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Calls for return of mental health beds to Ceredigion

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PLAID CYMRU AM Simon Thomas has called for the return of mental health beds in Aberystwyth in a response to a consultation by Hywel Dda University Health Board on adult mental health services.

Bronglais Hospital’s mental health Afallon ward in Aberystwyth was closed in 2012.

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Simon Thomas said: “I am particularly concerned at the failure to provide an adequate mental health service in Ceredigion at present. There being no adult hospital or community mental health beds in the county with people having to travel to Carmarthen.

“It seems that there will be no treatment beds between Llanelli and Bangor, a distance of 145 miles.

“This is a failure to deliver for the residents of Hywel Dda or to recognise the travel to work set ups in the region. It is particularly disappointing that the work of the Mid Wales Healthcare Collaborative has not led to a significant improvement in the area of mental health treatment beds.

“I would argue for the reinstatement of beds in Aberystwyth which were removed without consultation or discussion from Afallon Ward in 2012.”

He outlined his party policy and welcomed certain features of the proposals by Hywel Dda University Health Board.

Mid and West AM Simon Thomas added: “Plaid Cymru believes in improving access to trained counsellors and therapists in the community. We also want to ensure every community should have reasonable access to provision of emergency mental health care beds.

“I hope these proposals mean that Hywel Dda University Health Board will take seriously the need to invest in additional therapeutic models of treatment to widen choice and move away from a ‘one size fits all’ approach to treatment.

“I support the ‘Time to Change’ campaign against prejudice and discrimination towards those with mental health problems. This means that Hywel Dda UHB itself must set a gold standard in ensuring that support services are available for employees with mental health problems.

“I welcome the proposal in the consultation to ensure a 24/7 Community Mental Health Centre in each county with four crisis and recovery beds on site.

“I’m pleased that they will be a place of safety for people detained by the police under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act. This will help prevent people in crisis from having to stay in a police cell for assessment.

“The use of centres as a bridge facility for people to go to after as hospital stay and before they go home will be desirable, as is the 24/7 operation with open access meaning fewer delays for people and no waiting lists for referrals.

“I welcome the proposals to develop social enterprises and cooperatives at Community Mental Health Centres but note that this will need investment and resources to be achieved successfully.

“Even under these proposals there will continue to be real issues regarding travel time for people from Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire with the Central Assessment Unit based at Glangwili General Hospital in Carmarthen and the Central Treatment Unit based at Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli.  This is particularly the case for those reliant on public transport and their families and carers.

“The idea of a Single Point of Contact for people if they want to seek advice or want to make a referral into adult mental health services is a good one. A mix of options to speak to someone on the telephone, via email, or via text would be the best to access the Single Point of Contact.”

The consultation ended last Friday (Sept 15).

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Man denies £7,000 burglary

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A MAN from West Sussex has today denied carrying out a £7,000 burglary in Lampeter.

Kurtis Poat, aged 23, appeared at Swansea Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing before Judge Paul Thomas.

Poat, of Osborne Crescent, Chichester, denied breaking into a house in Nantyglyn, Cwmann, in May, 2017, and stealing a tin containing £7,000 in cash.

Poat faces a two day trial scheduled to begin on April 11 and was granted bail until then.

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Campaigners urge air gun licensing following cat shootings

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CATS PROTECTION is urging the UK’s cat lovers to join a call on the Westminster government to introduce air gun licensing in Wales and England, following in the footsteps of Scotland and Northern Ireland where it is illegal to own air weapons without licence.

The government is currently holding a public consultation into air weapon regulation, including licensing, which closes on February 6, making this the ideal time for cat lovers to make their voices heard by sending an e-mail to the Home Office.

To take part people should visit www.cats.org.uk/airgunsconsultation where they can adapt and send the e-mail. People can also watch a video showing some of the feline victims of air gun shootings, which some may find upsetting.

Victims of air gun shootings include Jalapeno, a black-and-white cat from Bridgend who was shot in the eye, and Chaos, a black-and-white cat from South Wales who was shot between her eyes, shattering the bones in her nose.

Luckily both Jalapeno and Chaos survived their injuries after receiving emergency veterinary care.

However, in March 2017, a cat from Barry was fatally shot, as was a cat from Llanell in August 2017.

“Shocking air gun attacks like the ones on Jalapeno and Chaos are by no means rare,” explains Jacqui Cuff, Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy & Government Relations.

“Our monitoring of UK press reports shows that three cats are killed or injured by an air gun each week and this is likely to be an underestimate because most attacks are never witnessed or reported. Worse still, over 90% of these shootings take place in Wales and England where it is legal for anyone over 18 to purchase an air gun and ammunition without the need for a licence.

“These attacks cause immense pain and suffering to cats as well as anguish for their owners and fear in their local communities for the safety of people and pets.”

Cats Protection believes that if licensing were introduced, it would be easier to track down culprits who use these weapons to inflict harm on cats.

The charity wants to ensure that cats in Wales and England are fully protected. Those who have a legitimate reason to purchase, possess and use an air gun will be able to retain ownership and would simply need to apply for a licence.

Jacqui added: “Last year over 90,000 people signed an online and paper Cats Protection petition calling for the licensing of air guns in Wales and England, showing the depth of public feeling on the issue. Our hope is that as many people as possible email the government in support of air gun licensing so that we can make the whole of the UK a safer place for cats, animals and human beings.”

Cats Protection is the UK’s leading feline welfare charity and helps around 190,000 cats each year through a national network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 34 centres.

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Police crack down on drink and drug driving

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NEARLY 100 people were arrested by Dyfed-Powys Police for drink and drug driving in December, as a result of the All Wales Christmas Anti Drink and Drug Drive Campaign.

The month-long operation against driving under the influence ran from Friday, December 1, and police forces across the country used intelligence-led tactics and local knowledge of hotspots to detect people driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol over the festive period.

98 people were arrested by Dyfed-Powys Police.

Supt. Huw Meredith, Specialist Operations, said: “We adopt a proactive, targeted and intelligence-led approach to drink and drug driving, using specialist Roads Policing resources and response officers.

“The number of arrests indicates that sadly some are prepared to risk the lives of others and themselves by driving under the influence of drink or drugs.

“Our message is the same all year round – don’t drink/take drugs and drive.”

In 2017 Dyfed-Powys Police arrested 452 people for drink and drug driving.

Operation Snap also launched in December, allowing members of the public throughout Wales to submit footage and images showing traffic offences being committed – from driving dangerously or carelessly to contravening solid white lines, using a mobile phone while driving or ignoring traffic lights.

To submit footage to any of the four Welsh Police Forces, visit https://gosafesnap.wales/ or https://gosafesnap.cymru.

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