The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association has announced that White has been removed from the world ranking list and the World Snooker Tour with immediate effect.

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