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Plans to out-source services announced

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Hywel-Dda-Health-BoardHYWEL Dda Health Board announced this week possible plans to out-source out of hours GP and triage services to private company Primecare, who already provide the same service in Carmarthenshire.
It has been reported that there was a risk that should the proposal go ahead then there was the potential for twelve part-time contracts to be adversely affected, possibly resulting in job cuts.
However, speaking to The Herald, a spokesperson for the Hywel Dda Health Board said that this was not the case, and that they were ‘still looking at options and had no idea how many people, if any, it would affect at this time’, should it go ahead.
A spokesperson for the Health Board said: “Currently there are two separate GP out of hours services provided in Hywel Dda. Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion’s call handling and triage service is provided in-house and Carmarthenshire’s by the private sector. Both services provide NHS face-to-face treatment centres and home visits consultations. The Health Board is exploring the possible benefits of developing a three counties GP out of hours call handling and triage service for Hywel Dda as we aim to provide a more consistent and efficient service for all our patients”.
When asked about the potential for a decrease in efficiency, as well as the fear of greater waiting times, the spokesperson continued: “We strongly believe this approach will offer improved patient choice and speed up home visits that could result in a reduction of calls to 999 and admission to hospital.
‘’The Board has a duty to consult with, and support, any staff affected by the proposed change and will do so when we are confident that this change will improve out of hours access for our patients. We would also like to take this opportunity to reassure the public that the Board will work with our clinicians to ensure that this change will improve the service provided before any decision is made.”
Mid and West Wales AM, Joyce Watson issued this statement to The Herald: “While I support Hywel Dda’s intention to speed up home visits and reduce unnecessary hospital admissions, in exploring options for GP out of hours services, patient care must remain the absolute priority.
‘’The potential impact on staff must also be seriously considered. I will be seeking meetings with Board representatives to discuss these proposals in greater detail.”
Paul Davis, AM member for Preseli Pembrokeshire, had this to say: “It’s right to consider how out of hours services can be delivered more effectively to meet patient demand and avoid putting patients through the sometimes distressing experience of an unnecessary visit to A&E. I welcome the Health Board’s commitment to engage positively with staff and patients and I hope that health bosses will listen to their views and act accordingly.”
Plaid Cymru AM, Simon Thomas, said: “Plaid Cymru has tabled a question to the Health Minister on this issue because of local concerns.
‘’More people could end up going to A&E if the service is not up to scratch. The danger is that private firms may cut costs by not employing staff as well trained as those currently serving local people.
‘’The recent Plaid Cymru brokered budget deal with the Welsh government means that Hywel Dda and the local council could bid for up to £8m from the Intermediate Care Fund to provide alternatives to people going to hospital and to encourage independent living.”
Primecare, founded in 1997, claim that they lead the way in the development of regular quality reporting for commissioning organisations, and are the first independent health care provider to have developed ‘this unique reporting system which allows regular, transparent reporting of both national and locally agreed quality indicators’.

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Elin Jones congratulates Ceredigion Talking Paper in National Assembly

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AM marks 50 years of service by local news service for the blind

Elin Jones AM has congratulated the Ceredigion Talking Newspaper in a statement in the National Assembly for Wales, marking 50 years of service to blind people in Ceredigion and beyond.

In her statement on Wednesday the 20th of January, Elin Jones said:

“Fifty years ago, in January 1970, an innovative charity was established in Ceredigion for blind people, offering the first service of its kind in Wales and the United Kingdom – a service that would enable the blind people of Ceredigion to hear the latest local news in the press.

“That innovative scheme was the Ceredigion Talking Newspaper.

“The talking newspaper was set up by Ronald Sturt, a lecturer at the College of Librarianship in Llanbadarn. Initially, the recordings of local voices reading articles from the local press were on tape cassettes and provided to 18 people.

“Nowadays, the recordings are on a USB, and there are over a hundred regular listeners of the talking newspaper and more than 60 volunteers contributing regularly. The recordings are published weekly and the coverage includes the Cambrian News, Golwg and Y Cymro.

“One reader, Eileen Sinnett, has volunteered continuously for fifty years. What a contribution she has made!

“I would like to congratulate the Ceredigion Talking Newspaper for breaking new ground in 1970, for 50 years of service and for bringing the news, in both Welsh and English, to those who cannot see or read it in Ceredigion and beyond.”

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Young People raise money for local charities

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On 10 December 2019, young people from Ysgol Henry Richard’s Cooking Club hosted a Christmas Fayre stall, selling cakes and donated bakes from the local community to raise money for young people receiving care at Angharad Ward, Bronglais Hospital and West Wales Domestic Abuse Service. The club was led by Ceredigion Youth Service and raised over £400 for the charities.

The young people learnt how to make and produce different products, sell and raise money for charity. This gave the young people the opportunity to feel a sense of achievement by giving to others.

Ruby Cook from Ysgol Henry Richard’s Cooking Club said, “Our Cooking Club is made up of young people from Ysgol Henry Richard who attend the after school cooking club. The club focuses on cooking and leaning new life skills. It also gives young people an opportunity to socialise with their friends. We had a great time working on this project, where we baked cakes and had fun in the Christmas Fayre selling them. We would like to thank the local businesses which also donated to our stall. With your support we were able to raise more funds and give more young people gifts this Christmas.”

Mrs Ffion Davies, Ysgol Henry Richard said, “It was a lovely evening seeing the Cooking Club members have fun while making and selling cakes for worthy causes. The enthusiasm the young people showed when giving up their own time to help others at what can be a vulnerable time of year for some was inspiring. Thank you and well done to Ceredigion Youth Service and the Cooking Club members.”

Councillor Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member responsible for Learning Services. She said, “I want to congratulate the Cooking Club for their hard work and great achievement. I’m delighted that they not only raised a good sum for charity, but had fun and learnt at the same time. I’m grateful to the Ceredigion Youth Service for their continued good work and support of young people in the county.”

Ceredigion Youth Service is the designated Service for young people aged 11-25 in Ceredigion, dedicated to supporting young people’s personal, social and educational development through specialised support and open access provision. Provision includes School Based Youth Work, Outreach Youth Work and Youth Clubs. For more information or to find out what opportunities are available to you, head over to their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages at @GICeredigionYS.

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Ben Lake MP pledges support for local pubs in Ceredigion

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Ben Lake MP has today pledged their support for the Long Live the Local Campaign to help pubs in Ceredigion keep their doors open. Ben Lake joins the more than 240,000 people who have signed the petition so far, including 335 in Ceredigion alone.

Ben Lake MP is calling on the Government to cut beer tax at the Budget. With £1 in every £3 pounds spent in UK pubs going to the taxman, British drinkers now pay 40% of all beer tax across the EU, but drink only 12% of the beer. Seven in ten alcoholic drinks served in pubs are beer, underlining how directly a cut in beer duty will help pubs. Brewing and pubs in Ceredigion supports 1169 jobs and contributes £23.1m to the local economy.

Commenting on the campaign, Ben Lake MP said:

“Pubs are at the heart of communities across Ceredigion, but with three pubs closing their doors for good every day across the UK, we must acknowledge that these community assets are facing significant challenges as they try to stay open. For this reason I am supporting the Long Live the Local campaign and calling on the Chancellor to cut beer tax for licenced premises in this year’s Budget to support pubs in our local communities.”

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:

“Beer duty has increased by 60% over the last 17 years and now the UK has one of the highest rates of tax in Europe. When over two thirds of all alcoholic drinks purchased in the pub are beers, a cut in beer tax would go a long way to protecting pubs across Ceredigion. We are very grateful to Ben Lake for their support for the Long Live the Local campaign, and hope that the Government listens to MPs across Parliament and the thousands of people across the country who are calling for a cut in beer tax to protect our pubs.”

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