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1200 march in Withybush protest

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WELL over one thousand people turned out this morning (Sunday January 26) to protest about cuts to services at Withybush. The protesters marched from Thomas Picton School to the hospital to vent their anger at cuts to services. Outside the hospital the crowd, estimated to be approaching nearly 1200 people, held placards and banners, chanted, and sang the Welsh national anthem. Many Pembrokeshire residents say they fear that the lives of women and babies would be at risk if a level-two neonatal unit was developed at Carmarthen as a replacement for the current unit at Withybush Hospital.

An motorbike accident which closed the A40 for most of the day yesterday (Saturday January 25) has raised concerns that it would not be safe to rely on the single-carriageway road to transfer urgent cases from Haverfordwest to Carmarthen, over thirty miles away.
Chris Overton, the chairman of the Save Withybush Action Team, who organised the protest, said that the turnout showed the “strength of feeling of people in Pembrokeshire”

Mr Overton , who is a consultant obstetrician at Withybush Hospital, later told the press: “I’ve coined a new phrase, the Sutton Test, after a woman called Kate Sutton from Johnston who lost her baby and nearly died. I ask you whether someone in a similar position will be safe when the new system is in place. I don’t think that they would be. I think that everyone is concerned more and more across the county that these services are going to be cut.”
Speaking at the demonstration, Stephen Crabb MP said to the Herald: “There is an enormous sense of anger amongst the crowd, people from all walks of life, all across the county, voicing their frustration and their fears of what the future will look like without the essential service of SCBU on our doorstep.”

The hospital changes announced are part a new system, where doctors in Carmarthen will provide specialist care, with other hospitals eventually providing a midwife-led service. Bronglais hospital in Aberystwyth will become a midwife-led maternity unit, although during the transition period it will also retain some consultants.

The plans were initially revealed a year ago by the health board but were vetoed by the local patients watchdog over concerns that closing the special care baby unit in Haverfordwest could put lives at risk. That meant Health Minister Mark Drakeford had to step in to review the decision himself, and he has taken advice from a panel of experts.

The panel advising Mr. Drakeford indicated providing special baby care units across the health board was “neither safe nor sustainable”, but the protestors say its unsafe to cut services due to the time it takes to get mums and babies from Pembrokeshire to the new propsed unit in Carmarthenshire.

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Richards-Keegan cleared of sending underage girl nude pictures

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A BOW STREET man has been cleared of charges that he sent an underage girl photographs of his penis.

Paul Robert Morgan Richards-Keegan, aged 21, had denied two allegations of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Richards-Keegan, of Tregerddan, said the only messages he sent her via the internet were in response to approaches from her and did not include photographs of his private parts.

Catherine Richards, prosecuting, had told a jury at Swansea Crown Court that the 14-year-old girl had shared messages with Richards-Keegan via Snapchat.

At one stage police issued to him a child abduction notice, which he signed, instructing him not to contact the girl

In 2016 she told her mother that he was again sending her unwanted photographs of his penis attached to messages.

Richards-Keegan was arrested, and told police he had obeyed the order apart from messages he had sent after being contacted by the complainant.

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Ben Lake MP gets First Class experience as he turns postie for the day in Lampeter

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Ceredigion MP Ben Lake experienced what is involved in delivering the post when he joined local postman Wyn on his delivery round in Lampeter yesterday.

Ben is one of a number of local MPs being invited to go out with postmen and women across Wales to see the lengths Royal Mail goes to, to deliver the post.

The purpose of the visits is to give MPs a unique insight into the challenges of delivering mail to every house and business in their constituency, six days a week.

Jamie Lambert, Royal Mail Delivery Manager, who briefed Ben before he set off on his walk said: “We’re delighted that Ben is taking the time to experience the every day challenges faced by our delivery postmen and women.

“The visit gave us the opportunity to show Ben how we are continuing to modernise and transform our organisation. We have invested in new sorting and delivery equipment as we respond to the changing nature of the modern postbag. We are delivering more parcels and fewer letters than ever before and the tools for the job need to reflect that.”

Ben Lake MP said: “Postmen and women perform an incredibly important service to our communities; not only do they ensure that our post is delivered, but they are often a vital contact for elderly individuals, and as such key to biding us closer together as a community.

“I wanted to get a real understanding of the work that goes into delivering the mail on a daily basis. There can be no better way of getting that insight than actually going out and joining a postman as he delivers his postal round.

“I would like to thank the team at the Lampeter Sorting Office for their work and welcome, and to Wyn for his patience as I followed him on his round.”

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Tenders invited for Cylch Caron

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Tenders are invited for the design and build of a new fully-integrated health, social care and housing centre, Cylch Caron in Tregaron.

The tendering opportunity has been advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union, and the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) published on 12 February 2018. Completed PQQ submissions must be made online through etenderwales by Noon on 15 March 2018.

Following a previous unsuccessful exercise the Cylch Caron Project Board voted to explore new tender options for the design and construction of the facility. Subsequently, this tender for a design and build solution has been developed to deliver best value for money and fit-for-purpose health and extra care facilities, for current and future generations.

Councillor Catherine Hughes, Ceredigion County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Social Services, and Chair of the Cylch Caron Stakeholder Board, said: “After exploring ways in which to move this project forward successfully, this is an important milestone that I am very happy to see. The Project Board agreed to re-procure the scheme on a Design and Build basis which will hopefully be an attractive prospect to building companies.”

The scheme is being developed in partnership between Ceredigion County Council, Hywel Dda University Health Board, Mid-Wales Housing and the Welsh Government. It will consist of a GP surgery, community pharmacy, outpatient clinics and community nursing services, as well as extra care flats and integrated health and social care units.

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