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New drive-through mass vaccination centre to open in Carmarthen

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An additional mass vaccination centre will open at the United Counties Showground in Carmarthen on Monday 8 March 2021 to support the delivery of Hywel Dda University Health Board’s COVID-19 vaccination programme.

The health board recently confirmed people in JCVI priority groups 7, 8 and 9 – that is everyone aged between 50 and 64 years old with no underlying health conditions – will be invited to receive their first COVID-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination centre

  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – starting 5 April

The health board currently has six mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

The showground is in addition to the mass vaccination centre at the Halliwell Conference Centre at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and will operate as a drive-through service.

Ros Jervis, Director of Public Health at Hywel Dda UHB, said: “This additional drive-through vaccination centre will help increase the number of vaccines we can deliver as we head towards the Welsh Government’s milestone 2 target; that is to offer everyone in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 their first vaccine dose by 18th April.

“The showground has been established as a drive through facility for COVID testing for some time now and is the perfect venue to easily adapt to provide additional vaccination facilities.

“We are asking people to use their own private transport wherever possible to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in your household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

“We understand that this may not be possible for everyone and so we want to reassure people that transport support is available for anyone who genuinely will find it difficult to attend their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board using the 0300 phone number on your appointment letter.”

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People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter and some will also receive a text message 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.

An additional mass vaccination centre to support the vaccine programme in Pembrokeshire is currently in planning and further announcements will be made as soon as possible.

To find out more about Hywel Dda UHB’s mass vaccination programme please visit https://hduhb.nhs.wales/healthcare/covid-19-information/covid-19-vaccination-programme/ 

(Lead image: Hywel Dda NHS)


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Carmarthen

Glangwili first hospital in Wales to administer new osteoporosis medication

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Glangwili Hospital has become the first in Wales to administer a new medication that will help patients suffering from osteoporosis.

It was approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and it the first new osteoporosis drug treatment of its kind for over a decade.

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The new treatment – Romosozumab – is now available in Wales for preventing future fractures in patients suffering from osteoporosis. 

The bone-building drug is given as a simple injection under the skin. It is highly effective for preventing fractures by the way it acts on bone cells, particularly in postmenopausal women with severe osteoporosis.  It is one of only two treatments that help to promote bone formation, and the first to reduce bone loss at the same time.

On Thursday 21 July, Carole Bevan became the first patient in Wales to receive the medication at Glangwili General Hospital, Carmarthen.

She said: “I am very fortunate to be the first patient in Wales and quite pleased at being considered and offered this treatment. I did not feel the needle at all and I’m happy to self-administer the injection monthly for the next 12 months.”

Dr Abhaya Gupta, Consultant Physician at Glangwili Hospital, added: “The availability of this drug in Wales is an additional option for treating patients with osteoporosis, many of whom suffer devastating consequences from hip fractures, spine and wrist fractures.

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“By its novel mechanism of action this treatment has the potential to revolutionise our approach to treating those people with severe disease who are at very high risk of fracture, especially when it is used as their initial treatment.

“With increasing numbers of elderly patients with osteoporosis, this injection is an additional drug available to specialists to treat these patients, helping to reduce disability and health and social care costs in the long term.”

Catrin Beddoe, a pharmacist at Glangwili Hospital, added: “This is a simple injection given once a month for one year to appropriate elderly female patients suffering from the devastating consequences of fractures, and I am pleased to be part of the specialist osteoporosis team involved in this exciting work.”

(Lead image: Hywel Dda NHS)

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Carmarthen producer wins best sausage in Wales award

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Red Valley Farm in Carmarthen is celebrating coming first in Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales’s ‘Put Your Best Sausage Forward 2022’ competition, with their wild garlic sausages crowned as the very best bangers in Wales.

Business partners Andy Washbourne and Graeme Carter were delighted with the victory, with the high-flying producers taking the coveted award for the second year running. As winners, they will now automatically qualify for the ‘Champion of Champions’ sausage competition at the UK-wide Butcher Shop of the Year 2023 awards.

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Speaking after winning the title during a special event at the Royal Welsh Show, Graeme Carter said: “It really is an incredible honour to have our sausages named as the very best in Wales. Winning an award like this really makes all the hard work worthwhile and shows that our ethos of producing quality, small-scale and locally produced pork pays off in the end.

“We were really proud of our wild garlic sausages, but it’s still a pleasant surprise to win the title. We had a really good time at the final judging event and the fact that the standard was so high amongst all the shortlisted finalists just goes to show what a fantastic pork industry we have in Wales.

“Since taking over the farm from my parents a few years ago, specialising in rearing pigs has really turned into a passion for me and Andy. We were gifted one boar to help clear the ground following some tree planting and everything has literally grown from there. We just plan to go from strength to strength and concentrate on what we do best, which is quality, sustainably produced pork.

“We’re now really looking forward to be representing Wales at the ‘Champion of Champions’ sausage competition and hope to be crowned the best across the whole of the UK.”

Red Valley Farm pipped Haverfordwest’s Prendergast Butchers and Puff Pigs of Ynysybwl to the title, wowing the panel of judges including leading Welsh food personality Chris ‘Flamebaster’ Roberts.

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Chris said: “Nobody likes a banger more than me and the quality of those that made the final meant it was certainly a pleasure to be on the judging panel.

“It’s always really tough to choose a winner when the standard is so high, but right from the off we were impressed with the wild garlic sausages. They looked the part, the consistency was spot on and they just tasted amazing. Having now had a sample of them I’m pretty keen to get my hands on the recipe myself to try and work out the secret of making sausages taste so good!”

Speaking about his delight at the standard of entries to this year’s competition, Rhys Llywelyn, Market Development Manager at Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales, said: “It was fantastic to be back at the Royal Welsh Show to hold the awards and the standard of the three finalists certainly didn’t disappoint. However, in the end Red Valley Farm just about came out on top, so a huge congratulations to them and we wish them the best of luck at the UK ‘Champion of Champions’ finals.

“Our small-scale pork producers in Wales have a fantastic story to tell. They specialise in creating a unique, hand-reared product that is often only available to buy directly from themselves and local independent shops, like butchers. This makes it a more sustainable food product, generating fewer food miles, and I’d urge consumers to seek out their local producer and find out for themselves the fantastic quality that’s on offer.”

For more information on pork produced in Wales, and where you can buy it, visit porcblasus.cymru.

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(Lead image: Patrick Olner)

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Three post vehicles damaged in Carmarthen sorting office fire

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Three Royal Mail vehicles were damaged in a fire at Carmarthen Sorting Office yesterday evening (10 July).

A postal worker has reported that the fire started at the Pensarn depot with an electrical fault on a postal delivery vehicle, with the fire then spreading to two nearby vehicles, although this has yet to be officially confirmed.

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Fire at Carmarthen sorting office (Image: Nathan Watkins / facebook)
Carmarthen sorting office fire
Smoke rises above Carmarthen sorting office (Image: Nathan Watkins / facebook)

Two fire appliances were sent to the fire, which was “well alight” when firefighters arrived. Dramatic images show smoke rising above the sorting office, with concerns raised on social media that the fire would spread to the sorting office building.

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “Emergency services attended our Carmarthen Delivery Office after a fire broke out on Wednesday evening, damaging three vehicles. Nobody was injured in this incident, and we expect it to have no impact on services to customers.

“The cause of the fire has yet to be determined, and we will assist in full with any inquiry which the emergency services may undertake.”

A Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said: “At 8.54pm on Wednesday 20 July, crews from Carmarthen and Pontyates attended two vehicles on fire in the yard of the Royal Mail Sorting Office, Pensarn, Carmarthen.

“The vehicle was well alight on arrival, fire was fought by crews using Breathing Apparatus and 2 Hose Reels Jets, a thermal imaging camera, and foam to extinguish.

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“The cause was accidental, no persons were injured.

“Crews left the scene at 9.33pm.”

(Lead image: David Morris / Facebook)

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