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Health chair speaks out



• The Board must communicate with the people
• ‘There WILL be a Chemotherapy Day Unit at Withybush’
• ‘Ward 10 is not closing’

Health Board Chair Bernadine Rees: Says Ward 10 is not closing

Health Board Chair Bernadine Rees: Says Ward 10 is not closing

IN A WIDE-RANGING interview with The Pembrokeshire Herald Assistant Editor Jon Coles, Health Board Chair Bernadine Rees spoke candidly about the challenges facing the Board in Pembrokeshire and beyond. Ms Rees began by addressing last week’s front page story, which she was concerned had implied Ward 10, the cancer care ward, had closed. Ms Rees was adamant that Ward 10 remained open to offer the same range of cancer care as previously: “I am from Pembrokeshire. I use services across all three counties served by the Health Board.

Make no mistake, we are committed to delivering a model of service that works for all people across the Health Board area. My first clinical experience was at Withybush Hospital in intensive care. But over the years that have passed since that experience, how we deliver care has changed.” Asked about the patient experience of health care, Ms Rees was direct: “Patients will not experience any change in the care they receive.

The core services at Withybush will remain the same. But we have to acknowledge that patients, people generally, are a lot more mobile than they were in the past. As I said above, since my first clinical experience at Withybush, methods of delivering care have changed and so have the ways in which people access it. The Board cannot stand still. The Health Board has to recognize that the way in which care is delivered has moved on.

We must ensure we deliver the best care possible across the whole of the Health Board.” Bernadine Rees revealed that the new service model developed for paediatric care at Withybush provided for on-site care at Withybush to run from 10am in the morning to 10pm at night, supported by 24 hour Accident and Emergency care. We put the problem the Board had with perceptions that it had failed to communicate its plans fully in the past. While declining to comment on past practice, Bernadine Rees said: “We must ensure that good news gets out.

I am concerned that we need to be given the chance to respond to stories in the press and that we work with the press in a much more proactive way. People must have confidence that the decisions we are making are based on evidence and we will work hard to make that evidence available so people can see the reasons behind our decisions. We will be sending more information out so that people know what changes we are making and why we are making them.”

She went on to explain: “I was personally disappointed to find that perhaps the Board has not been as effective communicating with those involved in cancer charities as I would have hoped. We remain committed to working with them to deliver the best possible service for cancer patients and their families in Pembrokeshire.” She confirmed: “Let me be clear: Ward 10 is not closing. We will build a chemotherapy day unit at Withybush.”

After the interview, The Herald received a press statement from the Board in which Dr Sian Lewis, Acute Services, Clinical Director said: “It is important that patients, their families and the general public understand that we continue to provide cancer services at Withybush Hospital. We have had to change the way we provide in-patient care because of problems in recruitment of a suitably trained oncologist.

This means that patients will be admitted under the care of general physicians with the support of specialist oncologist rather than directly under an oncologist. This is the usual model of care in district general hospitals throughout the UK. This change has happened because our recently appointed a locum consultant oncologist left on the 19th of September.

We have re-advertised and continue to work with recruitment agencies however there are currently more than 30 consultant oncologist vacancies across the UK and recruitment is a significant challenge. The new model of care will enable us to maintain in-patient services locally and for certain complications of cancer therapy, should improve the way we deliver care. Importantly, out-patient and chemotherapy services remain unchanged.”

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Calls for help over VHF radio may have been a hoax, say RNLI



THE ANGLE All-Weather Lifeboat was requested to launch on service at 10:23am this morning, Monday (July 22).

Following a call to the Coastguard from Milford Haven VTS, the crew were tasked after the VTS operators overheard a female voice calling for help on VHF channel 12.

After narrowing down the transmission to having been received on the Pembroke aerial site, the crew were requested to conduct a search.

Launching at 10:30am, the lifeboat made best speed to the moorings at Hazelbeach, and a hasty search was requested by the Coastguard of any moored vessels. The crew began making their way amongst the moorings, heading up to the moorings off Neyland. With nothing untoward sighted, the crew proceeded to search the moorings off Hobbs Point, Barnlake Point, Burton, Llanion and Rudders Boat Yard.

With nothing found, the Coastguard requested that the crew continue their search up river to Picton Point. The lifeboat continued searching up the western shore encompassing Llangwm before altering course just past Landshipping and searching the eastern shore back down the river, calling in to Lawrenny on the way to check any vessels moored there.

The RNLI said that the search continued back down as far as the Cleddau Bridge.

On Facebook the organisation posted :”Following a thorough visual, communications and radar search the crew were subsequently stood down when no further information or calls had been received.

“The tasking was therefore deemed to be a hoax call.

“The lifeboat was back alongside and readied for further service by 1pm.”

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Police investigating after man injured during altercation in cemetery



POLICE have confirmed that they are investigating a report of an altercation which occurred in the cemetery off Gelliswick Road, Hakin, Milford Haven sometime between 4.30 and 5.00pm, Wednesday 17th July, 2024.

Following the incident, a 32-year-old man went to hospital for treatment and was later released.

A 19-year-old male has been arrested on suspicion of assault and released on bail pending further police enquiries police have confirmed.

The incident caught the attention of locals, who said there was a large police response to the incident included armed officers.

Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at:, by emailing [email protected], or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Quote reference: 394 of the 17th

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting

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West Wales man jailed for rape after victim’s cries heard



A WEST WALES man has been sentenced to six and a half years in prison for raping a woman in an attack that ended only when her cries for help were heard by others. Charlie Evans, a 22-year-old former Exeter University student, ignored his victim’s repeated pleas for him to stop during the 45-minute ordeal.

The incident took place after Evans and his victim had attended a party, where both had been drinking. The court heard that after kissing, the pair left together, with the woman under the impression that Evans lived in a flat with her friend.

Upon returning to the flat, the woman used the toilet before Evans raped her, despite her repeatedly saying no. The prosecutor described the victim as crying hysterically and added: “She did not want these things to happen.”

During the attack, one student testified they could hear the victim not consenting and begging Evans to stop. Another person said they were so concerned they inquired about what was happening.

Police were alerted after the incident was reported to campus staff, who then contacted the emergency services. Evans was told to leave his flat and was subsequently removed from the university. He denied the offence during his police interview.

Evans, of Victoria Avenue, Mumbles, Swansea, was convicted earlier this year at Exeter Crown Court of rape and sexual assault. He was sentenced on July 12. In a victim statement, the woman said her life had been forever changed by Evans’s actions. She expressed feelings of fear, confusion, and shame during the incident and continues to suffer from nightmares. She now feels distrustful of men and has sought support to cope with her trauma, the court heard.

Christopher Quinlan KC, defending, presented multiple good character references for Evans, describing him as a “kind and respectful” young man who was “always positive, compassionate and thoughtful.” He argued that his client’s life was “in ruins” as a result of his actions.

However, Judge Stephen Climie told Evans he had “completely misrepresented” his victim’s position, adding: “She was so far away from wishing to engage in your sexual activity that the only explanation for your attitude and approach was alcohol that blinded you to what was clearly and obviously the word ‘No’.” He continued: “So far as your life is concerned you will be crushed as a result of the sentence I’m required to impose.”

Following the sentencing, DC Michele Hicks from Devon and Cornwall Police’s major crime investigation team praised the victim for her courage and resilience throughout the investigation. She said: “I hope this case reassures the community how seriously the police take reports of sexual violence against women and girls and gives people the courage to come forward in future.”

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