AN ONLINE petition asking for the ‘return’ a Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) and complaining about the withdrawal of paediatric services at Bronglais Hospital, has caused ‘concern’ at the local health board.
The petition, on 38 Degrees, complains about the absence of SCBU services at Bronglais and says that the policy of centralising services at Glangwili: “has had a completely negative and adverse impact on health care in Ceredigion and other areas covered by Bronglais, with many families being forced to travel for an hour or more to reach the health care they desperately need at Glangwili.”
The petition goes on to say that: “Lives have been put at risk and will continue to be so by the removal of services in the Ceredigion catchment area. Severely ill children that would otherwise be seen locally and stabilised locally, are now having to wait many hours for a Paediatric team based either in Newport or Bristol to travel to Aberystwyth and then take the child to a hospital over an hour away at least, assuming that an incubator or bed is available at Carmarthen.
“The problems that the current centralisation policy have caused are horrendous to families and needs addressing immediately with the utmost urgency. We need all our health services back now starting with 24 hour continuation/return Obstetric and Paediatric Consultant cover in the quickest possible time.” The petition gained over 1,600 signatures since being launched on the week of April 22.
The Herald asked Hywel Dda University Health Board to comment on the petition and enquired whether any changes to service, including withdrawal of existing services, were planned for Bronglais.
In a forthright response, the Health Board denied that any changes to services were planned and suggested the petition’s terms of reference were ‘inaccurate’.
Health Board Medical Director Dr Philip Kloer said: “We have read with concern some inaccurate comments on social media recently in response to an online petition which calls for ‘the return of 24-hour paediatrics to Bronglais General Hospital.”
“To be absolutely clear, Bronglais Hospital continues to have 24 hour, seven day a week consultant led inpatient paediatric services.
“The petition makes reference to Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU/ or neonatal) services at Bronglais Hospital and implies that babies from the Ceredigion area are transferred elsewhere in Wales as a direct consequence of changes to services in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire in 2014. This is not the case.
“Whilst Bronglais Hospital has a joint consultant and midwife-led maternity unit, it does not have a SCBU and has never been a formal receiving hospital for special care babies. Clinical protocols are in place to minimise the potential for premature births at the hospital. In the event of a premature birth, facilities are available to stabilise and transfer babies either for special care at the SCBU in Carmarthen.
“Only babies requiring tertiary, specialist neonatal care are transferred to units in Swansea, Cardiff or Newport, as usual. These levels of neonatal services have never been available at any of the hospitals across the Hywel Dda University Health Board area.”
Aggressive man found naked and abusive
A NAKED man who urinated in a police cell required six police officers deal with his arrest.
Brian Warren Kerley, 24, of Clos Yr Helyg in Crymych, attended Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (Nov 15) to face four offences.
Kerley pleaded guilty to assaulting two constables in the execution of their duty, using threatening behaviour towards another with intent, and damaging police property by urinating in a cell and on its mattress.
Prosecutor Helen Tench said on October 31, police received a call regarding a disturbance in a public place in Cardigan. They arrived at the scene to find Kerley stripped of clothing and behaving in a threatening manner.
The defendant was escorted to the police vehicle, where he became increasingly aggressive towards a member of the public. He then wrapped his leg around one of the officers’ to trip him up. He spat on the other officer’s arm.
Ms Tench said the defendant continued spitting and became ‘extremely aggressive and violent’ when he banged his head inside the police vehicle.
A total of six police officers assisted with the arrest.
At custody, officers attempted to reason with Kerley whilst he continued his threatening behaviour, and was monitored in his cell every 30 minutes.
In the early hours of November 1, the defendant urinated in his cell three times. Two of these times, he urinated on the mattress.
In a statement, Kerley said he was sorry for committing the offences and did not remember the incident.
Defending, Katy Hanson said Kerley was filled with remorse and regret for his behaviour and accepted responsibility.
She added that it ‘clearly is not the way for someone to behave’ and the defendant ‘now realises the potential consequences of his actions’.
Ms Hanson concluded by saying Kerley admitted to having consumed three cans of lager on the night in question and has no recollection of the events.
Probation officer Julian Davies said the defendant was currently serving a 12-month community order imposed on September 20 for an offence of common assault.
For the offences, magistrates allowed the current community order to continue and added a six-week curfew.
Kerley was told to pay £50 compensation to both officers he assaulted, but no compensation for the offence of criminal damage.
He was also told to pay prosecution costs of £85 and a surcharge of £85.
Scrutiny committee votes to close Bodlondeb
AT A recorded vote this morning (Nov 20) Ceredigion’s Healthier Communities Scrutiny Committee voted to back the Cabinet’s decision to close Bodlondeb Residential Home by the end of March 2018.
In refusing to remit the decision to Full Council, the committee dashed the hopes of campaigners fighting to retain Bodlondeb until adequate replacement facilities are in place.
The vote was nine to seven with no abstentions.
There will be more on this breaking story later and in this week’s Ceredigion Herald.
AM calls for further protection of wild animals after Lynx deaths
MID AND WEST AM Simon Thomas has called for further protection from the Welsh Government following the death of two wild cats from a zoo in Borth, near Aberystwyth.
The AM quizzed the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths in a topical question in the Senedd.
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs for Plaid Cymru Simon Thomas said: “The deaths of the two Lynx wild cats have created a great deal of concern to many people in the area and, more broadly, to people who care for animals and their welfare at zoos.
“I asked whether the Welsh Government approved of the steps taken by Ceredigion County Council in this case and more broadly with the position of the zoo. It’s clear that there’s something amiss when a wild animal can escape and another dies because of its handling. I requested we look at national regulations that govern organisations such as this to ensure that people who run zoos do have the appropriate skills, but also that the equipment is suitable for the animals kept there.
The Cabinet Secretary Lesley Griffiths replied: “Ceredigion County Council is investigating the escape of the lynx and the death of a second lynx linked to the zoo to establish whether there have been any breaches of the operating licence. While inquiries are ongoing it would be inappropriate for me to comment further on this matter.”
She added: “Officials have been in frequent contact with Ceredigion County Council. The decision to dispatch the animal was taken by the county council along with Dyfed-Powys Police, officials from Welsh Government and also the chief veterinary officer. There are several issues that I think need to be looked into very carefully around the licence.”
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