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Cancer care chaos

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• Specialist beds lost in further cuts to Withybush General Hospital

LOCAL healthcare services have been cut again. The Herald can reveal that specialist inpatient cancer care has ended at Withybush, with cancer patients now being treated in general medicine. 

Withybush HospitalOncology and palliative care beds have been re-designated which means that patients needing urgent cancer care cannot be admitted direct to Ward 10. Instead, patients face assessment in A&E before admission before being shared around noncancer specialists to supervise their care. It appears as though despite hundreds of thousands of pounds being raised for Ward 10, the Board is rapidly retreating from its commitment to maintain cancer care services in Pembrokeshire.

As from Friday September 19, there is no longer an on-site consultant oncologist at Withybush for the foreseeable future. Instead of specialist care, cancer patients will be allocated to other physicians and trainees within cancer care will be palmed off onto other consultant physicians. The Pembrokeshire Herald has been informed that a potential consultant oncologist, who has settled in the area, has instead gone to Bronglais where he can achieve certainty and security in his career. The Health Board has been obliged to apply a “sticking plaster” solution by asking Dr Anne Barnes MBE to come out of retirement and work part-time to provide oncology support.

Dr Barnes, awarded an MBE for her services to cancer care in Pembrokeshire, announced her retirement at the beginning of 2014. The Board failed to advertise for a replacement until shortly before she left the Board’s employment in June this year. The Pembrokeshire Herald understands that while doctors are prepared to take up the training of those student doctors previously assigned to cancer care, no cancer training will take place in Haverfordwest. The Board was informing the Deanery of its position this week.

It is understood the one senior doctor has expressed major concerns, in particular criticising the Board for allocating a locum oncologist to Bronglais for a year and not having an oncologist based at Withybush. The Herald believes that the acute intake at Bronglais for cancer care is under half of that at Withybush. The staffi ng issue is understood to be a substantial worry for those concerned in and about cancer care in Pembrokeshire. It is diffi cult to see how advertising a solitary post for one of the sites will attract applicants if there is no proper planned service. There are clinical concerns about inferior care being provided to Pembrokeshire cancer patients if there are no oncologists to look after them.

The Herald spoke to local campaigner Lyn Neville, who said: “It’s crazy. The Board told me that the change might be because of refurbishment, but this is just mad. It is completely wrong that bearing in mind the number of people who need treatment that the Board has withdrawn this specialist service. I am gobsmacked that Bernadine Rees told us all about a refurbished Ward and new Oncology Lounge and failed to tell us this was coming. Is she as bad as the last bloke?” Anne Barnes commented: “The situation currently is that as from last Monday (Sept 22), there are no longer any dedicated inpatient cancer care services at Withybush. There are no longer any palliative, haematology or oncology beds.

They have been re-designated. They Health Board have their reasons, and have expressed a rational but we feel that things could have been handled differently. I am looking forward to meeting with Acute Services Clinical Director, Dr Sian Lewis, on Monday in the effort to resolve the situation satisfactorily and reinstate services at Withybush for the benefi t of patients in Pembrokeshire.” Ms. Barnes added: “I would encourage patients and their families to make their views known to both the Board and their local and national representatives.”

 

Challenge to Board: Where is Pembrokeshire’s money?

CHRIS EVANS THOMAS of Adam’s Bucketful of Hope and Anne Tadman of Cancer C.O.P.S. were appalled at the Board’s conduct. They said as follows: “On September 8 we were at a meeting chaired by Paul Hawkins, the Board’s Chief Operating Offi cer. At that meeting we were told the Board was committed to providing specialist care. We were told of a green light for a new Ward 10 and Cancer Day Unit. “Now this! Does the right hand not know what the left hand is doing, or is the Board treating us like mushrooms? “Well, enough is enough. If the Board cannot or will not provide the care it has failed to deliver for so long, if the Board cannot keep its promises, we will have the money we have raised back so we can do it. “The Board took £3.9m of money raised in Pembrokeshire and dumped it into a central pot. That money was raised in Pembrokeshire to be spent in Pembrokeshire. All the clever, clever bookkeeping in the world cannot hide that. “So we say: ‘Show us the money!’ “We want to see the books to fi nd out where Pembrokeshire’s money went. We challenge the Board to show us. If they won’t, it will show that the Board has something to hide. If they have been honest and straightforward, they have nothing to fear.”

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Tragedy above Milford Haven takeaway

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DYFED POWYS POLICE has confirmed that a 20-year-old male passed away in Milford Haven last Saturday, April 17.

Police were called to the USA Fried Chicken store on Charles Street at around 1:30pm but have said there are no suspicious circumstances.

A Herald reporter was at the scene and witnessed a number of police cars and an ambulance while plain-clothed officers were also seen.

HM Coroner has been informed.

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson added: “We were called to Charles Street in Milford Haven on Saturday 17 April at approximately 1.34pm to reports of a medical emergency. We attended the scene with one emergency ambulance where we assisted colleagues from the police.”

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Tavernspite School the ‘healthiest of schools despite the pandemic’

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THE STAFF, governors, parents, and of course, the children of Tavernspite Community Primary School are delighted to gain the Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes National Quality Award for an incredible 5th time after a recent and very rigorous assessment.

The school is already well known and highly regarded for its outstanding work in developing the health and wellbeing of all members of its school community. To achieve this prestigious recognition in the midst of a pandemic is all the more impressive. 

Health and Wellbeing at the school is led by teacher, Lauren Arthur, who has done an incredible job preparing for this re-assessment and raising the profile of the Healthy Schools scheme.

The assessor Mrs Lynne Perry, enjoyed a virtual tour and presentation by Year 3 pupils who took great pleasure in proudly showing Mrs Perry all the wonderful work the school has done to ensure its children are safe, happy with high levels of emotional and physical wellbeing.

In her report, Mrs Perry wrote, ‘Tavernspite School continues to be an outstanding health promoting school. The health promoting school ethos is evident across the whole school population and it runs seamlessly throughout everything that the school does. Tavernspite School continues to give high priority to promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of the whole school community.’

The school received fantastic support from Mrs Liz Western, Senior Public Health Officer and Lead for Healthy Schools and Pre-schools, Pembrokeshire, to whom they are very grateful.

Head teacher Kevin Phelps said, ‘We were delighted to receive this award for the fifth time, particularly considering the experiences we have all been through these past twelve months. Health and wellbeing has never been so important and we are proud to be leading the way like this.’

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Joinery learner through to Screwfix Trade Apprentice of the Year Finals

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PEMBROKESHIRE COLLEGE joinery learner, Conor Ratcliff has made it through to the final ten in this year’s Screwfix Trade Apprentice of the Year competition.

Now in its seventh year, the competition celebrates the next generation of tradespeople as they start out on their career. With over 2,500 nominations, Conor was shortlisted to the top 30 where he had to deliver a video presentation to industry-leading judges and trade body representatives. Judged on professionalism, creativity, innovation, enthusiasm and knowledge of their trade, Conor impressed the judges and is now in the final 10.  

Simon Jackson, Screwfix Customer and Digital director, commented: “Every year we are amazed by the outstanding quality of entrants and, this year, we are on the lookout for apprentices who go above and beyond to succeed within their chosen trade.

“We’ve seen how this career-boosting accolade and £10,000 prize bundle helps kickstart an apprentice’s career. I’d like to wish everyone through to this stage the best of luck!”

The prize package includes everything a future tradesperson may need to start up their own business including £5,000 of tools, a £3,000 training budget and £2,000 worth of technology. The college where they study will also receive £2,000.

Conor is thrilled to have made it through to the finals and commented: “I am extremely honoured to have made it this far in the competition and I am very excited for the final event. It would be an amazing opportunity for me, if I won this competition.

“I hope it encourages more people to consider an apprenticeship in a trade, the Carpentry and Joinery department have been incredibly supportive during my studies.”

The Final is due to take place imminently where the judges will conduct an online interview with the ten finalists before selecting and announcing their overall winner.

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