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Wales on four this summer

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(Pictured: Wales and Dragons lock Cory Hill)

WALES’ Grand Slam winners will be live on Channel 4 when they face England and Ireland at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in the Under Armour Summer Series this August – it was confirmed today.

The reigning 2019 Guinness Six Nations title holders host both fellow Championship opponents in preparation for the Rugby World Cup in September, with the auld enemy in town on Saturday 17th August (14:15hrs) and the Irish arriving on Saturday 31st August (14:30hrs).

Channel 4 showed their first Welsh rugby international last June when Wales beat South Africa in Washington DC, followed by a successful two-Test tour of Argentina.

The partnership will be rekindled for Wales’ Under Armour Summer Series matches, with the England game to be simultaneously shown on Sky, and it has already been announced that Channel 4 will show the final match of the campaign, at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, by virtue of their existing deal with the Irish Rugby Football Union.

“We will be delighted to welcome Channel 4 to Cardiff and join their portfolio of rugby programming this summer,” said WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips.

“Our experience working with them during last year’s summer tour in Argentina and for the game against South Africa in USA was hugely positive and, of course, their coverage of Heineken Champions Cup rugby is highly regarded.

“These two matches will not only be the last opportunity to see Wales at Principality Stadium before we leave for the World Cup in Japan, but they are also a final send off for our head coach Warren Gatland.

“We are expecting two incredible occasions, two huge crowds and a fitting spectacle for all those watching on TV screens around the world as we celebrate the most successful coach in the history of our game and send Wales to the World Cup in no doubt that an entire nation is behind them.”

Two away games top and tail the campaign, starting with a showdown at Twickenham on Sunday 11th August (itself shown on Sky) and culminating with a trip to Dublin on 7th September.

The two matches on home soil are a Cardiff curtain call for Gatland who will move on after Japan 2019, after serving 12 years at the helm.

Currently placed second in the World Rugby rankings, Wales will also be looking to extend a record 14-match unbeaten run during their four-game RWC warm-up campaign and Gatland will trim his squad, from 42 to the 31 who will make the plane, following Ireland’s visit to Cardiff.

The Grand Slam and Gatland-factor combined is expected to produce sell-out crowds for the summer after Wales completed a unique Championship-clean-sweep-hat-trick under his tenure, lifting the Guinness Six Nations Championship in 2019 to add to triumphs in 2008 and 2012.

“We’re delighted to be working with the Grand Slam winners once again and look forward to Warren Gatland’s men laying down markers against Ireland and England. It promises to be an intriguing summer of rugby for fans of all nations ahead of the Rugby World Cup,” added Joe Blake-Turner, Channel 4 Commissioning Editor, Sport.

Approaching 100,000 tickets have been snapped up for the UA Series already and both games are expected to sell-out the 73,931 capacity Principality Stadium ground – with remaining tickets priced from £40, (£10 U16s, available across more than half the seats in the ground) still available here www.wru.co.uk/tickets.

Wales’ 2019 Under Armour Summer Series fixtures:
Wales vs England: Principality Stadium, Saturday 17th August 2019 – Kick Off: 14:15hrs. £60 (£10 U16 concession available), *£40 (£10 U16 concession available) – lower and middle tier and AFZ sold-out
Wales vs Ireland: Principality Stadium, Saturday 31st August 2019 – Kick Off: 14:30hrs. £70, £60 (£10 U16 concession available), *£40 (£10 U16 concession available) – lower tier sold-out
*Alcohol Free Zone tickets are also in this category

Wales’ away summer fixtures:
England v Wales (Twickenham) Sunday 11 August
Ireland v Wales (Aviva Stadium) Saturday 7 September

Wales in Japan, RWC 2019:
Wales v Georgia – Toyota City, 23rd September, 11:15am (GMT)
Australia v Wales – Tokyo, 29th September, 8:45am (GMT)
Wales v Fiji – Oita, 9th October, 10:45am (GMT)
Wales v Uruguay – Kumamoto City, 13 October, 9:15am (GMT)

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Health

Ambulance delays as heart attack victims left waiting one hour 57 minutes

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FREEDOM of Information requests reveal the worst ambulance delays out of 22 local authorities in Wales.

Postcode lottery revealed with patients in some areas waiting over double the amount of time for life-threatening calls

The average wait time for amber calls, which includes heart attack and stroke victims was 1 hour 57 minutes. In Swansea, it was 2 hours 33 minutes.

Shocking figures have unveiled the local areas in Wales with the longest ambulance delays, revealing a stark “postcode lottery” for response times to life-threatening calls.

Figures were provided by local authority giving a more local breakdown of the usual Health Board data.

Potential heart attack and stroke victims in the worst-hit areas are now waiting an average of one hour and 57 minutes for paramedics to arrive.

The figures, uncovered by the Liberal Democrats through Freedom of Information requests, reveal how patients whose lives are in immediate danger are waiting twice as long in some rural areas than urban ones. In Anglesey, patients waited an average of 12 minutes and 22 seconds for category 1 calls compared to 6 minutes 31 seconds in Newport.

However, the figures for amber calls painted a much starker picture with an average arrival time of 1 hour 57 minutes in Wales, with the worst in Swansea, where the average wait was 2 hours 33 minutes.

Overall, 13 out of the 22 local authorities in Wales had an average wait of over 2 hours for amber calls.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling for action on the social care crisis in order to free up hospital beds and stop ambulances waiting outside hospitals.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

“These figures are heart-breaking, but not necessarily shocking to anyone who has had to call on an ambulance in recent months.

“Far too many people are being left to wait too long in an emergency across every region of Wales. The length of amber calls, which includes stroke and heart attack victims in particularly concerning.

“None of this is the fault of our hardworking ambulance staff who are doing their utmost in extremely difficult conditions.

“We must see an end to the postcode lottery in emergency care, it shouldn’t matter where you live, you should be able to get timely medical attention when you need it most.

“Every day we hear more and more devastating stories of pensioners left stranded for hours, or families watching a loved one die before a paramedic could reach them.

“This cannot continue, the Welsh Labour Government must bring forward extra support to get ambulance services through winter as well as a long-term strategy to ensure people can get emergency care when they need it. That means addressing workforce shortages, fixing the social care crisis and ending the shortage of hospital beds, all of which are leaving patients in ambulances stuck outside A&E for hours.”

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Ceredigion MS’ back striking Uni staff

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LOCAL Plaid Cymru politicians stood in solidarity with striking university staff at the Senedd this week, as over 70,000 staff from over 150 universities across the UK undertook three days of striking action over attacks on pay, working conditions and pensions.

The strike, organised by the University and Colleges Union (UCU), was the biggest in the history of higher education, and saw protestors gather en masse in London and Cardiff, as well as picket lines on university campuses, including in Aberystwyth and Lampeter.

The strikes come after UCU members overwhelmingly voted ‘yes’ to industrial action in September in two historic national ballots over attacks on pay and working conditions as well as pension cuts.

In September, Aberystwyth University, along with other employers, offered a standard three per cent pay increase. UCU’s demands, however, include a pay uplift of 12 per cent or Retail Price Index (RPI) plus two per cent, an agreed framework to eliminate insecure work practices such as zero hours contracts, and action to address dangerously high workloads.

The protest at the Senedd on Wednesday 30th November brought together a range of university staff, students and supporters, as well as many politicians.

Elin Jones, Member of the Senedd for Ceredigion said:

“I welcomed the opportunity to stand in solidarity with striking university staff. As the cost-of-living crisis intensifies, it’s clear that the current pay offer to university staff does not go far enough, and many will struggle financially over coming months.

Whilst staff in Aberystwyth and Lampeter are working hard to deliver an exceptional experience for their students, more and more are struggling as a result of falling pay, pension uncertainty and insecure work.”

Cefin Campbell, Member of the Senedd for Mid & West Wales concluded:

“Universities’ roles as vital employers across Mid & West Wales cannot be understated. No-one – including the university staff – wants industrial action, however the fact that the strike took place indicates the strength of feeling and frustration within the sector. At this time of growing financial hardship, I stand with the UCU staff and hope their demands will be met by universities.”

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Children’s Commissioner for Wales helps deliver powerful messages from children

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ENCOURAGING safeguarding professionals and practitioners to engage with and listen to children and young people was at the heart of an event hosted by the Mid and West Wales Regional Safeguarding Board for children, as part of its National Safeguarding Week activities and program for 2022.

The event which took place on 18 November 18 at Parc-y–Scarlets stadium in Llanelli, was attended by professionals who play a key role in safeguarding children, including police officers, nurses, social care staff and education professionals, and by children and young people from across the region, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Powys.

A safeguarding training resource and animation developed and created by the Regional Safeguarding Board’s Junior Group CADW, was officially launched as part of the event, by the Children’s Commissioner for Wales Rocio Cifuentes.

The training resource designed to be used in all mandatory multi-agency safeguarding training across the region, gives powerful messages to professionals about what is important to children and young people when practitioners and professionals may need to intervene in their lives to support or protect them.

Jan Coles, Head of Children’s Services at Carmarthenshire Council, which led and facilitated the event of behalf of the Mid and West Wales Safeguarding Board, said: “It is empowering and extremely inspiring for the children and young people from across our region to see so many safeguarding professionals and practitioners to support the fantastic work they have done.

“The messages in the animation are very powerful and we will take this forward as a regional safeguarding board and ensure they are embedded into core safeguarding practice.”

The resource as well as supplementary information and materials can be viewed here: www.cysur.wales/training/animation-training-resource/

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