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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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Pembroke Dock: Two in hospital following Fort Road car accident



EMERGENCY SERVICES dealt with what has been described by a witness as a “horrific car accident” in the Pembroke Dock area on Wednesday night (Jun 12).

A 23-year-old woman, driving a black BMW, travelled down Fort Road at speed, hit a low wall, catapulting the vehicle some considerable distance across a picnic area. The vehicle ended up irreparably damaged on the beach – which was luckily not in use at the time – landing next to the old Cambridge Gun Tower.

No other vehicles seem to have been involved, police said.

The driver has been arrested but remains in hospital in Cardiff, one passenger is in a critical but stable condition, again in Cardiff, and a second passenger sustained only minor injuries.

A spokesperson for Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called at 10.45pm on Wednesday night (Jun 23), to reports of a road traffic accident near the Fort Road car park in Pembroke Dock.

“We attended the scene with one rapid response vehicle, two emergency ambulances and our Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service.

“Two people were taken to University Hospital Wales, Cardiff for further treatment.”

The police are appealing in the media for information following the crash.

An official statement from the police reads as follows: “We were called to Fort Road, Pembroke Dock, at around 10.45pm on Wednesday night to reports of a single-vehicle collision. Ambulance and fire service also attended.

“A 19-year-old man was taken to the Heath Hospital in Cardiff and remains in a critical but stable condition.

“A second passenger attended hospital for minor injuries but has since been discharged. A 23-year-old woman was arrested, and currently remains in hospital.

“Anyone who witnessed the collision but who has not yet spoken to us should get in touch by emailing, visiting our website, or calling 101.

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Pembrokeshire call handler helps deliver Llanelli couple’s new baby



A 999 CALL HANDLER from Pembrokeshire has helped deliver a Llanelli couple’s baby.

Father-of-two Chris Bassett, from Hook, answered the call from the Trust’s Clinical Contact Centre in Carmarthen, and whose instructions on loudspeaker enabled the pair to deliver their 8lb 1oz new arrival safely.

Thanks to Chris, Troy Smith, 34, and partner Abigail Jones, 33, delivered baby Arabella Dilys Smith in the bedroom of their Llanelli home.

Troy said: “I’ve never felt adrenaline like it but I knew I had to focus on the situation for Abigail and the baby’s sake.

“It all happened so quickly, but Chris’ voice on the other end of the phone kept us calm.”

Abigail, a teacher at Ysgol Carreg Hir in Briton Ferry, went into labour at around 10.00pm on Thursday, June 3, and made a trip to hospital, where nurses confirmed she was in the early stages.

The couple returned to their Pwll home, but their soon-to-be daughter had other ideas.

Troy said: “At around 4.30am, Abigail developed a lot of pain and said she had an urge to push.

“I thought, ‘Right, this is happening’ and phoned an ambulance because I knew I’d be delivering the baby right there and then.”

It was Chris, a former RAF Aerospace Systems Operator, who picked up the call in the early hours of Friday, June 4.

The 29-year-old, who has been with the Welsh Ambulance Service for 18 months, said: “As soon as I answered the call, it was obvious that Troy and Abigail were in distress, as anyone would be in that situation.

“The priority was to get Abigail in a comfortable position to deliver the baby safely.

“For me, it was about giving them clear instructions while trying to keep them both calm.”

Troy added: “I just did what came naturally. When you’re in that situation, you just do it.

“As soon as Arabella came, I felt this wave of relief and I just couldn’t believe how gorgeous she was.

“Chris was so professional and handled the situation really well.

“He gave us all the information and kept us calm.”

Ambulance crews arrived soon after, and took Abigail to Carmarthen’s Glangwili General Hospital, where she was treated for shock before being discharged the following day.

Abigail said: “The whole thing was petrifying because I just never expected to be having the baby at home, but we’re so grateful to Chris for helping us to deliver Arabella safely.”

Chris added: “In your role as a 999 call handler, you’re helping people in their darkest hour, but I’m just glad this call had a happy ending.

“This is the third baby I’ve helped to deliver during my time at the ambulance service, but the first one I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.”

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Covid causes partial school closure at Haverfordwest High VC



A PARTIAL school closure is in force today at Haverfordwest High VC school after a pupil in year 9 has tested positive for coronavirus.

All students in year 9 must stay at home , isolate and await further instruction while the school completes all of the necessary Track and Trace processes.

In a statement released by the school, they said: “We have been informed that a Year 9 pupil has tested positive for COVID-19.

“We wish them a speedy recovery.

“As a precautionary measure and to enable us to complete all of the necessary Track and Trace processes, the school will be closed to Year 9 Pupils today.

“The school remains open to all other year groups.

“Until further notice, Year 9 students should stay at home and isolate until further instructions are given. Lessons for all other year groups will continue as usual. Unless your child is in Year 9 they should attend school.”

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