LATEST figures show that 73,590 people in Carmarthenshire have registered to opt-in on the organ donation register, less than half of the county’s population.
Ahead of the Westfield Health British Transplant Games, which are coming to Newport on 25 – 28 July, the Welsh Government is touring the country visiting St Catherine’s Walk in Carmarthen on Tuesday, 16, July encouraging people to register their decision there and then.
The Games, which are being hosted by Newport for the first time, are a celebration of organ donation highlighting the health, fitness and wellbeing of recipients who wouldn’t have been able to compete without the kindness of donors and their families, who have given the gift of life.
This year sees the highest number of Welsh athletes competing in the games, with Team Wales boasting 48 athletes, compared to the 10 Welsh participants who competed last year at the event, which was held in Birmingham.
Specialist nurses in organ donation, surgeons, specialists and charity volunteers will be taking a giant ‘Operation Donation’ game to towns and cities across Wales to educate people on the history and benefits of organ donation in Wales and exactly how to become a donor.
The tour will finish at Friar’s Walk, Newport on Friday 19 July where the team will officially open the Organ Donation Wales hub, which will be open to the public all week with educational games, exhibitions and stories of recipients and donors.
Within 18 months, Sophie Washington was admitted to hospital as an emergency 187 times. But a pioneering pancreas transplant saved her life.
Six years on, Sophie, now 23 and from Llandeilo, is gearing up for the 2019 Westfield Health British Transplant Games in Newport (25-28 July).
At the age of nine, she was diagnosed with diabetes, but it soon became obvious that it was not a typical case as her body was developing antibodies to insulin.
When she was 15, she was the only person in the UK living on an intravenous insulin infusion 24 hours a day, seven days a week at home – a situation she lived with for 18 months. Hospital stays also became the norm and nurses were required at home to support her family in caring for her overnight.
She joined the transplant waiting list in 2012 and 18 months later, the call came.
Sophie said: “I wouldn’t be alive today without my donor and their family giving their consent. It gave me the time in which new technology and new treatments have caught up to where I need them to be.
With remarkable determination, Sophie is now planning to represent Wales in archery, table tennis and swimming:
“It will be such an incredible experience to see so many people in one place in a celebration of life.”
The Newport event will see almost 1000 participants – some as young as three – taking part in 23 sports and events across the city. Each of them, including Sophie, have had lifesaving transplants.
The aim of the Games – organised on behalf of charity, Transplant Sport, is to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation. Wales was the first to introduce a soft opt-out system of the organ donor register. However, the decision on organ donation is still made by loved ones. That’s why organisers are keen to spread the word that you need to make your decisions – whatever they may be – known to your family.
Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said: “We have seen a huge increase in consent rates here in Wales, with the overall consent rate now at 77%, the highest in the UK.
“We’ve seen increases in both the number of organ donors and transplants so it is fitting that a Welsh city is hosting the British Transplant Games 2019.
“As well as celebrating the fantastic sporting achievements, by bringing the games to Newport it gives us another opportunity to talk about organ donation and we’re looking forward to sharing the message even further at the games itself and also with local shoppers in Friar’s Walk. I urge everyone to consider what their organ donation decision, confirm this on the organ donor register and ask their family to hour their decision.”
Simon Pullen, centre director at Friars Walk, said: “We couldn’t be prouder that Friars Walk is going to host Wales’ organ donation exhibition in the run up to the Westfield Health British Transplant Games later this month.
“Given Wales has got 48 participants competing – our highest number ever – this display will be truly inspiring for our local community and will be an opportunity for us to celebrate and embrace the Games, life-saving transplants and raise awareness for the importance of organ donation.
“The exhibition will be open all week, between Saturday 20 and Sunday 28 July, and I’d urge as many people as possible to come down to Friars Walk and visit it ahead of the Westfield Health British Transplant Games, which will be a huge sporting event for Newport.”
You can register a decision at any time at any age by calling 0300 123 23 23 or visiting https://beta.gov.wales/talk-about-organ-donation-campaign or by telling your family and friends.
The Operation Donation Tour of Wales
Tuesday 16th July – St Catherine’s Walk – Carmarthen – SA31 1GA
Wednesday 17th July – Quadrant Centre – Swansea – SA1 3QW
Thursday 18th July – Lido Ponty – Pontypridd – CF37 4PE
Friday 19th July – University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff – CF14 4XW
Saturday 20th July – Sunday 28th July -Friar’s Walk – Newport – NP20 1EA
event is supported by Westfield Health, Welsh Government, Newport City Council, Newport Live the local health boards across Wales, NHS Blood and Transplant, Kidney Care UK, Anthony Nolan Register, Donor Family Network and Believe Organ Donor Support. Further sponsors include Friars Walk, Icon Design, Rodney Parade and Celtic Manor.
Thousands of dead fish in river Afon Dulas pollution incident Download
NATURAL RESOURCES WALES (NRW) can confirm that more than 2,000 fish have been killed due to a slurry pollution incident in West Wales.
Officers have been on site taking samples and conducting fish surveys since the incident was first reported on the River Dulas near Capel Isaac in Carmarthenshire on Monday (8 July).
An estimated three miles (4.7 kilometre) stretch of the river has been affected and has had a major impact on invertebrates as well as fish – mainly brown trout but also bullhead, eels, lamprey, stone loach, minnow and salmon.
Ioan Williams, Natural Resource Management Team Leader from NRW, said:
“Protecting Wales’ waterways and the plants and animals that depend on them is a massive part of the work we do which is why people can report pollution incidents to us 24/7.
“Unfortunately, we can confirm that the total number of fish that were killed is significant and will have an adverse effect on the river for years to come.
“We can also confirm that there has been a significant impact on invertebrates in the river.
“Our staff have been working tirelessly to gather evidence about this incident and we will use that evidence to consider future legal action.
“Incidents such as this shouldn’t be happening.
“We work very closely with the farming industry to make sure they understand the devastating and long-term damage that pollution causes and what steps they can take to prevent it from happening.
“It is completely unacceptable and irresponsible that a small number of farmers are not taking notice of good practice and regulations and therefore giving the rest of the industry a bad name.
“These incidents come at a time when we are already seeing salmon and sewin stocks at very low levels.
“We encourage the agricultural sector to do everything they can to prevent further pollution incidents occurring and ensure they invest in adequate on-farm slurry infrastructure and follow good practice. We would also urge framers to report any issues to us immediately.”
NRW encourages people to report signs of pollution on 03000 65 3000 so it can respond appropriately and give Welsh rivers the protection they deserve.
Council’s plan to cut CO2 by almost 700 tonnes a year
CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council is investing over £2.5million to make energy efficiencies in its buildings in a bid to cut carbon emissions by almost 700 tonnes a year.
It is part of the council’s efforts to become a net zero carbon local authority by 2030, a commitment it made in February when declaring a climate emergency.
The authority has taken out an interest-free loan to pay for the Welsh Government Re:fit scheme, which it will pay back over 10 years from savings on running costs.
New technology will be installed in non-domestic buildings – including schools – to save energy and water, with an estimated 691 tonnes of CO2 saved every year.
Over 30 sites have been identified for phase one of the roll-out, undertaken on behalf of the council by renewable energy company Ameresco.
The scheme is in addition to the energy saving measures the council has already applied in its buildings.
To date, over £2million has been invested in over 200 energy efficiency projects, saving over £7million in running costs and 41,000 tonnes of CO2 over the lifetime of installed technologies.
The council has a policy of integrating low and zero carbon technologies into major building works projects such as schools, where PV installations and Passivhaus standards are already in use.
Its fleet of refuse lorries is the most emission-friendly fleet in Wales; street lighting has been converted to LED units; and there has been significant investment in Safe Routes in the Community and Safe Routes to Schools to encourage more sustainable travel.
In 2012 Carmarthenshire became the first council in Wales to introduce electric pool car vehicles, and has recently secured funding for plug-in chargers following an increase in electric vehicle sales.
Last year, the council vowed to reduce single-use plastics in council buildings and offices and ban plastic cups and straws.
The council’s climate declaration was backed unanimously by councillors in February.
As well as making and planning changes towards a target of becoming a zero carbon local authority by 2030, it has called on Welsh and UK Governments to provide support and resources to enable effective carbon reductions.
Cllr Hazel Evans, Executive Board Member for Environment, said: “We take our commitment to working towards becoming a carbon neutral authority very seriously, and we’re pleased to be making this investment not only to save harmful carbon emissions, but also to save financially on the cost of running our buildings.
“Coupled with our on-going property rationalisation programme, we are producing financial and carbon savings in times of increasing utility prices. This is a win-win situation when we are also able to help the environment.”
Dyfed Powys exploring greater use of technology in policing
INCREASING the use of technology in policing is something Dyfed Powys Police is exploring, the force’s Commissioner has confirmed.
Dafydd Llywelyn told members of the Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Panel at its meeting in Ceredigion this week, that he was looking closely at the work of other forces around the UK.
Mr Llywelyn, who sits on the National Digital Policing Board, said he is in the fortunate position of watching the development of technology that he introduced in his former role as the force’s principal crime and intelligence analyst – before he was elected as Commissioner in 2016 – and hopes that the use of technology will develop to aid effective policing.
He was responding to a question from panel member Cllr Keith Evans, who wanted reassurance that the force is closely assessing the risks involved in using technology, such as facial recognition equipment.
“We don’t use facial recognition in Dyfed Powys at the moment, but that’s not to say that we won’t explore that in the future,” said Mr Llywelyn. “Technology is increasingly being used by police forces – it includes body worn cameras, CCTV, and mobile data terminals that the police have. We are learning from advancements.”
He added: “There’s a test case involving South Wales Police at the moment, and it’s about balancing effective policing with the right to a private life. I think there should be a caveat in terms of the risk – in Dyfed Powys there is an independent assessment of procedures and we’ve had a clean bill of health every year.”
Cllr Keith Evans responded to his comments, saying: “What’s important to us is that this work is considered carefully. Technology will feature more prominently in the work of the police and it’s about striking the right balance.”
The Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Panel is made up of representatives from the four counties of the force area.
It is the Panel’s duty to hold Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn to account.
The Panel meets at least four times a year, and can put questions to the Commissioner on behalf of members of the public.
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