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Drakeford slams Tory foolishness

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United in fighting for healthcare: Lee Waters & Health Minister Mark Drakeford

United in fighting for healthcare: Lee Waters & Health Minister Mark Drakeford

WELSH GOVERNMENT Minister for Health and Social Services Mark Drakeford AM visited Llanelli on Monday (Feb 1) to show his support for Labour’s Llanelli AM candidate Lee Waters.

The Herald caught up with them both at the Vista Lounge, where Professor Drakeford told us that he was in Llanelli to highlight the issues of the election and the choice the people of Llanelli faced.

We asked the minister if what the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru were offering were worth considering as ideas to be implemented regardless of who was in government.

“Some of their ambitions are what anybody would share.” Mark Drakeford told us. “Under the Tories there will be an elected Health Tsar in charge of the Health Service, much like a police and crime commissioner. Very much like the police and crime commissioner. Let’s not forget that it was only around 8% of the population that turned out to vote for them. It is amongst the most foolish ideas I have ever come across in the health field.

“It’s certainly NOT the policy the Tory party puts into practice in England. It would guarantee that the possibility of cooperation across health board boundaries, which is what we really need to see in Wales, would be made more and more difficult.”

He continued: “One of the most promising things for health care in this part of the world has been the way in the last two years, the Swansea Health Board and the Hywel Dda Health Board have started to work together. That is particularly important for population of Llanelli who use services in Morriston, Llanelli, Singleton and Carmarthen.

“We need health boards who can work across those boundaries effectively for patients. The Tory policy would guarantee that that could not happen.”

Lee Waters told us: “There is huge innovation at the Prince Phillip Hospital and it has been turned into a centre of excellence modelling a new type of emergency care. We are pointing out the contrast between us (Labour) and Plaid Cymru whose priority is a reorganisation of the Health Service. What they are saying is that they want to take responsibility for doctors out of the hands of the Health Board and put it in the hands of Carmarthenshire County Council.”

Lee Waters mordantly observed: “Whatever you think of Carmarthenshire County Council, do we really want them in charge of the county’s doctors?”

Attacking Conservative election pledges, Professor Drakeford told The Herald: “The Tories say they want to spend more on the health service. People need to look at their record, rather than what they say. The Welsh Government has 10% less money to spend every single year and 30% less on capital funding to make sure we have the buildings and equipment we need for the future.

Labour have been in government for 17 years and the Conservatives have been critical of their record on health, education and the economy. We asked the minister if they were fair criticisms.

Mark Drakeford observed: “It often strikes me as a bit odd when Tories complain that Labour have been in power for 17 years, because it sounds as though somehow it was an act of God. Labour has been in power in Wales because people in Wales have elected Labour governments four times in a row.

“I am in Llanelli myself today to say to the people of Llanelli that the Llanelli constituency is absolutely pivotal to the National Assembly elections.

“We need a Labour Assembly Member from Llanelli. We need people of the calibre of Lee Waters. Then we will have a fighting chance of doing some of the things that anybody would want to see for the future of our health service. Better access for people, the most effective treatments we can provide for people, the sorts of building we want our staff to work out of and more staff where we can afford to pay for them. The number of nurses will go above 28,000 for the first time.

“Right across England where the Tories are in charge trusts are being instructed to sack nurses because their budget is so badly overspent.”

Professor Drakeford concluded: “The Tories are in public life to cut and cut again. If they got their hands on the government in Wales that is the recipe the people of Llanelli would be facing.”

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Carmarthenshire Archives’ new building officially opened

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ON MONDAY, November 28, Cllr Rob Evans, Chair of Carmarthenshire County Council, unveiled a specially designed plaque to commemorate the official opening of the brand new Carmarthenshire Archives building.

The official opening was attended by year 6 pupils of Ysgol Y Dderwen, along with their Headteacher Mr Dylan Evans, who designed the plaque by compiling various artwork and sketches that are housed at the Archives.

Established in 1959, Carmarthenshire Archives is the local authority archive service for the County of Carmarthenshire and the new building is located at St Peter’s Street, Carmarthen. 

The service is home to our extensive collection of historic documents that date from the 13th century to the present day. The collection includes archives, maps, books, photographs, videos and sound recordings. It is the Archives’ mission to preserve and make its documents available for general study and research.

Admission to Carmarthenshire Archives is free and open to anyone who wishes to use the Council’s records. Most of its services are free, but we do charge for some extra services and help.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism, Cllr Gareth John commented:

“Congratulations to the pupils of Ysgol Y Dderwen, they have designed an excellent and appropriate plaque that is inspired by the treasure troves of our archives. It was wonderful to welcome them to the official opening so that they can see their work take pride of place at a building that holds great significance to us in Carmarthenshire. 

“This is a brand new and modern building that is fit to keep and protect our county’s most precious historical documents. 

“But of course, these documents are meant to be viewed and studied by school children, students, academics and anybody who has an interest in Carmarthenshire’s rich history; and this excellent facility provides the perfect space for people to come and view these treasures.”

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Llandeilo gas works to begin say Wales & West Utilities

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WALES & West Utilities will shortly begin work to upgrade gas pipes in Llandeilo.

Wales & West Utilities has liaised with Carmarthenshire County Council to plan the work and it has been agreed that work will commence after the town has celebrated the Festival of Senses.

The £123,000 investment scheme, which is essential to keep the gas flowing safely to heat and power local homes and businesses, will begin in New Road on 21 November. This section of work will be complete before Christmas and Wales & West Utilities will return to the town next year to undertake further work in the Crescent Road area. Barring any engineering difficulties, work in the town will be complete by the end of February next year.

Wales & West Utilities Adam Smith is managing this gas pipe upgrade work. He said: “Working with the Council, we have planned this work to accommodate the needs of the town.

“While most of the gas network is underground and out of sight, it plays a central role in the daily lives of people across Llandeilo. Whether it’s heating your home, making the family dinner or having a hot bath, we understand how important it is for your gas supply to be safe and reliable and there when you need it.

“We know that working in areas like this is not ideal, but it really is essential to make sure we keep the gas flowing to homes and businesses in the area, and to make sure the gas network is fit for the future. We’ll have a team of gas engineers on site throughout the project to make sure our work is completed as safely and as quickly as possible while keeping disruption to a minimum.

“This work is essential to keep the gas flowing to local homes and businesses today, and to make sure the gas network is ready to transport hydrogen and biomethane, so we can all play our part in a green future.”

Our Customer Service Team is ready to take your call if you have any questions about our work. You can contact them on freephone 0800 912 2999.

Alternatively, you can contact us on Twitter @WWUtilities or Facebook.com/WWUtilities.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night. Before visiting, we’ll ask you to let us know if you or anyone in your household, is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. We’ll still come and help you: but our teams will take some additional precautions to keep us all safe.

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Police appeal following theft of items from Home Bargains Crosshands

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OFFICERS from Dyfed Powys Police have confirmed that they are investigating the theft of items, including a Christmas Nutcracker Ornament valued at £129.99, from the Home Bargains store in Crosshands, Carmarthenshire.

The theft occurred at about 12:40pm on Tuesday, 27th September 2022.

Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.

They would like to identify the people in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.

Anyone who knows who the people are, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police.

This can also be done either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk or phoning 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Please quote reference DPP/2006/27/09/2022/02/C

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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