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Do more to recruit doctors, says Plaid

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doctorsPLAID CYMRU has accused the Welsh Government of exacerbating the country’s doctor shortage after figures showed they slashed their recruitment budget.

A Freedom of Information application by Plaid Cymru has found that the Welsh Government spent just over £1,000 on recruiting doctors in the same calendar year they were planning the centralisation of key hospital services due to a shortage of doctors.

The FOI showed the Welsh Government spent just £1,115 during the 2013/14 financial year on doctor recruitment – which was a staggering 40 times less than the previous calendar year’s amount of £45,326.

The FOI also revealed that the Welsh Government only undertook one initiative to recruit doctors in a period covering more than three years up to September of this year.

Previous FOI results to local health boards have showed that few efforts to recruit from abroad have been made.

Elin Jones AM, Plaid Cymru Shadow Health Minister, said the Welsh Government was blaming a doctor shortage for the NHS’s ills when there was little or no evidence of it acting to alleviate the problem.

The AM for Ceredigion, a constituency which has been subject to controversial centralisation plans, told The Herald: “The Welsh Government is sitting on its hands and refusing to take workforce planning seriously. These figures show they are content to throw in the towel when faced with the challenge of providing services to areas of Wales where it is difficult to recruit.

“Up to 40% of GPs in the south Wales valleys are approaching retirement and parts of rural Wales are already seeing full or partial closures of surgeries due to a GP shortage.

“This can’t-do approach is not good enough if the Labour Welsh Government is to ensure a sustainable NHS for all of Wales. They need to be much more proactive in providing the levels of staff needed to deliver essential services.

“The SNP Government has shown what can be achieved when you have an ambitious and forward-thinking administration because they have almost 50% more GPs relative to population than we have in Wales.

“The figures also pose serious question marks about the case for centralisation. This was sold on the basis that it was necessary due to a doctor shortage.

“Is that shortage really a surprise when little is being done to tackle the recruitment crisis?

“People will be asking whether the Welsh Government’s case was flawed from the very beginning in light of these figures.” 

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Free parking in Ceredigion for the three Saturdays before Christmas

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PARKNG will be free in all Ceredigion County Council operated Pay and Display car parks on the three Saturdays preceding Christmas this year.

The development follows a decision made the by the Council’s Cabinet on 16 October 2018. Parking charges at Council operated Pay and Display car parks will be waived on 8, 15 and 22 December 2018.

The Cabinet Member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services, Councillor Dafydd Edwards said, “Christmas is a very important time of year for many small businesses in our towns. This decision will support people to prepare for the festivities locally and help small businesses compete with the increasing influence of online shopping.”

The decision contributes towards one of the Council’s corporate priorities of boosting the economy.

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Development of the Welsh Language at Ysgol Bro Pedr a step forward

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A CONSULTATION is to take place on the development of the medium of instruction to Welsh in the foundation phase at Ysgol Bro Pedr, Lampeter.

On 15 March 2018, members of Ysgol Bro Pedr’s Governing Body unanimously agreed to support a consultation on the development of the medium of instruction in the Foundation Phase. In its meeting on 16 October 2018, Cabinet supported and approved the Governing Body’s decision to commence a consultation to develop the medium of instruction to Welsh in the foundation phase at Ysgol Bro Pedr.

Councillor Catrin Miles, Ceredigion County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Learning Services and Lifelong Learning, said, “The Governing body’s decision to seek approval to proceed to consultation supports the wider context noted in Ceredigion’s WESP, to see more seven year old children being educated through the medium of Welsh. The decision also supports the Council’s aim to teach Ceredigion pupils so that they are fully bilingual when they leave primary school and to develop this ability during their time in secondary education.”

Currently, pupils transferring from the reception class to Year 1 are taught in separate classrooms. One classroom is taught mainly through the medium of English and the other through the medium of Welsh. Implementing the decision of the Governing Body would mean that only Welsh-medium education would be provided to the end of the Foundation Phase. English and Welsh medium classes would continue in Key Stage 2.

The formal consultation will begin on 06 November 2018 with an opportunity to present views and comments on the proposal or express support for status quo. In addition, drop in sessions will also be undertaken at the school to allow parents to discuss the proposals in detail with members of the Governing Body and County Council officers.

The Cabinet decision contributes towards realising the Council’s corporate priorities within the Corporate Strategy of investing in people’s future.

If the proposal is approved following the consultation, it would be implemented from 01 September 2019. However, pupils currently receiving their education in the Foundation Phase through the medium of English would continue to do so until they enter Key Stage 2.

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Margaret Jones: 100th birthday of award winning Ceredigion illustrator

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CEREDIGION MUSEUM celebrates the 100th birthday of award winning Ceredigion illustrator Margaret Jones with an exclusive exhibition.

The exhibition Margaret Jones: Celebrating 100, highlighting the career of award winning illustrator Margaret Jones on the eve of her 100th birthday, includes early sketches and unseen drawings owned by the Jones family themselves. The exclusive exhibition opens the door to this famous painter’s art, inviting visitors to discover the ideas, sketches and inner workings of her iconic paintings and illustrations.

The exhibition will feature previously unseen original prints from the ‘Arthur’ series and rare prints from unpublished work including ‘Seven days of the week’, which looks at how the names of the days of the week derive from the sagas of the Nordic Kings and Queens. Archive photo albums and unpublished books will be shown alongside the drawings and prints giving an intimate view of the artist and her life.

Ceredigion Museum’s assistant curator Alice Briggs said, “It has been wonderful to have the chance to delve through the portfolios of Margaret Jones, to discover more about her process of creating her illustrations and to learn more of her own detailed knowledge of the storytelling traditions in which she has illustrated.”

Becoming a professional painter at the age of 60, Margaret became known as one of the leading illustrators in the Celtic tradition and other folklore. Born in England, Margaret brought up her own young family in India with her husband, before being appointed as lecturer in Education Studies at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. Here, her portrayal of the Mabinogi has defined the way a generation of children in Wales imagine the folklore of the nation’s past.

Professor Sioned Davies, the former Head of Welsh at Cardiff University, whose ongoing contribution to Welsh language and culture is highly influential, will open the exhibition on Saturday 27 October at 2pm. All museum visitors are very welcome to attend the official opening.

The Margaret Jones: Celebrating 100 free exhibition will run at Ceredigion Museum gallery from Saturday, 27 October 2018 until 5 January 2019.

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