PLAID CYMRU candidate Dr Rhys Thomas has sacrificed his immediate political ambitions to concentrate on his ground-breaking work in treating Covid patients.
Dr Thomas, a senior consultant and former army medic with the rank of Lt. Colonel who served in many conflict zones, has been on the front line against the virus since the outbreak of the pandemic.
As that relentless fight continues, he’s stepped down as Plaid candidate for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire in the coming Senedd elections in May.
Dr Rhys Thomas said: “As one who believes passionately in Plaid Cymru’s vision for Wales, it’s been a very difficult decision. But as a doctor in these incredibly challenging times, I’ve had to dedicate all my time and energy to develop new ways of combating Covid-19. “I hope my time to serve Wales as a politician will come again in future, but for now I have to serve my country as a clinician.”
As Dr Rhys Thomas steps down, Cefin Campbell, a highly respected and experienced Carmarthenshire county councillor, has been selected to fight the constituency in May. He’s also number one on the Plaid Cymru candidate list for Mid and West Wales. Cefin Campbell lives in the Tywi Valley and is married to Mari, a recently retired district nursing sister. They have three daughters.
Cllr Campbell is the member for Rural Affairs and Communities on Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board. He chaired the action group which drew up a 55-point plan to regenerate rural areas, centred on ten small market towns, including Whitland, St Clears and Laugharne, as well as the Anti-poverty panel which instigated a multi-million-pound strategy to tackle poverty in one of the poorest council wards in Wales.
He led on the working group which published an action plan supporting Carmarthenshire’s target to be net -ero carbon by 2030 – the first council in Wales to declare a climate emergency.
He also chaired a cross-party group looking at ways of combating racism and discrimination. Last month, he successfully persuaded the county council to accept a Notice of Motion calling on Welsh Government to legislate to restrict the damaging proliferation of second homes.
Cefin Campbell said: “I care passionately about the future of rural areas, the environment, decent housing and jobs for our young people in towns and villages, and tackling the poverty which exists in both urban and rural communities. I’ve dedicated much of my life during recent years to leading on action plans to address these issues.
“For far too long, this corner of Wales has been forgotten and neglected by the Conservative UK Government in London and the Labour Welsh Government in Cardiff. If elected, I’d fight tooth and nail to remedy that.”
Commenting on Cefin Campbell’s candidature, Dr Rhys Thomas said: “I’ve known Cefin for many years. He’s a very astute, enthusiastic, energetic, and intelligent person, with an incredible range of knowledge in so many fields. He’s a great communicator and would make an excellent and formidable Member of the Senedd.”
Calls for collaboration in effort to stop future Towy floods
CARMARTHEN WESTE and South Pembrokeshire Senedd Candidate Cllr Samuel Kurtz has called for collaboration to address the continued flooding in Carmarthen.
The Towy River has breached its banks a number of times in quick succession, causing misery for a number of businesses and residents.
Senedd candidate Cllr Samuel Kurtz has written to the Welsh Government Rural Affairs Minister urging for a collaborative approach to deliver an action plan that will help protect against flooding.
Commenting, Sam Kurtz said: “The distressing scenes of the flooding of the Towy have become all too regular, causing anguish and pain for those affected.
“I’ve called upon the Rural Affairs Minister to ensure that there is an agreed action plan, which is financed, to introduce proper mitigating features and flood defences.
“This can only be achieved with everyone working together to an agreed end solution, from business owners and Carmarthenshire County Council to Natural Resources Wales and Welsh Government. I’m willing to work with all to help bring an end to these floods.”
Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50
EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.
While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.
Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:
- Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
- Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
- Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
- Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
- Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April
The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.
Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.
People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.
Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While our programme has had to slow due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.
“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.
“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.
“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.
“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”
People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.
The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.
Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.
Cyclist killed on A40 was serving police officer, force confirms
A CYCLIST who died after a crash with a van on the A40 in Carmarthenshire was a serving police officer with Dyfed-Powys Police, the force has confirmed in a statement to Herald.Wales.
The driver of the van involved in the crash, which happened on Thursday (Feb 25) has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, it was confirmed on Friday (Feb 26).
Police are investigating the fatal collision, which caused the road to be closed for 12 hours, and are asking for any witnesses to come forward by calling 101.
37-year-old Lynwen Thomas, who is a former student at Ysgol Bro Myrddin, Croes-y-Ceiliog, Carmarthen, was a sergeant and a very well-respected member of Dyfed-Powys Police.
A spokesperson for the police said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues, who have all been offered specialist support. We ask that family members are given the privacy they need at this difficult time.”
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