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Councillors join fight to save hospital

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councilCOUNCILLORS were unanimous in their criticism of the Local health board health board at Thursday’s full council meeting. Council leader Jamie Adams expressed his intentions to invite the Local health board to a meeting with members to explore their vision for the future. This was supported by everyone in the chamber. A number of councillors expressed their concerns at recent cuts to services with some saying that Pembrokeshire was becoming like a third-world country. Cllr Adams said: “This council expresses great concerns for health services in Pembrokeshire. “We are concerned at the amount of primary and emergency care, particularly as we approach the height of the summer season. “I express my disappointment at the lack of understanding we have had with the health board. “We have to have an understanding that services, on occasion, may have to change. “We need to be assured that these services will be truly accessible for the people of Pembrokeshire. I have failed to receive those assurances so far. “I invite the health board to tell us what they are going to do, to show us how it will work and to prove what they are going to do will work.” Cllr Mike Williams said: “Nobody seems to have any courage. In Tenby GP services have been reduced, the MIU which cost £4.2 million is now closed. “The RNLI and Red Cross have been called in to undertake work in Tenby during the summer. I have no faith in the health board. We are becoming a thirdworld country. It’s an absolute disgrace.” Cllr Bob Kilmister said: “The health board have not been listening to the people of Pembrokeshire, they have real concerns and I am still very concerned that the health board are not going to be honest with us.” Cllr Peter Stock added: “Everyone in Pembrokeshire is very disappointed. There have been seven changes – each one, we were told, was for the better. Is it? “There is a need to provide quality services here in Pembrokeshire.” Cllr Wynne Evans urged members to make sure they attend a meeting with the Board to express all their concerns. Cllr David Lloyd said: “We are joining the fight to save services a little late but better late than never. “We are proud of these people who went to the Senedd to protest, we need to keep on with this fight.” Cllr John Allen-Mirehouse said: “It is at least an hour from Angle to Glangwili. These are emergency services that are being cut. A cardiac unit is an emergency unit, a baby unit has emergencies. There is a feeling that Pembrokeshire people do not matter, but there are more people in the summer. We need to get together and talk very seriously.” Cllr Tony Brinsden said: “Change is inevitable but we need to see that he change is good for all the people in Pembrokeshire. “Cllr Anthony Brinsden told Full Council: “The health board has been so economical with the truth that I don’t think that I will be hauled over the coals for saying they have been telling us absolute lies. I sincerely hope that the new chairman will listen to us.” Cllr Stephen Joseph added: “It is absolutely ludicrous that we may not have a hospital, we need to fight this a lot harder.” Cllr Mike James said: “People in the north of Pembrokeshire have been waiting for a hospital in Cardigan for many years. We were told one would be by 2015. To take services further away could be a disaster. To loud applause, Cllr Reg Owens added: “We must remember that this is a criticism of the Health board and we should give credit to the front line staff.”

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Scheme to enhance the town of Tregaron for the National Eisteddfod

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THE REGENERATING Rural Towns scheme run by the Cynnal y Cardi LEADER programme has been supporting Tregaron Town Council with a series of marketing techniques and installations to promote and enhance Tregaron in preparation for the historic and cultural event, the National Eisteddfod of Wales 2022.

This work acted as a legacy to the National Eisteddfod at Tregaron following the influx of thousands of people to the town daily for the duration of the festival and subsequently to the surrounding rural communities and local sites of interest.

A wide range of installations could be seen in Tregaron during the Eisteddfod following town branding design work, which included a giant deckchair, lamp post flags, banners, bunting, tiered flower planters, benches & picnic tables, monument conservation improvements, and a prominent Tregaron sign overlooking the ‘Maes’. Many of these features will remain in place for the summer months and can be utilised by the town in the future. Further town development work is due to commence to maintain and enhance the attractiveness and vibrancy of the town.

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New Quay RNLI assists boy with broken ankle

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LAST week New Quay RNLI volunteers had a busy week with two training sessions, two call outs and crew attending a local agricultural show in Caerwedros.

With the inshore lifeboat training on Wednesday night and the all-weather lifeboat training on Thursday night, the crew then proceeded to launch on service twice over the weekend.

On Saturday 6 August at 5.50pm New Quay RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was tasked by HM Coastguard to provide first aid and assist the local New Quay Coastguard team with a medical evacuation on Traeth Gwyn, New Quay.

Huw Williams, one of New Quay RNLI’s helm said, “Unfortunately one of our crew members’ son had injured his ankle while playing on Traeth Gwyn. He urgently needed medical care but unfortunately there was a long wait for an ambulance. We arrived quickly on scene and administered pain relief. The casualty was in a lot of pain and we assisted the local Coastguard team to carry the casualty off the beach, up the steep path to their car.”

Father of the injured boy, Wayne Slawson added, “We would like to say a huge thank to everyone involved in this on Saturday and to both organisations as a whole, the level of service you all provide is first class.

“Our son is doing ok, following a few tough days in and out of hospital. He had to have a scan to determine whether or not he needed an operation as he had fractured his growth plate in his ankle. Luckily, they were able to manipulate the ankle into position while in theatre and now he has a full leg plaster. We can’t thank you all enough.”

The second callout was late on Sunday night at 11.50pm when New Quay RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was tasked by HM Coastguard to assist Dyfed Powys Police in searching for a missing person.

Pete Yates, one of New Quay RNLI’s helm said, “After a thorough search of New Quay bay in glass calm conditions, and with nothing found, we were stood down and back at station by 1.30am. Another great example of our emergency services working together with the local Coastguard Rescue Team and police officers involved.”

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager said, “We have been busy over the past few months keeping up with training and with many launches on service. Remember if you see anyone in trouble in the sea on the coast call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. Our volunteers are on call 24/7 to help.”

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Possible super-hospital plans released as Pembrokeshire site ruled out

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HYWEL Dda Health Board have reduced the number of potential sites for the new “super-hospital” in West Wales from five to three. 

The new site has been narrowed down to two possible locations in Whitland or one in St Clears.

According to the plans provided in Hywel Dda’s technical appraisal reports, all sites will include a main building divided into planned and urgent care, as well as a separate facility for mental health services. Parking, administrative facilities, and a helipad are also planned.

Site 12 in Whitland
Travel time analysis for population to site 12

The potential Narberth site is no longer being considered, meaning that the new hospital would be built outside of Pembrokeshire.

Hywel Dda presented the findings of a “transport infrastructure analysis,” stating that both sites had bus services that are “infrequent” and “short,” making shift work difficult.

Plan for ‘site C’ in Whitland
Travel time analysis for population to ‘site C’

For Whitland, it noted that there was an approximate 750m walking distance from the train station to the hospital site, with recommended walking distance of 400m, and that local roads do ‘not appear’ to suffer from significant congestion during a typical weekday. 

In St Clears, the report highlighted the impact a planned new railway station – expected to open in 2024 – could have on the town, saying it would be a ‘major boost’ to the area providing viable alternative car travel, with it being understood there is a commitment to increase the frequency of services at some stations along the west Wales line from two hourly to hourly.

Plans for ‘site 17’ in St Clears
Travel time analysis for population ‘site 17’ in St Clears

After it was announced that Narberth would not be the site of the new hospital, Hywel Dda University Health Board Chair, Maria Battle, assured the residents of Pembrokeshire that their concerns would be taken into account.

“Our programme business case to the Welsh Government is seeking the greatest investment west Wales will have ever seen,” said Ms Battle.

Ambulance times to Whitland, Bronglais Hospital and Morriston Hospital (Welsh Ambulance Service travel time analysis June 2022)
Ambulance times to St Clears, Bronglais Hospital and Morriston Hospital (Welsh Ambulance Service travel time analysis June 2022)

“We have listened to and continue to listen to the fears and voices of the public we serve and our staff who understand the frontline challenges of trying to deliver services across so many sites and spread so thinly.

“Recognising the fragility of our services and the risk this poses every day, we do not intend to make changes at Glangwili or Withybush hospitals before a new hospital is built. And afterwards, they will continue to provide valuable health services to our communities.”

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