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Questions remain about Glangwili’s £25m funding

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THE WELSH GOVERNMENT has announced its approval of £25m of funding for upgraded neonatal care at Glangwili Hospital, only a week before the Board is due to consult on radical changes to clinical services across west Wales.

The announcement was made during a visit to Glangwili by Cabinet Secretary for Health, Vaughan Gething.

Speaking during the visit, the Cabinet Secretary​ said: “I’m delighted to approve £25million Welsh Government funding for the further redevelopment of Glangwili Hospital’s obstetric and neonatal facilities.

“This funding will improve the clinical quality, safety and innovation at the site. It will mean better access to services for patients and their parents, as well as improving the well-being of staff. This investment will address the urgent areas of concern highlighted in the Royal Colleges’ report on maternity services in Hywel Dda Health Board.

“This should significantly improve the patient experience and accommodation for families and, as it is a larger unit, may also reduce the risk of families having to travel out of our area for care due to capacity reasons.”

Hywel Dda University Health Board Chief Executive, Steve Moore​,​ said: “We welcome this news as women, children and their families deserve to have better accommodation than we are currently able to offer at Glangwili Hospital. We hope this provides our population with confidence that we will now proceed with pace to make these improvements.”

“The £25m investment in obstetric and neonatal facilities at Glangwili, west Wales’ most central General Hospital, is obviously welcome news,” said Cllr Alun Lenny, Mayor of Carmarthen.

“As the maternity ward was declared ‘not fit for purpose’ by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health three years ago, providing mothers and babies with a safer birthing facility and specialist care is long overdue, if you’ll excuse the pun!

“However, some questions must be asked. Although Vaughan Gething refers to the well-being of staff, the Hywel Dda Health Board has a chronic recruitment problem and spends over £20m annually on agency staff. The Welsh Government must give an assurance that revenue funding will be provided to staff the new facility. There’s little point in investing millions of pounds if the unit can’t be staffed properly, or piles more financial pressure on the Health Board – already £70m overspent – if they have to employ more expensive agency staff.

“The timing of this announcement and the Health Secretary’s visit is rather curious, coming as it does a week before Hywel Dda Health Board announces its options for a “once in a lifetime” transformation of clinical care in west Wales. Central to the ‘leaked’ options are plans for a new hospital near the Carmarthenshire/Pembrokeshire border.

“How could that be justified when £25m is being invested at Glangwili? Carmarthen is central to west Wales and it makes sense to locate urgent clinical care here.

“On a different note, I’m sure that residents living near Glangwili Hospital, outpatients, visitors and motorists using the A484, will welcome the provision of 59 new car parking spaces, which should help alleviate the chronic parking situation at the hospital.”

The £25m investment at the hospital is a hangover from the last round of changes and cuts to clinical services, which saw consultant-led obstetric services stripped from Withybush Hospital, with assurances made that facilities at Glangwili were fit and ready to accept more patients.

Shortly after services were transferred, a report from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health stated that facilities at Glangwili were not up to the standard required of a modern consultant-led unit and that significant sums of money were required to bring them up to snuff, stating: ‘The Glangwili labour ward is not fit for purpose; it is too small, with insufficient facilities and provides a poor environment for women and staff.  The increased numbers of women using the unit, including those with high-risk pregnancies from Pembrokeshire has put additional pressure on the staff with two culturally very different teams learning to work together in cramped and difficult conditions.’

The Board accepted the Royal College’s recommendations and – due to the requirements of making out a business case to the Welsh Government – it has taken two years to secure funding to carry out the work recommended in September 2015 to deal with the fall out of the last reorganisation. That business plan predated the Board’s current and ongoing intention to reorganise west Wales’ healthcare in what is widely being trailed as ‘once in a generation’ change.

Work is expected to start before the autumn and the aim is for the scheme to be complete by 2020, by which time the future of service provision should be decided. It appears that investing £25m at Glangwili in these circumstances would be unlikely to proceed to completion of the project.

We asked the Welsh Government whether or not the £25m investment was certain to proceed, but did not get a reply to our enquiry.

We put the same point to the Health Board, who told us: “We note there has been concern that the delivery of this capital project may be adversely affected by our forthcoming consultation on the future of health services in the Hywel Dda University Health Board area which, subject to Board decision, is due to launch on Thursday, April 19.

“We would like to reassure our population that our business of providing healthcare to the very best of our abilities continues – this is the right thing to do and what our patients deserve and should rightly expect from the NHS.

“We cannot pre-judge what the outcomes of our proposed consultation may be, and even if there is change to Glangwili OR Withybush Hospital in the future, this may be several years ahead. We continually evolve and improve our services, responding to advances in medicine and technology, and this will continue.”

Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire AM Angela Burns, the Conservative’s Shadow Health Secretary, said: “Only in January the Cabinet Secretary announced £1.2m for the Board to put together a business case for further improvements to the neonatal and maternity services at Glangwili. The business case is supposed to go out for public consultation and is expected to be received by the Welsh Government this summer.

“This – very welcome – £25m is to make headway on the promise made by the Welsh Government years ago that the sacrifice of the Haverfordwest SCBU would result in a level two Special Care Baby Unit and provide better maternity facilities at Glangwili.

“It’s about time, but I have to wonder whether this is just easing the way for potential further radical changes and whether the money will still head to Glangwili if the reconfiguration proposals pull services away from the hospital.”

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Newcastle Emlyn: Gay IT consultant convicted of stalking

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A GAY information technology consultant from Newcastle Emlyn has been convicted today of stalking an 18 year old youth causing him harassment.

Christopher Jay Hardy, aged 35, landed himself in more trouble when it was discovered that he had been recording on his mobile telephone virtually his entire trial at Swansea Crown Court.
Hardy, of Penlon, Pentrecagal, had denied the charge.
The jury had heard how Hardy had met the youth when he worked at a garage.
The youth told the jury how he quit his job to escape Hardy’s unwanted attentions.
But Hardy tracked him down to his home in Pencader, left unwanted gifts and letters on his car and repeatedly visited his home despite being told to stay away by his parents.
Hardy continued to try and contact the youth even after police had arrested him and at one stage attended his home pretending to be canvassing for the Labour Party.
The youth said he was not gay and had been “freaked out” by Hardy’s pursuit of him.
Hardy admitted he had become infatuated with the youth and said he believed he was under pressure from his family to pretend he was straight.
After the jury returned a unanimous verdict of guilty Judge Paul Thomas told Hardy, who represented himself, he was “deluded” and briefly sent him into custody because he refused to shut up and listen.
He was made to delete the audio files in front of a police officer.
Hardy will be sentenced after reports have been prepared by a psychiatrist and a probation officer and was granted bail until then.
Judge Thomas described him as an “obsessive individual” and warned him that all sentencing options would be open to the court.
He issued a restraining order preventing Hardy from contact in the youth or his parents by any means.
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Carer accused of ill-treatment of a patient

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A CARER from Carmarthen is to stand trial accused of ill-treating a patient.

Joaquím Moreira, aged 47, appeared before Judge Geraint Walters at Swansea Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing.

Moreira, of Water Street, is accused of ill trill-treatment having the care of a person lacking the capacity to look after himself.

Moreira is also accused of assaulting the man by beating.

He denied both accusations.

Moreira will stand trial on March 19 and was granted bail until then.

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Popular inn sold to local businessman

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THE SALE of The Nag’s Head Inn, the riverside pub situated in North Pembrokeshire, to a local businessman was recently completed by business property advisers Christie & Co.

Situated on the banks of the Afon Cych, close to the Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion borders, The Nag’s Head occupies a substantial stone-built property, which was sympathetically extended in the 1980s and recently refurbished by the previous owners in 2017 to provide a spacious and welcoming interior, with flagstone floors, wood burning stoves and beamed ceilings.

The pub comprises four trading areas across the ground floor, including a main bar, a cosy snug and extensive dining areas, and a beer garden, which provides stunning views over the river. Additionally, the property benefits from three en suite guest bedrooms and three bedroom owner’s accommodation on the first floor.

Over the years, the previous owner has grown and developed a strong local and regional reputation for The Nag’s Head, which was selected as one of the ‘Top 10 UK Riverside Pubs’ in The Guardian in June 2017 and has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor, while also maintaining a 4.5 rating and excellent reviews on the review website.

Following three years of ownership, previous owner, Mr Miller has decided to sell The Nag’s Head to move onto new business ventures. He said: “We have enjoyed our time at the property and have invested a lot of time and effort in to turning the business around and are looking forward to focusing on our other business interests.”

New owner, Mr Dewi Davies, who also owns the nearby award-winning holiday complex, Clydey Cottages, is looking forward to taking over the reins of The Nag’s Head and putting his own stamp on the business. Mr Davies commented: “I am delighted to be taking over the Nag’s Head from Steve and Tracy Miller. They have done a marvellous job over the past two years, building the reputation both locally and nationally, and we have inherited a great team. For the time being, it’s business as usual for the festive season and we are all excited about the future for the Nag’s Head.”

Corrina Jones, Senior Business Agent at Christie & Co’s Cardiff office, handled the sale and said: “The Nag’s Head Inn is a well maintained public house with a warm and inviting atmosphere. I would like to wish Mr Miller all the best with his new business ventures. I look forward to seeing the business go from strength to strength under the new ownership of Mr Davies and wish him all the best for the future.

“The market remains strong for well established businesses in South Wales. 2018 has proven to be one of our busiest years in relation to completions within the region, and we are seeing no slowdown in the market to date.”

The Nag’s Head was sold off a guide price of £495,000 for the freehold interest.

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