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Bodlondeb closure decision to be ‘called in’

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IN A dramatic turn of events, it has been reported that the Healthier Communities Scrutiny Committee could call in the planned closure of Bodlondeb Residential Home, Aberystwyth, as a first step to securing a vote on the issue by the whole Council.

On Tuesday, November 7, the Council’s Cabinet, voted unanimously to back the closure of the home on or by March 31, 2018. The Cabinet also decided that no new admissions would be made to the home before that date.

No formal announcement has yet been made on a call-in of the Cabinet’s decision, but given the Council’s pre-Christmas timetable, if the decision is to be reconsidered by the Healthier Communities Scrutiny Committee and then voted on by the full council, an Extraordinary meeting will be required of the Scrutiny Committee, possibly as early as next week, in order to get Bodlondeb’s fate before councillors at their meeting on December 7.

REACTION TO CLOSURE DECISION

Defending the Cabinet’s decision, the Cabinet member responsible for Social Services, Councillor Catherine Hughes said: “The decision to close Bodlondeb was a difficult one to make; I’m very aware that the home has served older residents of the county and their families well for decades. The demand and needs of older people are changing with people opting for care in their own homes. This decision allows the Council to use resources effectively to ensure the best possible quality of care for our older residents.”

Indicating that the fight was far from over a Ceredigion People’s Assembly representative said: “Despite the community’s strong campaigning, Ceredigion council has favoured austerity again today. Our concern reaches further than Bodlondeb care home – this is just one example of cuts to services.

“The council insists that the answer is austerity, without looking at alternative ways to make ends meet and have taken the easy way out today by cutting provision for the most vulnerable.

We are looking at the possibility of taking the decision to a full council meeting, and that other Ceredigion councillors will not want to deprive the residents of Ceredigion further.”

Former Ceredigion MP Mark Williams said: ‘The council has simply failed to recognise the need for a vision of adult social care provision across Ceredigion; is retreating in its role as a public sector provider; and is mistaken in its view that as the number of elderly grow then its residential care provision should be reduced’.

A spokesperson for the Save Bodlondeb Steering Group said after the meeting: “Of course we are disappointed, it is a major blow to our hopes of making the Cabinet see the flaws in a plan which leaves the biggest centre of population within the County without its own council run care home, or indeed any replacement provision for the foreseeable future.

“However, we are not planning to rest up at all.  We are extremely hopeful that sufficient Councillors will disagree with the Cabinet decision so that the decision may be ‘called-in’, that is the matter be brought before a meeting of the full Council to discuss.

“We would to thank those Councillors who did speak passionately in defence of Bodlondeb: Cllr Harris, Cllr Lloyd, Cllr Lloyd Edwards, Cllr Elizabeth Evans, Cllr Ceredig James, Cllr John Roberts, Cllr Steve Davies and Cllr Alun Lloyd Jones.

“This decision is a real test of the Save Bodlondeb Campaign’s resilience but the fact that so many of us were prepared to travel to the Council Headquarters and protest outdoors in such atrocious weather is testament to our determination to achieve our goal, which is to Save Bodlondeb until suitable provision is in place.”

Local AM Elin Jones, Llywydd Cynulliad Cymru, also condemned the decision to close the home: “I’m saddened that the cabinet has found itself in the position of proposing the closure of Bodlondeb. In my view, no decision to close should have been taken until a properly consulted plan for the provision of elderly care in the Aberystwyth area was in place.

“It feels as though the cart has come before the horse.

“The Council needs to move quickly to give reassurance to the people of the Aberystwyth area that the needs of the elderly population for the years to come will be met by the council and other providers.”

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Police trying to track stolen tanker

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating the theft of a fuel tanker containing approximately 8,500 litres of diesel (4,000 litres of red diesel and 4,500 litres of white diesel).

The vehicle was taken from Tan Y Foel Quarry, Cefn Coch, Welshpool, between 5.30pm on Wednesday, May 23 and 6am on Thursday, May 24.

The police are asking people to see if the tanker is now in this area.

Anyone with information that can help officers with their investigation is asked to report it by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908, quoting Ref: DPP/0006/24/05/2018/01/C.

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Reprogrammed virus offers hope as cancer treatment

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A CANCER treatment that can completely destroy cancer cells without affecting healthy cells could soon be a possibility, thanks to research led by Cardiff University.

The team of researchers has successfully ‘trained’ a respiratory virus to recognise ovarian cancer and completely destroy it without infecting other cells. The reprogrammed virus could also be used to treat other cancers such as breast, pancreatic, lung and oral.

Dr Alan Parker from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine said: “Reprogrammed viruses are already being used in gene therapy procedures to treat a range of diseases, demonstrating they can be trained from being life-threatening into potentially lifesaving agents.

“In cancer treatment, up until now, reprogrammed viruses have not been able to selectively recognise only the cancer cells and would also infect healthy cells, resulting in unwanted side effects.

“We’ve taken a common, well-studied virus and completely redesigned it so that it can no longer attach to non-cancerous cells but instead seeks out a specific marker protein called αvβ6 integrin, which is unique to certain cancer cells, allowing it to invade them.

“In this case we introduced the reprogrammed virus to ovarian cancer which it successfully identified and destroyed.

“This is an exciting advance, offering real potential for patients with a variety of cancers.”

Once the virus enters the cancer cell it uses the cell’s machinery to replicate, producing many thousands of copies of itself, prior to bursting the cell and thereby destroying it in the process. The newly released viral copies can then bind and infect neighbouring cancer cells and repeat the same cycle, eventually removing the tumour mass altogether.

The virus also activates the body’s natural immune system, helping it to recognise and destroy the malignant cells.

The reprogrammed virus is from a group of respiratory viruses called adenoviruses. The advantage of using these viruses is that they are relatively easy to manipulate and have already been safely used in cancer treatment.

The technique used to reprogramme the virus to identify the protein common to ovarian, breast, pancreatic, lung and oral cancers could also be used to manipulate it so that it would recognise proteins common to other groups of cancers.

Additional refinement to the viral DNA could also allow the virus to produce anticancer drugs, such as antibodies, during the process of infecting cancer cells. This effectively turns the cancer into a factory producing drugs that will cause its own destruction.

The research was carried out in a laboratory, using mice with ovarian cancer, and has not yet reached clinical trials. The next step is to test the technique with other cancers, with a view to starting clinical trials in five years’ time.

Dr Catherine Pickworth from Cancer Research UK said: “It’s encouraging to see that this virus, which has been modified to recognise markers on cancer cells, has the ability to infect and kill ovarian cancer cells in the lab. Viruses are nature’s nanotechnology and harnessing their ability to hijack cells is an area of growing interest in cancer research.

“The next step will be more research to see if this could be a safe and effective strategy to use in people.”

The team includes researchers from Cardiff University; the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, USA; Glasgow University; the South West Wales Cancer Institute; and Velindre Cancer Centre.

The research was funded by Cancer Research UK, Tenovus Cancer Care and Cancer Research Wales.

The paper ‘Ad5NULL-A20 – a tropism-modified, αvβ6 integrin-selective oncolytic adenovirus for epithelial ovarian cancer therapies’ is published in Clinical Cancer Research.

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Money raised by Canolfan Padarn in the Race for Life

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STAFF and service users from Canolfan Padarn took part in this year’s Race for Life which took place on Sunday, May 13.

Service users Debbie, Lowri and Donna had been training for months as part of the centre’s healthy lifestyle group and were joined by staff members Lina, Ellie-May, Heather, Jenny, Dawn and Anwen, along with Heather’s daughter Cala, and Anwen’s daughter Jena.

Canolfan Padarn Support Worker Ellie-May Watkins said: “The crowd gave the crew great support and we’re grateful to everyone who cheered us on. We’d like to say a huge thank you to Queens Road Bowling Club for use of their facilities on the day. Previously, Canolfan Padarn raised £330 for Cancer research, we hope that we will match or exceed that in sponsorship this year.”

Canolfan Padarn is a community resource base for adults with learning disabilities in Aberystwyth, offering social, leisure and work opportunities in the local area.

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