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Councillor comments on health board appointment

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BERNARDINE REES OBEBERNARDINE REES OBE has been hired as the new chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board, Health Minister Mark Drakeford announced this week. 

The appointment has been greeted as unwelcome news by one local councillor, Viv Stoddard – who told The Herald that Bernardine Rees was behind plans eight years ago to downgrade Withybush in a plan called ‘‘Designed to Deliver”. Mrs Rees, who trained as a nurse and lives in Ceredigion, was chief executive of the former Pembrokeshire Local Health Board and Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire local health boards between 2003 and 2009. Her last executive position in NHS Wales was as director of primary, community and mental health at Cwm Taf University Health Board, where she also served as the organisation’s deputy chief executive. Mrs Rees is currently serving as a non-executive director of the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust. She will resign this position to assume her new role at Hywel Dda University Health Board. Hywel Dda University Health Board provides healthcare services to around 372,000 people living in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. The chair’s role is to ensure the board functions effectively by managing the agenda and establishing the board as a corporate team. Mrs Rees’ term of office will start on July 1, 2014 and run until July 31, 2018. Professor Drakeford said: “I’m pleased to announce the appointment of Bernardine Rees OBE as the new chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board. “I know she is passionate and enthusiastic about Hywel Dda University Health Board and has a wealth of relevant experience and I wish her well in her new role. “I attach great importance to the appointment of chairs who are chosen for their skills and experience and for the contribution they make to the work of the health board.” Commenting on the appointment, Cllr Viv Stoddard – a keen campaigner for local services – told The Herald: “Bernadine Rees has had a life-time career in the NHS. She is a true insider, no doubt steeped in the organisation’s culture. How can it be that she, or anyone with such a long NHS CV, be deemed to be the best person to fulfil this key role – which will include scrutinising and dictating the work of her erstwhile colleagues?” Cllr Stoddard added: “She was one of the two authors and drivers behind the infamous ‘Designed to Deliver’ glossy blueprint of eight years ago, that sought to downgrade Withybush Hospital, and heralded the advent of the deeply unpopular threecounties strong Hywel Dda Health Board. At that time, the county’s health watchdog, Pembrokeshire Community Health Council objected to the Designed to Deliver plans, saying that maintaining Withybush Hospital in its current site, with stateof- the-art accident and emergency department and a range of other services; and keeping the Special Care Baby-unit and consultant-led obstetric and maternity services were key to essential health services for the county.” Cllr Stoddard concluded by saying: “Pembrokeshire people gave a resounding ‘no’ to the reorganisation proposed in ‘Designed to Deliver’, just as they now say no to the very same controversial plans. Pembrokeshire Herald readers should now decide if it appropriate to appoint to this crucial post of health board chair, a person who has a long-history of pre-determined commitment to the radical, unpopular, and imminent changes to the county’s health service?”

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New Quay RNLI lifeboat crew trains with lifeguards

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NEW QUAY lifeboat station hosted a special training evening with the lifeboat crew and Ceredigion’s RNLI lifeguards last week.

Pete Yates, one of New Quay RNLI’s inshore lifeboat helms, worked closely with Ceredigion lifeguard supervisor, Tirion Dowsett, to plan scenarios for the teams to practice working together in casualty care situations.

A large scale scenario included four casualties to be dealt with by the inshore lifeboat crew and two lifeguard teams on a nearby beach, whilst a third lifeguard team and lifeboat crew members dealt with a separate scenario at the lifeboat station.

Pete said: “It was a great evening of training. We had 9 lifeguards and 13 lifeboat crew in attendance.

“The main scenario included casualties suffering from hypothermia and propeller injuries. A second scenario involved a mechanic suffering head injuries in the forepeak of the all-weather lifeboat and requiring extraction on a stretcher.

“On completion of these scenarios we all gathered back at the station where one of our senior crew members sprung a great act at being a diabetic having a hypo, and being suitably angry and aggressive.”

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, added: “It was great for our lifeboat crew members to work with the lifeguards as it builds a deeper understanding of each other’s roles and encourages teamwork between us. This is of great benefit when dealing with real life casualty care situations.”

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Coastguard rescues dog stuck on cliffs

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LAST TUESDAY (Aug 27), New Quay RNLI’s inshore D-class lifeboat, Audrey LJ, was tasked by Milford Haven Coastguard to assist the Coastguard with a dog stuck on the cliffs near New Quay.

The volunteer crew launched the inshore lifeboat at 1.50pm with four crew members on board and made their way south down the coast.

Brett Stones, New Quay RNLI’s helm said: “We located the dog on the cliffs by Castell Bach, near Cwmtydu. We stood by while the Coastguard team caught the animal. The dog was unharmed and safe with the Coastguard so we were stood down.

“However, while returning to station we were then tasked to a small vessel with engine failure. We towed the stricken boat with three people on board back to New Quay. We rehoused the inshore lifeboat and it was ready for service by 2.40pm.”

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New maintenance Lorries cut carbon emissions

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The Ground Maintenance Team has purchased three new lorries to support ground maintenance services in Ceredigion.

The new lorries will move Ceredigion County Council’s Ground Maintenance Service’s equipment to and from the grounds that they look after. The lorries will also take cut grass away for composting. This provides the most efficient way of maintaining the areas that the team is responsible for.

Councillor Dafydd Edwards is the Cabinet member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services together with Housing. He said: “The new vehicles replace ones which had provided excellent service for almost 20 years. They are fitted with Euro 6 engines which are considerably more efficient and better for the environment.”

The Grounds Maintenance Team is also incrementally introducing electric-powered mowers, blowers, hedge cutters and strimmers into its fleet. This equipment is better for the environment, is easier to use and causes less noise and vibration.

The new lorries support Ceredigion County Council’s commitment to be a net-zero carbon council by 2030.

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