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MP supports bowel cancer screening petition

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BEN LAKE MP for Ceredigion supported Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer to hand in a petition started by Lauren Backler, calling for the bowel cancer screening age to be lowered from 60 to 50, in line with Scotland and international best practice. The petition has been signed by more than 445,000 people.

Lauren, 27 from Eastbourne, started the petition in honour of her mum who sadly died from the disease at 56 years old. Ben Lake MP joined Lauren along with MPs from across the political divide. They were also accompanied by supporters of the charity that were diagnosed with bowel cancer in their 50s or those that have lost loved ones from the disease after being diagnosed in their 50s.

Currently, people registered with a GP and aged 60-74 in Wales, Northern Ireland and England will receive a bowel cancer screening test in the post every two years. In Scotland, people aged 50 – 74 are invited to be screened.

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in Wales. Every year more than 2,200 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in Wales and over 900 people die from the disease.

In the UK, around 4,500 people are diagnosed with the disease aged 50-59 and just over 1,200 die from the disease in this age group every year.

Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer are calling for additional NHS staff and resources to deal with the increase demand on services this would cause in endoscopy and pathology. Including rolling out the already-delayed faecal immunochemical test, known as FIT, which is easier to complete, and provides a more accurate bowel cancer screening result.

The Welsh Government have confirmed that they will replace the current screening test with the FIT test from 2019, but have not yet committed to lowering the bowel cancer screening age to 50.

Ben Lake MP said: “Screening is the best way to diagnose bowel cancer early when it’s easier to treat, and as such I am proud to be supporting this campaign. This an initiative that could save hundreds of lives and I am committed to helping make this a reality for people in Wales.”

Asha Kaur, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Ben Lake for supporting our call for an equitable bowel cancer screening service across the UK. We must do more to save lives from bowel cancer, after all it’s preventable, treatable and curable if diagnosed early. We urgently need an optimal bowel cancer screening programme that includes lowering the screening age to 50 years old and implementing FIT at a sensitive level.”

 

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Mark Drakeford named next First Minister

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THE NEXT First Minister of Wales will be Mark Drakeford, it has been announced this afternoon (Dec 6).

Mr Drakeford, a Cardiff West AM, was named as the winner of the Welsh Labour leadership contest at the Principality Stadium.

The contest was triggered when Carwyn Jones, the current First Minister, announced he was stepping down.

Mr Jones will officially step down on Tuesday (Dec 10).

Mr Drakeford will then be officially confirmed as the new First Minister of Wales by the National Assembly next week.

In the first round of voting, the results were:

Mark Drakeford – 46.9%
Vaughan Gething – 30.8%
Eluned Morgan – 22.3%

Eluned Morgan’s votes were then redistributed on voters’ second preferences, with the following results:

Mark Drakeford – 53.9%
Vaughan Gethin – 46.1%

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Met Office issue yellow weather warning for Friday morning

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THE MET OFFICE has warned of strong winds and heavy rain across South and West Wales as they have issued a yellow weather warning for rain on Friday (Dec 7).

Between 1am and 9am, spells of rain, heavy at times and accompanied by windy weather, are likely to produce 20-40mm of rain.

Coming after some recent wet weather, this rain is likely to lead to some temporary flooding impacts before the rain clears early Friday morning.

The Met Office are warning people that flooding of a few homes and business is likely, bus and train services, as well as roads, will probably be affected, with journey times taking longer.

Natural Resources Wales also has a flood alert in place in Pembrokeshire. Due to restrictions at the tidal outfall, river levels in the River Ritec in the Salterns area of Tenby are likely to remain high for a number of days.

River levels are rising slightly as each high tide arrives. The combination of ground conditions, existing river levels and forecast rainfall quantities gives a high risk of flooding of low-lying land during the next couple of days.

This comes a week after Yellow Weather Warnings were issued across Wales as Storm Diana brought extreme winds and heavy rain to the country.

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PCSOs celebrated in police campaign

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PCSO Iona Jones-Kenny

A campaign recognising Police Community Support Officers and the value they add to policing in Wales is being celebrated for its second year next week (Dec 10-14).

Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) work on the front line providing a visible and reassuring presence on streets throughout the country.

The campaign, called #ThoseInBlue, is being supported by Dyfed-Powys Police, South Wales Police, Gwent Police, North Wales Police and British Transport Police. All week they will be showcasing the work of their PCSOs and recognising the vital role they play.

PCSOs are the eyes and ears of police in communities – building trust and gathering information that is crucial to tackling crime and antisocial behaviour.

Dyfed-Powys Police’s Temporary Deputy Chief Constable, Richard Lewis, leads the portfolio for PCSOs in Wales.  He said: “PCSOs are an integral part of the police family. It is different to being a warranted Police Officer, and is a job in its own right.

“PCSOs are not only the eyes and ears in our communities, but also help tackle problems which cause the most concern for people living in Wales.

“PCSOs bring a wide range of skills and experience to the role and in the Dyfed-Powys area we have specialist PCSOs tackling rural crime, cyber crime and antisocial behaviour, and crime reduction experts.

“This Christmas, PCSOs will be a reassuring presence for some of the most vulnerable people living in towns, cities and villages across Wales.”

As part of the campaign, Dyfed-Powys Police Chief Officers will be heading ‘back to the floor’ – going on patrol with PCSOs working across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys.

All week PCSOs across Wales will be using #TweetMyWeek on Twitter to showcase the work they do every day that helps keep people safe. Follow the hashtag or keep up with the campaign on Dyfed-Powys Police’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

If you have concerns about crime or antisocial behaviour in your community speak to a PCSO or call 101.

MEET CEREDIGION’S PCSO

Name: PCSO Iona Jones-Kenny

Where you’re stationed: Lampeter

Length of service: Five months

Why did you join: I wanted a new challenge and feel I have a lot of previous experience to bring into the new role.

Best moments: No two days are the same and each day brings up a new challenge.

Interests outside of work: Spending time with the family, walking the dogs, and pool and sea swimming.

Aspirations: To build good links within the community and continue helping people.

Speciality: Working in schools and young people.

Previous experience: Working with children and young people and children in school.

PCSO Matthew Kieboom

Name: PCSO Matthew Kieboom

Where you’re stationed: Out of Cardigan Police Station, covering the rural villages and along the coast – probably one of the most beautiful parts of Cymru.

Length of service: 5 years, six months.

Why did you join: Several reasons:  I live in the middle of the community that I support. When I first moved here it became very obvious that there were strong communities and my wife Debbie and I were quickly welcomed. I wanted to help support and improve/protect those communities. With a uniformed background, when I saw the job advertised, it just called out to me.

Best moment: Hearing the stories from members of my communities who had nominated me for the #WeCare awards – that was very emotional. We go out and do the best we can to support and protect people and often we don’t really know if we are getting it right.

Interests outside of work: Very limited due to having a smallholding! My dogs mean the world to me. I also love kayaking out at sea, swimming and hiking and generally being outdoors enjoying the beautiful area we live in. There is something very mindful about being outside in west Wales, no matter what the weather.

Aspirations: The work a PC does is immense and their opportunities to specialise in different roles and go up the ranks of promotion does appeal, but I have had a successful career in the British Army already and am getting a bit long in the tooth to be competing directly against people half my age or less! I am really content with the difference I am currently making as a PCSO and the support in my role that the communities give me.

Speciality: First Aid instructor with experience of dealing with trauma – there’s nothing I can’t do with a spoon! I’m a Blue Light Mind Champion, LGBT Liaison Officer and Major Incident trained, specialising in Major Medical Incidents.

Previous experience:  Management Degree at Lancaster University followed by British Army Officer for 12 years. I’ve been on numerous Operational Tours specialising in major medical incidents, helped build refugee camps and provided Military Aid to a Civil Authority in York Floods in 2000 and Foot and Mouth Crisis in 2001. Many of the incidents I commanded at either both Bronze or Silver level, providing advice and planning to Gold where appropriate.  Following medical discharge from the Army I had the pleasure of working at Help for Heroes as they first formed as volunteers and were a large part of my recovery process. It took me some 5 years before I was ready for full time employment.

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