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.
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London Bridge hero calls for Carmarthen’s bravest to be nominated
THE HERO of London Bridge who was stabbed nine times as he fought off three terrorists armed with just a police baton has called on Carmarthen people to nominate an unsung hero of their own.
And British Transport Police Officer Wayne Marques said bravery and courage should be recognised because it is inspiring and encouraging to others.
He said: “Every tragedy has a silver lining and it is up to us to make sure that silver shines.”
Wayne, 39, who won the Against All Odds category in last year’s global hearing specialists Amplifon’s Brave Britons awards, was on patrol in the area of London Bridge Station when he heard screams on the evening of June 3 last year and then he saw people being stabbed in Borough High Street near the junction with London Bridge Street.
He charged at one of the terrorists lashing out with his baton. But soon he was being attacked by all three terrorists one stabbing him above his right eye which cause him to go temporarily blind in the eye.
More than 12 months on and Wayne still travels from his South London home to Harrogate, Yorkshire, where he receives rehabilitation treatment.
Seven people died in the attack and many more were badly injured.
Now Wayne is calling on people who know of acts of courage or bravery to nominate them for this year’s Amplifon – who have a store in Merlins Walk Shopping Centre, Carmarthen – Brave Briton awards.
He said: “I first felt surprised and then humble when I was nominated by a person I didn’t even know. The fact they had taken their time to fill in a form and nominate me made me feel very honoured. It would have been wrong for me to respond in any other way.”
Wayne added: “We need more people honoured in the way I was because there are a lot of people out there who go beyond what is expected of them for the sake of others.
“Even uniformed services personnel who do a job where they are expected to sometimes face danger go beyond that expectation and react to the highest magnitude.
“To nominate others and put them in the limelight is so inspiring and encouraging to others in their communities and around the country.
“Through adversity we as a nation tend to pull together. How we rally together makes this country great.”
There are six categories in the Amplifon Brave Britons awards: Against All Odds, Young Hero, Service To Their Country, Active Agers, Hero Pet, and Charity Champion.
Anyone who wishes to nominate a hero in any of the categories should visit http://www.amplifon.com
Finalists will be invited to an awards ceremony to be held at the Army and Navy Club, Pall Mall, London, on Tuesday, October 16.
A panel of judges including Falklands hero Simon Weston will also choose an overall Hero from the category winners who will win a trip to Italy.
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