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Health Board ‘working hard’ to fill GP gaps

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HYWEL DDA UHB has announced that it has managed to fill gaps in the rota for the out of hours GP service at Prince Philip Hospital, meaning that the service will be available this weekend.

However, at the time of writing, the board has not been able to staff the Friday night out of hours service at Glangwili Hospital.

Yesterday (Mar 8) it emerged that following last Sunday’s closure of the Prince Philip out of hours service Hywel Dda UHB was unable to staff the evening service on Thursday or Friday night.

Llanelli MP Nia Griffith described the situation as ‘completely unacceptable’.

“To make matters worse, the Health Board have not yet been able to staff the Friday evening shift at Glangwili Hospital. So even those Llanelli residents who are able to travel to Carmarthen to get urgent care may find themselves with nowhere to turn tomorrow night. In any case, no-one should be having to take a sick relative all the way to Carmarthen or Swansea.

“Shortly afterwards, Hywel Dda UHB released an updated statement, which said that the health board was ‘finding it increasingly difficult’ to staff rotas.

“While there remain gaps in the Out of Hours rota the only site that currently doesn’t have cover is Glangwili Hospital on Friday evening,” they added.

“The situation is changing quickly and an update will be provided on Friday afternoon 09.3.18 – please keep an eye on our website for further details. Regardless of rotas anyone in Carmarthenshire who is unwell and needs to see a GP should call 111.”

“I have written to the Chief Executive of Hywel Dda demanding a meeting and an explanation for why this has been allowed to happen. It is vital that we keep the out-of-hours GP service open in Llanelli, so I will be pressing the Health Board to explain how it plans to prevent further temporary closures and ensure a long-term future for the service.”

Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Operations Joe Teape said: “I would like to apologise for any concern or inconvenience caused due to ongoing staffing issues in the Out of Hours GP service. This is currently a familiar trend among other health boards across the country. We know that all of our staff and GPs are working really hard to provide safe services for our patients and we appreciate this. We are working together across the whole health board area and across different services to provide a safety net for our patients.

“The public’s health is our number one priority and although we sometimes cannot achieve everything that we want to achieve, we are doing our utmost to ensure that we can continue to provide services that are safe and robust for our local communities.”

In the instance of rotas not being filled, Hywel Dda UHB advised that other health care services such as minor injury units, 111 and community pharmacy, continue to be available. If after a telephone based GP assessment has been completed and someone needs to see a GP face to face they could be asked to travel to a neighbouring county within the Hywel Dda region to see the nearest available GP (the nearest available GP which may be Glangwili or Prince Philip Hospital if one of the rotas can be filled, or Withybush General Hospital, Haverfordwest, or their nearest alternative GP as instructed by 111 operators).

Following the updated statement, Lee Waters AM said he had received ‘a detailed briefing’ on the efforts made by
the health board to fill the gaps in the rota.

“With some their regular GPs away and one off sick they are really struggling to find enough Doctors provide cover, and they are having problems in Glangwili too,” he added.

“Nobody thinks this is good enough.

“The Chief Executive assures me he thinks things should be back to normal by the end of the month but they are expecting some problems in the meantime.

“This is not only a problem in our health board but right across the UK at the moment. The NHS is under enormous strain.

“We can help by using the pharmacy, NHS Direct and the 111 phone service.

“And the Health Board needs to do more to actively recruit more GPs from across the area to help out in out of hours.

If you live in Carmarthenshire and are unwell out of hours during the evenings and weekend you can do a number of things:
• for health information and advice, including online symptom checkers, please visit NHS Direct Wales: www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk
• call 111 – they can help to signpost you to the right service, for example a GP, nurse, pharmacist or Minor Injury Unit, they also provide health information on a wide range of conditions for self care if appropriate
• use your community pharmacy, some of these have enhanced services like ‘triage and treat’ for treatment of minor conditions, including Burry Port Pharmacy
• for a minor injury, you can visit Prince Philip Hospital’s Minor Injury Unit, which is open 24/7
• ONLY in an emergency for serious or life-threatening conditions should you dial 999

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3,000 Welsh landlords still unregistered

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JANET FINCH-SAUNDERS AM has called on the Welsh Government to urgently work to improve landlord registration under Rent Smart Wales, as estimates released indicate around 3,000 remain unregistered.

Ms Finch-Saunders said: “Rent Smart Wales estimates that still 3,000 landlords are unregistered here in Wales.

“Whilst that makes up a small percentage of our total landlords, it is most concerning for those living in properties leased to them by those who have not yet registered.

“The Welsh Government has confirmed that a landlord who is not registered with Rent Smart Wales is unable to serve a valid Section 21 eviction notice – so where unregistered landlords do indicate that they want tenants to vacate a property, this is not recognised by local housing associations, which can cause stress to tenants who may not be aware of their full rights under the law.

“By focusing on ensuring that all landlords are properly registered, the Welsh Government can alleviate such concerns, and I will be urging the Cabinet Secretary to act to ensure all landlords are abiding by this legislation in full.”

The Minister for Housing and Regeneration told Ms Finch-Saunders that the latest figures released by Rent Smart Wales show that 90,812 landlords are now registered. Rent Smart Wales’ latest estimate for the number of unregistered landlords is approximately 3,000.

This is based on the dwelling stock estimates recently published by StatsWales, and an estimation of the average number of properties owned by each landlord.

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Care home honour Armed Forces Day

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PLAS Y DDERWEN in Johnstown will be celebrating Armed Forces Day on Thursday, June 28, with a big brew up supporting SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity.

SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity, formerly known as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association, provides lifelong support to serving men and women and veterans from the British Armed Forces and their families. Armed Forces Day is a chance to show support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community.

Janet Williams, Activities Coordinator, said: “It is very important that we keep the memories of those who fought alive and that we also think about those involved in conflicts around the world today. We welcome anyone that wishes to attend and will have the chance to meet the team and look around the home.”

Plas Y Dderwen is part of Barchester Healthcare, one of the UK’s largest care providers, supporting older people living independent lives over the last 25 years.

Barchester services include residential care and nursing care as well as expert dementia care.

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Huge Brecha Forest West wind turbine project complete

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ALL 28 turbines at Brechfa Forest West Wind Farm are now operational and exporting renewable energy to the National Grid, Innogy Renewables UK Ltd has announced.

With an installed capacity of 57.4MW, Brechfa Forest West can generate enough renewable energy to meet the equivalent energy needs of approximately 38,800 average UK homes, which is almost half of all the households in Carmarthenshire.

Martin Kelly, innogy’s Project Director said: “The last turbines have now been commissioned. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the local community for their patience and support during the construction phase. We will now continue to work with Natural Resource Wales (NRW) to complete all remaining reinstatement activities.

“We are really proud of what has been achieved here as a team with NRW and our Contractors. With all turbine components safely delivered to site and lifted into place, over 20km of tracks within the forest created or upgraded and a new circular walk created to improve visitor’s experience; the construction has been an engineering success and all carried out safely with no lost time due to injury or incident.”

This announcement also marks the launch of the much-anticipated community benefit fund, worth £459,200 a year.

Following a competitive tender, innogy has selected Antur Teifi as the fund administrator and Severn Wye Energy Agency to provide community development support and maximise the benefits of the fund.

Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said: “I am delighted Brechfa Forest West Wind Farm is now operational. It is the most recent example of our approach to using Welsh Government estate to deliver benefits for Welsh people whilst at the same time decarbonising our energy system. I am pleased that the Community fund will be delivered alongside the leisure improvements the development has funded, which are benefiting the local community and future generations.”

Kevin Harrington, Business Development Manager from Antur Teifi said: “We are thrilled to have won this contract and excited by the huge potential and significant opportunities that the Brechfa Forest West Wind Farm Fund can deliver.

“The fund is now inviting applications for funding and for more information please visit our website: www.anturteifi.org.uk”

Onsite, construction and testing activities are drawing to an end. Reinstatement works will continue as well as the implementation of innogy’s habit management plan. innogy will continue to carry out these works in close working partnership with NRW and is delighted to have also recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work towards NRW’s vision of developing Energy Parks fit for our futures.

Gordon Baird, NRW’s Energy Delivery Programme Project Manager said: “This is an exciting moment for the Brechfa Forest Wind Farm Project.

“Our joined-up work with innogy on the NRW Managed Estate has demonstrated that together, we can deliver significant renewable energy and help to build a prosperous and sustainable future for Wales.

“And the recent signing of the MoU signals NRW’s intention to work with all developers who wish to use the Energy Park concept to develop Wales’ renewable energy profile.”

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