Connect with us


Pressures on hospitals compared to ‘Third World Nation’



THE PRESSURE on healthcare in west Wales continues with the absence of out-of-hours GP care in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire last weekend, with Pembrokeshire County Councillor Michael Williams comparing the situation to that of a ‘Second or Third World Nation’.

The lack of out-of-hours care has become a reoccurring issue in recent weeks, with an apology from Hywel Dda University Health Board in March over a similar incident, where patients in Llanelli’s Prince Philip Hospital, Carmarthen’s Glangwili Hospital, Haverfordwest’s Withybush Hospital, as well as Llandysul, were left without GP care out-of-hours. The four centres were said to be dealing with an ‘acute GP shortage’.

At the time the Health Board came out and said that they are working to resolve the problem, with the Chief Executive Steve Moore saying on March 26: “We can continue to provide services that are safe and robust for our local communities. On behalf of the health board I would again like to apologise for any concern or inconvenience caused due to ongoing staffing issues in the out-of-hours GP service.”

Last weekend people were advised to attend minor injuries units if possible, yet the facility in Tenby was closed over the weekend, leaving the A&E of Withybush or Glangwili the only option for many, flooding an already stretched service.

Councillor Williams, of Plaid Cymru, had a six and a half hour wait at Withybush last Friday night (Apr 6), and speaking on Saturday (Apr 7), he told us: “I dread to think how they will cope on a Saturday night. Tenby surgery yesterday had no one available to see patients. One person’s response was ‘If there is nobody here why not close’. In North Eastern Romania, ten miles from Ukraine, two years ago we saw a GP immediately free of charge. Which is the Second World Nation?”

The thinly stretched resources and stress on healthcare in west Wales has led to the Health Board suggesting a number of options in shaking up the region’s healthcare, which serves 384,000 people.

A document was leaked in January, which detailed nine alternatives to the current service, with the closures of hospitals in seven of them. All of the options centred on a system of community hubs with beds,  with five scenarios closing Withybush, and two keeping all present hospitals open but centralising urgent care on either Withybush or Glangwili.

One option suggests an entirely new, urgent and planned care hospital in an unspecified location to replace Withybush, Glangwili and the Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli, whilst none of the scenarios suggest closing Bronglais in Aberystwyth.


Food assembly reaches fruition



MORE and more people in Carmarthen are ditching the supermarket trolley and buying fresh food directly from local producers.

The Carmarthen Food Assembly – an online platform that allows a direct link between customers and producers – continues to grow from strength to strength, helping people have more control about what ends up on their plates whilst supporting local businesses.

This week the assembly celebrated its first anniversary, and now boasts 700 customers and 20 producers, with fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy and baked goods sold and collected weekly.

Customers order their goods through an online platform, giving producers special requests if required, before picking it up on collection day at Carmarthen’s Xcel in Johnstown, or The Warren in Mansel Street.

As well as supporting the local economy the assembly also has health and environmental benefits – customers can find out exactly what has gone into their food, and carbon footprint is also reduced with food travelling an average distance of 28 miles to the pick-up point compared to around 600 miles to a supermarket.

It also reduces waste as nothing gets picked or baked unless it is ordered.

Organiser Carrie Laxton is a retired GP who saw the benefits of a food assembly and decided to set one up in Carmarthen, with the support of Carmarthenshire County Council.

“Local producers are struggling to make a living, and this is an ideal way of supporting them,” she said.

“We have anywhere between 12 and 18 producers most weeks who set up a mini-market at our collection points to meet their customers and hand over the pre-ordered goods. It makes good local food more accessible to local people as well as supporting local producers.”

Cllr Cefin Campbell, Carmarthenshire County Council’s executive board member for rural affairs, said: “This is a fantastic way to support the local economy and local producers. Rural industries continue to struggle but as consumers become more conscious of what they eat we hope that they will return back to the more traditional shopping route which is to buy from local farmers, bakers and butchers.

“The food assembly helps link customers and producers and bringing in the modern element of online orders it is working well for a growing number of people.”

Anyone can register to become a customer of the food assembly, and food producers in around the Carmarthen area are encouraged to find out how they can become involved.

Find information at

Continue Reading


Man arrested on suspicion of murder



POLICE are continuing with their thorough enquiries in the search for 28-year-old Hollie Kerrell, who is missing from Knighton.

She was last seen at her home address in Knighton on Sunday, April 22, at around 10am. No one has heard from her since.

An incident room has been set up in Llandrindod Wells police station, and enquiries have led to the arrest of a 35-year-old man on suspicion of murder. He is currently in police custody.

Superintendent Jon Cummins said: “Although there has been a significant development in this investigation in respect of an arrest taking place, we still need the help of the public in this enquiry.

“We’re appealing to anyone with any information or sightings of Hollie from 5pm on Saturday, April 21st onwards to contact us as a matter of urgency. She is described as being 5’5”, medium build with dark brown hair and blue eyes. She was wearing a black skirt and long black cardigan when last seen.

“Please, if you have any information contact us by calling 101.”

If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908, quoting Ref: 138 of April 23.

Continue Reading


Police issue security advice to businesses following attempted burglary



DYFED-POWYS POLICE is urging businesses to consider increased security measures following an attempted burglary at a business in Dyffryn Road, Ammanford.

Two people were seen attempting to gain access to a unit at around 7.20pm on April 9.

Following on from the incident, Ammanford police have offered the following advice to business owners in the area.

​PC Elinor Rees said: “We would advise all businesses to look at their current security measures and consider if they are robust enough to prevent crime.

“We recommend investing in CCTV cameras covering all buildings and grounds around your premises, and ensure the relevant staff are aware of how to download footage in the event it is needed.

“If you need further information on protecting your business, please contact your local neighbourhood policing team by calling 101.”

Continue Reading