COUNCILLORS 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.”
Wales completes move to alert level 0
THE MOVE completes the Welsh Government’s phased lifting of the alert level 2 protections, which were put in place on Boxing Day to keep Wales safe as the omicron wave swept across the country.
Some important protections will remain in place at alert level 0, including mandatory face coverings in most indoor public places, including on public transport.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said the relaxation of protections was possible thanks to the hard work of everyone in Wales and the success of the vaccination programme – more than 1.8 million booster doses have been given.
And, since the start of December, more than 36,000 people have come forward to have their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “We have passed the peak of this omicron wave and there are encouraging signs that cases of coronavirus may be starting to stabilise. But we all need to continue taking steps to stay safe – unfortunately the pandemic is not over yet.
“We are moving to alert level 0 and we will retain some important protections, such as face coverings in most indoor public places and risk assessments.
“We can do this thanks to the hard work and efforts of everyone in Wales and the remarkable success of our vaccine and booster programmes. Thank you all.”
On Friday 28 January, Wales will complete the move to alert level 0. This means:
- Nightclubs can re-open.
- The general requirement of 2m social distancing in all premises open to the public and workplaces will be removed.
- The rule of six will no longer apply to gatherings in regulated premises, such as hospitality, cinemas and theatres.
- Licensed premises will no longer need to only provide table service and collect contact details. The Covid Pass will continue to be required to enter larger indoor events, nightclubs, cinemas, theatres and concert halls.
- Working from home will remain important but it will no longer be a legal requirement.
- Businesses, employers and other organisations must continue to undertake a specific coronavirus risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the spread of coronavirus, which may include 2m social distancing or controlled entry.
Face-covering rules, which apply on public transport and in most public indoor places will remain in force after 28 January, with the exception of hospitality settings such as restaurants, pubs, cafes and nightclubs.
Everyone must also continue to self-isolate if they test positive for coronavirus but the Welsh Government has reduced the self-isolation period from seven to 5 full days.
People are advised to take 2 negative lateral flow tests 24 hours apart on days 5 and 6. The self-isolation support scheme payment will return to the original rate of £500 for all those who are eligible.
The next 3-weekly review of the coronavirus regulations will be carried out by 10 February, when all the measures at alert level 0 will be reviewed.
Appeal to get Pilgrim sculpture back on its feet nearing target
A FUNDRAISING appeal to raise £7,500 to re-erect a sculpture of a pilgrim on the hilltop above the ruins of the famous Strata Florida Abbey in the Cambrian Mountains is within £700 of hitting its target.
The Pilgrim, or Y Pererin in the Welsh language, was created by artist Glenn Morris and erected on Penlan, the hill overlooking Strata Florida Abbey, near Pontrhydfendigaid, in 2012.
Sadly, the sculpture collapsed in high winds in 2019 and now lays forlorn on the hilltop, located between Devil’s Bridge and Tregaron.
This sculpture, created as part of a temporary exhibition, has become a popular and iconic part of the Welsh landscape, with strong connections to Welsh culture, language and identity.
Following its collapse, the sculpture is now missing from the skyline of Strata Florida and the fundraising appeal aims to rebuild a new stronger, permanent Pilgrim to stand the tests of time.
Planning permission for the new sculpture has already been secured and Glenn Morris is eager to begin the project.
The World Monuments Fund has offered to provide match funding if the community raises £7,500 by February 3. Anyone wishing to contribute to the fundraising target can donate online at https://localgiving.org/appeal/pilgrim/ .
An extra fundraising event for the Pilgrim appeal is being held on February 18. A 3.5 mile walk along a mixture of logging roads, farmlands and through ancient forest to reach the 12th century Cistercian abbey ruins of Strata Florida will be followed by a guided exhibition tour and Welsh tea.
This pilgrimage will be led by Guided Pilgrimage, a not-for-profit company providing a range of Celtic pilgrimage experiences in West Wales.
Strata Florida was a thriving community 900 years ago. Today, the conserved ruins of the old abbey church and part of the cloisters are in the care of Cadw, the Welsh Government’s heritage agency, and can be visited by the public from Easter to late autumn.
The remains are only a small fraction of what was once a much larger abbey, stretching over an area of 126 acres where the rest survives below ground as a well-preserved archaeology.
Denial of Wales-specific Covid inquiry ‘no longer tenable’ say Welsh Conservatives
THE WELSH CONSERVATIVES have reiterated their call for an inquiry that focuses exclusively on the actions of the Welsh Government in tackling coronavirus in a letter to the First Minister.
It was prompted after it was revealed that the Welsh Government have been aware that NHS Wales was not prepared for an airborne virus as far back as 2004, following the SARS outbreak. Despite committing to an audit and allocation to rectify the lack of isolation facilities, this did not materialise.
The letter from Andrew RT Davies MS, which states “decision made in Wales should be scrutinised in Wales” follows a weekend when Mark Drakeford was keen to highlight that his government had “always taken a different approach in Wales [compared to the British Government], one that does things step-by-step”.
In the letter, the Welsh Conservatives leader questions why, despite him stressing divergences in the approach to coronavirus, the First Minister still feels it “inappropriate to separate” from the British Government “when the time comes for accountability”.
The Labour Government policy is for its actions to be included in the UK-wide inquiry that will chiefly investigate the actions of the Conservative Government. There will be a Scotland-specific inquiry after Nicola Sturgeon commissioned one.
Joining the Welsh Conservatives in their calls for a Wales-specific inquiry are the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Group, the British Lung Foundation, Medics 4 Mask Up Wales, the Institute for Welsh Affairs, and Plaid Cymru.
Commenting on the letter, Andrew RT Davies MS said: “The position of exercising wide-ranging emergency powers that curtailed the liberty and closed the economy of the Welsh people but avoiding accountability through an inquiry that focusses on how those decisions were made is no longer tenable.
“Under Mark Drakeford, Wales has experienced the highest Covid death-rate of UK nations, seen its children lose more time for learning than anywhere else in the country, and imposed economically cruel and clinically unnecessary restrictions in an overzealous attempt to tackle the Omicron variant.
“We, along with bereaved families and medical groups, believe that the decisions that led to these outcomes need to be put under the spotlight, not hidden in the shadow of an inquiry that will inevitably focus on the British Government.
“Indeed, if Mark Drakeford is so confident in the actions of his government, then why is he against having them examined in a Wales-specific inquiry? That is what people will be asking when British and Scottish leaders have ordered investigations into their own handling of the pandemic.
“As I say to the First Minister in my letter, it is not too late for him to change his mind and take this opportunity to do the right thing and order that inquiry.”
Popular This Week
Health5 days ago
‘Once in a lifetime bid’ for health and care investment in mid and west Wales
Education1 week ago
Half a million boost to Aberystwyth University’s new nursing education facilities
News4 days ago
Young People partner up with Arad Goch to create powerful short film on what it means to be a Young Carer
Health1 week ago
Same Day Urgent Care at Cardigan Integrated Care Centre
Community2 days ago
Appeal to get Pilgrim sculpture back on its feet nearing target
News1 week ago
Financial support for businesses impacted by coronavirus restrictions
Business1 week ago
Applications open for emergency financial support from Economic Resilience Fund
Community4 days ago
Ceredigion County Council to mark Holocaust Memorial Day