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Carmarthenshire

Hospital consultant highlights importance of creating BAME community as health board reveals 41% of doctors from minority backgrounds

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A Hywel Dda Consultant Radiologist voices how COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of creating a community for Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff.

Hashim Samir, Iraqi-born, who has worked at Glangwili Hospital for 10 years, expresses that the health board should see diversity as a strength, post pandemic.

“It was a scary time for people from ethnic minorities seeing doctors and nurses from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds work throughout the pandemic.

“They were unfortunately losing their lives for the sake of protecting the public and taking care of their patients.”

Hashim acts as the Vice-Chair for the health board’s advisory group for Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff, started by the Chair, Maria Battle.

“We have created a network for black, Asian and minority ethnic staff to engage with them and see, how we can support them.

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“These people are sacrificing their lives and the time with their families to serve the public. We need really to create a sense of belonging.”

41% of the doctors at Hywel Dda University Health Board are from ethnic minority backgrounds.

This includes 38% of consultants, and 59% (almost two thirds) of our speciality doctors and medical grade doctors being from ethnic backgrounds.

41% of doctors in Hywel Dda Health Board’s area are from a minority background

“We are trying really to bridge that gap, it did exist before, and probably before the pandemic no-one paid much attention to that.

“Again, because of the pandemic, people can realise that people are really putting their lives forward. The appreciation really goes beyond clapping.

“It goes to more, to feeling that they are part of the larger population, the big Welsh family.”

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Hashim’s special interest pre pandemic, included interventional radiology. This includes biopsies or draining kidneys and gall bladders of patients not fit for surgery.

“There was a period of pause at the beginning of the pandemic, nobody knew what was going to happen for cancer patients.

“My mum passed away from breast cancer and what keeps stinging is that her diagnosis was delayed because of the situation back home in Iraq.

“So, it was a personal decision when lockdown was announced. We contacted every cancer service and said that we are just carrying on like normal.”

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Hashim and his team, who are made up of three nurses and one assistant, have cared for over 200 patients over the past year.

“It wasn’t easy. Especially when there was talk of the vaccine being unsafe. I remember my children asking me not to have the vaccine.

“They asked: “Daddy are you sure it is safe?”, I told them, at the end of the day I decided to become a doctor.

“There is a huge risk when dealing with patients, the only thing is to be sensible and just go for it.”

Hashim’s message to colleagues says: “I truly believe that as human beings we do our best when we have a sense of belonging.

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“We need to help our ethnic minority staff feel part of this wonderful community. I don’t like seeing people, British citizens, feeling like foreigners.

“We are not foreigners. We are just part of this large community and together we can achieve wonderful things.”

Listen to Hashim’s full podcast here. It is also available on Spotify.

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Ammanford

Man who filmed rape on Ammanford victim’s phone changes plea mid trial

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A man who filmed himself raping an Ammanford woman on his victim’s phone has changed his plea to guilty midway through his trial.

Cameron Hassan, aged 31, of no fixed abode, attacked the woman, raping her as she slept on 21 August 2021.

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Hassan had been on trial at Swansea Crown Court after denying any wrongdoing. However, after the jury was shown the video of the attack and hearing the victim was going to give evidence yesterday (Tuesday, 10 May), Hassan changed his plea to guilty.

Investigating Officer DC Sophie Lambert from Dyfed Powys Police said the victim had shown great strength and determination throughout the investigation.

“I must commend her tremendous courage in coming forward and the tenacity shown throughout the investigation,” she said.

“We hope this case demonstrates that Dyfed-Powys Police acts on serious allegations such as rape and sexual assault with officers working tirelessly to secure justice for victims.

“If you are suffering because of similar abuse, please contact the police, or if you would rather speak to someone in confidence, New Pathways are an independent charity that will support you through every step of the investigation.”

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New Pathways can be contacted at 01685 379 310 or email enquiries@newpathways.org.uk

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Carmarthenshire

Women’s Tour of Britain returns to Carmarthenshire

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The countdown is on before the world’s top women riders will race through Carmarthenshire as part of the Women’s Tour of Britain.

Some 108 cyclists will race through the County to the finishing line on top of the Black Mountain between Llangadog and Brynamman as part of the stage five event on Friday, June 10.

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The route will be starting from Pembrey Country Park at 10.45am and riders competing for the title will go through Pinged, Carway, Pontyberem, Horeb, Llansawel, and Llangadog.

A rolling road closure will take place along the 65-mile route which will come into action at 10.45am until 1.50pm.

Roads will be re-opened once the cyclists have passed through. A full road closure will be in place over the Black Mountain from 5am-5pm.

The event will be broadcast on ITV4 and across Europe with a helicopter camera crew following the race.

The Women’s Tour departs on Monday, June 6, and coincides with the final day of a four-day Bank Holiday weekend in the UK to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. The race will culminate with a prestigious finale six days later on Saturday, June 11.

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Pembrey Country Park previously hosted the Grand Départ of the men’s Tour of Britain as well as the overall finish of the Women’s Tour in 2019.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Chief Executive, Wendy Walters said: “We are thrilled that we have again been chosen to host this top cycling event. Previous years have brought an immediate economic boost to the tourism sector as well as providing a great deal of positive media coverage.”

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

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A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

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Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

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Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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