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News in brief: Tories call for action after NHS sexism report

06 Sep 2021 9 minutes Read
Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash.

The Welsh Conservatives have called for more to be done to stamp out sexism in the workplace following the publication of a new study by the British Medical Association which revealed 86% of Welsh doctors said there is an issue of sexism in the NHS.

The BMA’s research also reported 91% of female doctors have experienced sexism at work with 42% feeling they could not report it. In addition, 70% of respondents said sexism in the NHS acts as a barrier to career progression.

“This is a worrying survey, which only reinforces the need for sexism to be stamped out in all corners of society, including the workplace,” Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Equalities, Altaf Hussain MS, said.

“Our doctors and medical professionals have given so much over the last 18 months so it’s particularly concerning to hear of their awful experiences working within the NHS, but all staff regardless of where they work should be treated with respect and dignity.

“Only recently it was uncovered that there were 3,000 vacancies in the Welsh NHS, so if we are going to recruit and retain staff to plug this huge gap then it is vital that they are made to feel welcome.

“The NHS needs to ensure that robust reporting practices are in place, and that all complaints are thoroughly investigated if we are to step up the fight to eliminate sexism.” 

Hospital. Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Hospitals under pressure as Covid admissions continue to rise 

People are being urged to take up the offer of a Covid jab as hospitals in Wales are coming under increasing pressure due to the recent surge in new cases of the virus.

Over 14,000 people have tested positive for Covid in the last seven days and the number of Covid patients requiring hospital treatment has almost doubled to 245 in the last two weeks.

Public Health Wales also reported eight further deaths in the 48 hours up to Sunday morning at 9am and 5,161 new cases of the virus.

Len Richards, chief executive of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, took to Twitter at the weekend to implore people to get vaccinated and said that five out of six people in the board’s critical care departments had not been vaccinated.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Eluned Morgan has stressed the vaccine “continues to be the best way to prevent serious illness and the spread of the virus” and urged anyone who has not had their vaccine yet to take-up their primary dose offer” before the start of the booster campaign later this month.

Outbreak

Meanwhile, Hywel Dda University Health Board has closed two wards at Glangwili Hospital to new admissions and visitors due to a coronavirus outbreak and it’s reported that at least nine patients in the region are in “invasive ventilated beds with confirmed Covid-19”.

Up to of September 2 there were 48 Covid patients in ventilated beds in Wales with, according to PHW.

Three of the newly reported deaths confirmed in Monday’s report are in the Betsi Cadwaladr health board and two further deaths were recorded in Hywel Dda.

Cwm Taf Morgannwg, Powys and Swansea Bay each recorded one death as the total number of people to have died due to coronavirus since the start of the pandemic increased to 5,691.

Despite the increase in cases and the number of people requiring hospital treatment, the number of deaths due to the virus are currently about 10% of those recorded at the peak of the second wave last winter

The national case rate has risen to 452.8 per 100,000 people over the early part of the weekend, from 407.2 and the test positivity rate is down from 19.7% to 18.9% per 100,000 tests.

Merthyr has the highest case rate in Wales at 744.3, followed by Neath Port Talbot at 670.6 and Swansea, 670.5. All three are currently in the 25 worst affected local authorities in the UK. 

Photo by the real napster on Upsplash.

New research reveals negative impact of caring responsibilities on young carers education

A new study, published by Public Health Wales has highlighted the negative impact that caring responsibilities have on educational participation in those aged 16-22, and the disproportionate impact it has on those living in the most deprived areas of the country.

The research brings together National Survey for Wales data over three years and found that:

  • 1 in 5 young people aged 16 – 22 years in Wales have caring responsibilities
  • Males and females in this age group are equally likely to be young carers
  • Overall, the proportion of young people in full time education is lower amongst young carers (45 per cent in carers, compared to 54 per cent in non-carers), and this difference is greater in those living in more deprived areas.

The study also uncovered new evidence to suggest that this difference is largely in the older age groups (19 to 22 years), where the proportion in full time education is 10 per cent less amongst carers.

The lowest participation is among those with caring responsibilities living in the most deprived areas where only 19 percent remain in full time tertiary education.

Alisha Davies, Head of Research and Development at Public Health Wales, said: “This study provides valuable quantitative evidence on the negative impact of caring responsibilities on young people’s participation in education, and how this is greater amongst those living in more deprived areas.

“Interestingly, one of the greatest differences were amongst those aged 19-22 years, irrespective of underlying levels of deprivation, highlighting the needs to support young people across educational sectors.

“Education is key to young people’s future success and life chances. Approaches such as identifying young carers, enabling early support where needed, and providing more support in educational settings, have the potential to enable young people to stay and thrive in education, while still meeting their caring responsibilities.”

The former Job Centre in Tredegar. Photo via Google

B&B plans on hold over anti-social behaviour concerns

Elgan Hearn, local democracy reporter

Plans to convert a former Job Centre in Tredegar into a bed and breakfast are on hold after several councillors opposed the proposal citing concerns that it could become an anti-social hotspot.

The planning application to convert the Job Centre on Coronation Street in Tredegar into an 11-bedroom bed and breakfast had been lodged with Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council by Ashraf Rahman who also runs a guest house in Merthyr Tydfil.

Blaenau Gwent planning officers had recommended approving the application.

Three councillors for Tredegar Central and West, Cllrs Steve Thomas, Haydn Trollope and Amanda Moore spoke against the proposal at the planning meeting last Thursday.

They believed it could become a “halfway house” for people released from prison.

Cllr Thomas said: “This is not a form of NIMBYism, at least two of us were members of the Probation Service and have worked with other facilities like this.

“We’ve had a difficult summer with a similar development in the town.

“Some residents and businesses have suffered pretty alarming situations in the last couple of months and we’ve been meeting with them regularly to try and control the issue.”

Cllr Thomas explained that equipment for drug use had been found and that the police had been called out to deal with fights, and at least one man had been tasered there.

Cllr Thomas said: “The concern we have is that this B&B cover-all is a loophole to establish these developments.”

No-go area

He added that due to the problems, businesses were already thinking about leaving the town, and this development could make the problems “ten times worse,” making Tredegar a “no go area.”

Cllr Bernard Willis who sits on the planning committee, said: “As a fourth member for Tredegar Central and West, I agree with everything my colleagues have said, they are 100 per cent right and I would ask the committee to turn this down.”

Cllr Wayne Hodgins said: “Owing to the uncharted waters we seem to have entered into with the accusations and allegations, I would like to see this application deferred immediately until there is more information.”

“I don’t feel comfortable that I can give it a fair hearing without knowing all the facts.”

Blaenau Gwent development management team leader, Steph Hopkins said: “It’s important to clarify that the application in front of you is for a bed and breakfast, there’s assumptions that it’s going to be something else.

“If we refuse this today and it goes to appeal a planning inspector is going to determine this application on the basis of a bed and breakfast and we need to be mindful of the costs that could be awarded against us.”

Ms Hopkins suggested that conditions could be placed on the permission that the building has to stay as a bed and breakfast and limit the number of days people stay there.

Cllr Thomas  pointed out that on community impact the application should be refused, this was put to the committee as a recommendation by Cllr Willis.

Committee chairman, Denzil Hancock asked for planning advice from officers.

Difficult situation

Blaenau Gwent’s development management team manager, Eirlys Hallett said: “The committee is facing a difficult situation here, and from the tone of discussion you are referring to matters as to who might use the building and who the applicant is.

“You must remember that planning permission is granted on land and buildings not a person.

“You’ve mentioned community impact and effect on businesses, but it’s unlikely you could defend an appeal based on those kinds of reasons for refusal.”

She suggested that the committee ask officers to fully investigate the community impact the scheme would have.

This would also give the Tredegar councillors more time, to find other planning reasons to refuse the application.

But Mrs Hallett stressed that when the application would next appear at committee, officers were “likely” to say defending an appeal would be difficult.

Deferring the application was then agreed unanimously by the councillors.

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