HYWEL 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’.
Council recognised for its work on domestic violence
CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has once again been recognised for its work to combat domestic abuse.
It has achieved the White Ribbon UK accredited status for the second time running and departments will continue to work to raise awareness around domestic abuse and to contribute to ending male violence against women.
In the last year nearly 2,880 people in Carmarthenshire reported as being a victim of domestic abuse.
The White Ribbon campaign is a global initiative that encourages people, especially men and boys, to individually and collectively take action and change the behaviour and culture that leads to abuse and violence.
Domestic abuse affects both sexes with the largest number of violent incidents involving men against women.
To show its commitment County Hall in Carmarthen will be lit up in purple on White Ribbon Day on November 25 and the White Ribbon flags will be flying in council buildings at Llanelli and Ammanford.
A message will also be printed on staff payslips signposting them to support channels.
Carmarthenshire County Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Rural Affairs and Chair of the Safer Communities Partnership, Cllr Ann Davies, said:
“I am pleased that we were again successful in receiving accreditation from the campaign and recognising the work we have done and also plan to do going forward as part of our commitment to ending domestic violence. The figures in the last 12 months are still too high and that is those that have come forward to seek support. The pandemic has seen a significant rise in the number of referrals so it is vital that we do whatever we can to encourage people not to remain silent and speak out and seek support.”
Support and advice for anyone affected by domestic abuse is available by calling Live Fear Free on 0808 80 10 800.
For local advice you can contact Threshold (Llanelli) on 01554 752 422; Calan DVS (Ammanford) on 01269 597 474 Carmarthen Domestic Abuse Service (CarmDAS) on 01267 238 410 who provide support to both men and women 9am-5pm.
More information on the campaign can be found on the White Ribbon website
Let’s get digital – Ceredigital
A NEW section, ‘Ceredigital’ dedicated to digital services, is now available on Ceredigion County Council’s website.
Ceredigital aims to provide clear information upon how digital technology can be used to support business growth, the economy, the quality of life for residents, tourism and the environment.
It covers a range of work and projects that the Council is currently involved with to improve the provision of digital technology across the county.
Information on the following services is included in the new section:
- Digital Skills
- Public Wi-Fi
It also includes information on the creation of a LoRaWAN network that the Council has been creating across the county which will accelerate the ‘Internet of Things’ innovation within the region; an open network used to improve business efficiencies.
Councillor Clive Davies, Digital Champion for Ceredigion County Council said: “Having access to affordable and reliable high-speed broadband and mobile connectivity has quickly become essential for everyone. The last two years have seen more people working from home than ever before, and the only way many of us have kept in contact with friends and family is through online catch-ups. It can be confusing and time consuming when you have connectivity issues and don’t know what support is out there.
“I’m very happy to announce that this new section is available. This resource can assist residents and businesses in finding out how to improve connectivity, funding that is available to do this, brushing up on digital skills, as well as providing details upon fixed and wireless projects that are currently being undertaken with Ceredigion.
With a county-wide LoRaWAN Internet of Things network, the largest in Wales, now is the time to focus on data innovation. This is no longer the gift of large organisations, or so called “Smart Cities”, we have the solid foundations of a rural smart network available right now, that can enable data driven decision making to take place right here in Ceredigion, enabling efficiency savings, and new product offering and opportunities as we recover from COVID-19”.
So, if you or your business is not reaching its digital potential for one reason or other, head over to Ceredigital to see what options are available to you right now.”
The new Ceredigital section can be found here: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/business/ceredigital.
Helping you to make a difference in your community
THE CYNNAL y Cardi Local Action Group is launching a new Grant Fund, as part of the Cynnal y Cardi LEADER scheme, which will support small scale LEADER activity in Ceredigion.
The fund will provide small-scale financial revenue to support pilot projects, feasibility studies, facilitation, networking activities and training and mentoring ideas. Applications are welcomed from organisations in the third, public and private sectors. They must meet the criteria and priorities of the Local Action Group.
The Grant Fund will focus on the following priorities from the Cynnal y Cardi Local Development Strategy:
- supporting activity with the aim of strengthening opportunities for developing Ceredigion’s circular economy
- supporting early intervention for the development of pre-commercial activity with the aim of developing entrepreneurial activity
- strengthening community resilience activity with a focus on the role of Town and Community Councils in supporting and engaging with their communities
- developing opportunities for re-engaging people and reinvigorating community activity following COVID-19 and piloting innovative uses for community facilities
The Cynnal y Cardi LEADER Grant Fund, which is administered by Ceredigion County Council, is supported through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.
Councillor Rhodri Evans, Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Economy and Regeneration, said: “We understand that COVID-19 has made the past two years a tough time for the county, and in light of the pandemic, the priorities for Ceredigion’s Local Development Strategy have been reviewed in September 2020. This new grant scheme provides opportunities for us to tackle the issues and build on the opportunities following COVID-19 within our communities in order to strengthen our resilience. I urge you to take full advantage of this opportunity.”
The first closing date for submitting your applications is 17 January 2022. Submissions are welcome in Welsh or English. You will need to discuss your ideas with the team. Contact the team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.cynnalycardi.org.uk for more information.
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