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Welcome to Wales Today. Tonight's headlines:
Figures obtained by Wales Today show more GP surgeries than ever
are closing or being taken over by their Local Health Board.
If we are not understood and supported now I think the sad
news for patients and communities, it's going to spell the end
of what we understand to be the family doctor.
So why is the system under so much pressure and how can things change?
They targeted Asian families and stole valuable jewellery.
An organised crime gang has been jailed for a total
They provide some of our most vital services.
But councils won't merge for at least another decade,
And 50 years after the opening of the first Severn crossing -
the dawn of a new economic era for south Wales.
By the time the veichles start up it should be 87 hours.
More GP surgeries here are either closing or being taken
by their local health boards than ever before.
And according to figures seen by this programme, which were
gathered by the grassroots organisation GP Survival,
A sentiment backed by the British Medical Association
and the Royal College of GPs in Wales.
An empty waiting room at a doctor's surgery is normally a welcome sight
GP, Dr Naoko Koto, has been running the Horeb
surgery in Treorchy on her own for a year.
She is handing back the surgery's contract to the Cwm Taf Local
Health Board, her thousands of patients have to find a new GP.
Looking after 3,200 patients on my own, I felt I was burning out.
It was not sustainable as a long-term option.
Difficulties around recruiting new GPs across Wales is
I've been working in the Valleys for the last three
Last year, locum GP, Sophie Quinney, sent Freedom of Information
requests to all seven local health boards in Wales.
She wanted to know how many GP surgeries have closed since 2010.
She also asked how many had handed back their contract and
were now run directly by the health boards.
12 months on, she has asked the same questions again and the
figures suggest the situation is getting worse.
We have seen a catastrophic rise in the number of surgeries that
have had to hand back their contracts in recent times.
If we are not understood and supported now, I think the sad
news for patients and communities, it is going to spell
the end of what we understand to be the family doctor.
I think it is a terrible loss for a community,
people really benefit from knowing their GP and certainly
as GPs, we benefit from knowing our patients and seeing that through.
In the past year, eight surgeries in North Wales have been taken over
In Cwm Taf, five surgeries have given
But in Cardiff and Vale, there was some better news.
No surgeries have been taken over by the health board
Across Wales, 20 GP surgeries had to close or be taken over
in just one year compared to 33 in the previous five
But the figures suggest proportionally more of the
struggling practices are being taken over by the health board rather
Things are getting worse but there are solutions out there.
The first one is we need an increased share of the
NHS budget to be spent where it affects people most, with their
We have fallen into historic lows with funding and
that needs to change to address this crisis.
Whatever happens to solve this problem it will come too
She's leaving Horeb and Treorchy to work at another GP surgery.
A trend professionals say needs to change and fast.
So why is the system under so much pressure
Here's the assessment of our health correspondent, Owain Clarke.
A slick video trying to address a tricky question. How do you attract
new GPs to working Valleys communities like the Rhondda? It is
rewarding as a GP, and you make a change to people's lives. There has
been a shortage of four years despite sickness rates are among the
highest in Britain. This Doctor looks after 8000 patients. There's
been a surgery that has closed further up the valley so there are
changes that are happening because of the lack of recruitment. We
needed to change things to see what we can do to improve things for the
patients. Those changes include efforts by local surgeries to work
together. They can see patients instead of GPs when it is
appropriate. Here come if you need to check on your blood pressure, you
can do it yourself. Trying get this part of your RAM into the machine.
Trying to get doctors to see that nations they really need to see. My
own blood pressure reading isn't something should be worried about.
There has talk about increasing and relentless pressure on GPs working
in areas like this one. One of the main complaint is that the money
spent on GP surgeries in Wales as a percentage of the total had budget
has gone down. The demands of an ageing population are greater than
ever. GPs are getting older, a quarter in Wales are nearing
retirement. Others are packing it in because of the workload and weekend
revealed in a civvy due out soon almost half of family doctors said
they would not recommend a career general practice. I haven't seen any
improvement in the last three years. Things are getting worse and that is
what I am hearing from my colleagues across Wales. The doctors union has
been warning about this for years. We have an impending recruitment
crisis for general practice. Then, Doctor Lewis was secretary of the
BMA in Wales. Last year, he was hired by the Welsh Government to
work with the GPs to find solutions. Is that a crisis? I don't think
there is a crisis within health services in West Country. We have in
place the appropriate plans to try to address the huge challenges that
I've already alluded to. He does admit that are too few GPs in Wales
and changes need to happen faster. More money and GPs alone, he says,
will not be enough without weight change. In order to enable the GP to
have enough time to see the patient they really need to see, we need to
use the range of other health professional services and the other
services in general. The question is, how would you make those big
changes when GPs say they are struggling each and every day? It'll
take more than just a snazzy video. Owain, lots of pressures on GPs
being talked about there. Nobody denies that are big
challenges here that need to be addressed quickly. The Welsh
Government needs to be listening to them. There is a slightly different
emphasis about what needs to be done now. The groups representing GPs
say, there is a real risk of services collapsing, we need
resources pumped in straightaway we can't go on. Richard Lewis in his
first interview in the job says, money isn't everything here. Unless
we change the way services are delivered, demand will almost always
outstrip supply. The model he wants you to think about is the GB as a
captain of a team. Some people might say, perfectly reasonable for me to
see a nurse if all I need is a test. Other people would say, the GP is
the person I trust, that is the person I'd want to see. Remember,
almost every part of the health service says it is facing more
pressure than ever before. Two weeks ago we talked about intensive care
units. GPs would say if they do their job stress, the pressure
pressure on the rest of the health system are reduced.
An organised crime gang has been jailed for a total of more than 43
years following a spate of burglaries across north Wales
The men from the traveller community stole items worth
This was the moment one of the gang was arrested,
part of a co-ordinated series of raids involving more than 100
John James Purcell was detained at a travellers site in Wrexham.
He and his colleagues carried out a series of burglaries in spring
and summer last year in north Wales, the north west of England,
and the Midlands targeting predominantly Asian families
who were storing high value jewellery at their homes.
Often the gold is purer than in Western jewellery.
Burglary is a dramatic instance for anybody.
The impact of these burglaries was potentially more
because of the mess they created and the items
That is why it is a priority, any offence burglary is a priority
It'll remain a priority to the police.
Most of the victims were originally from the Indian subcontinent,
Many follow the custom of passing valuable jewellery to their children
but these burglaries have caused many to change their ways.
Dr Farook Jishi from Wrexham knows some of those who were targeted.
Many of these items are handed down generation after generation so they
have got a lot of sentimental value in addition to the fact they are
gold from the Asian subcontinent which is high carat and people have
They hired a safe deposit box or whatever.
Three families made up the majority of the gang which was well
coordinated and used stolen high performance cars
They tried to destroy forensic evidence by using bleach
And they donned clothes, hats and even Beatles style wigs
from charity shops to disguise themselves.
But thanks to information from witnesses and CCTV cameras
the gang aged from 17 to 47 was identified and caught.
Nine men were jailed for between two and six and a half years.
The judge Niclas Parri told them this was professional criminal
conduct which left homeowners terrified.
A man accused of murdering a schoolgirl from Flintshire 40
years ago has appeared at Mold Crown Court.
Stephen Hough, who's 57 and from Flint, is charged
with the rape, sexual assault and murder of 15-year-old
He spoke only to confirm his name via video link.
The case was adjourned until December.
An inquest has heard how three men died in a head-on collision
involving a driver almost twice over the drink-drive alcohol limit.
Driver William Ryan, who was 29, and his passenger Ross Dickinson,
also known as Jodie, died when his Ford Fiesta collided
with a Peugeot near Tal y Bont in the Conwy Valley last October.
82-year-old Paul Gardner, who was a passenger
A head teacher has defended excluding 72 pupils from regular
classes for not complying with uniform rules.
Pupils at Denbigh High School were disciplined on the first day
of term on Monday for breaches of policy including "the wearing
of inappropriate trousers, skirts, and footwear".
The school's head says its uniform policy had been outlined
Councillors in Powys have called on their cabinet to postpone
the closure of two schools in the county.
They want to see Llandrindod and Builth schools given
There's much uncertainty about the future of education
across the county despite the relief for some parents last week
that Brecon High school and Gwernyfed were probably
Home time at Brecon's Welsh language primary. High school is just across
the road but maybe not for these pupils. It plans to close the web
stream at the high school go ahead, they will have to travel to Builth
Wells. There are mixed emotions here today they could be another
consultation. I think it is good they are going to consult again on
the Welsh medium as it seems to have been overshadowed by the Gwernyfed.
I am curious as to why we're having another consultation. I don't think
peopleopinions have changed. It is part of a bigger plan to reshape
education. Among those at full council today, Councillor Ratcliffe
from Hay on Wye, much cheered by a report which he believes has saved
Gwernyfed high school from closure. It goes to show that community is
coming together can influence a council. As a local member, we had
duly elected and we need to listen to our residents and work with them
to come up with plans. More uncertain was this parent from
a primary school ten miles away. Even though closure plans here look
likely to be abandoned. I went to that school and I have seen my two
daughters going to be there. It is hurtful and we have got to keep
these rural schools going. There is still a lot to consider,
says the cabinet member for education. It is a huge challenge
and I think the schools is in emotional topic. Residents but don't
want to lose these schools from the communities. In reality, any school
under 50 is not viable. The councils across rural Wales, the issue of
surplus places has been a key factor in the reorganisation. Today, the
Education Minister reiterated her commitment to looking at the issues
facing rural schools. This is a priority for me. In the agreements
is busy myself at the First Minister, we have agreed to look at
effective policies of the sustainability of a rural education.
We have said clearly that counts is what the direction of travel is and
we will be giving further details and do cause.
It could be an important change in policy here in mid Wales. Children
in Brecon head for home and those in charge of their education will be
heading home as well to rethink what should happen next.
50 years after it opened the first Severn crossing has carried hundreds
We look at its impact on South Wales.
And thousands of people turn out to support the Tour of Britain cycle
Councils here won't merge for at least another decade.
That's according to Carmarthenshire's leader,
who's had assurances that his local authority will remain
Plans to reduce the 22 local authorities here to eight or nine
were scrapped earlier this year, now it appears the status quo
That specific plans reduce in number of councils to single figures we
know has gone. What we don't know is that the man in charge of reform,
Mark Drakeford, is coming into depleted. We have got the leader of
Carmarthenshire Council saying Mr Drakeford told him this week that
Carmarthenshire and presumably all the other councils in Wales will
remain in place for a decade. This is a story that has not been denied
by the government today. It goes too far to say that Mark Drakeford has
let the cat out of the bag because we knew the direction in which they
were going but we have a stronger sense of what is going to happen. It
is likely to be the 22 will survive, they have won the battle to remain
in place. We will see a return to regional partnerships. It is called
collaborative projects in the jargon. Here is the challenge. Cast
your mind back a few years and there was a report called the Williams
Commission which is damning about the attempts by local authorities to
work together, huge amounts of effort for little gain. Talk of
council chief executives spending up to 60% of their time on what is
called collaborative projects. The big job and we will find out more
when Mark Drakeford gives his speech later in the month, is to try to get
all these local authorities working together without creating a
bureaucratic monster. Thank you very much.
It was designed to usher in a new economic era
for South Wales and today marks 50 years since the original
It was cutting edge at the time, improving on American designs
and is credited with having a profound impact on the economy.
Jordan Davies is at the Bridge for us tonight.
This is where you would have got the ferry before the bridge was built.
From here, it is quite something. In its day it was ground-breaking.
Ushering in a new era of bridge building technology. It is still
with verse 50 years on. -- with us. To commemorate the first crossing
of the Severn bridge I have great It was a moment of
national significance and While the Queen became one
of the first to cross, reporters spoke to very
patient paying passengers. A man from Cardiff
was first in the queue. Well, by the time
the vehicles start-up How have you managed
to pass the time away? I brought plenty of my own
entertainment with me. The bridge replaced
this, the Ost Ferry. At a squeeze, it
could carry 19 cars. Before we went on holiday Mike
would take the car with all the cases in and leave it
so we would be first or second in That is what most of
the locals did, wasn't it? Construction was a high wire act
using these catwalks, in took The deck which carries the cars
was ground-breaking. It was designed as
an aerodynamic foil. The same kind of thing
you see on aeroplanes. It is designed to make sure it
doesn't flap around and it was Its cost was to be
recovered through a toll. Originally, two shillings
and sixpence. The tolls are all too
familiar for motorists There was a poem written
about them at the time. "Two lands at last connected,
it crossed the waters wide. "And all the tolls collected
on the English side." 50 years on and the bridge has
carried hundreds of millions of vehicles and employs a
small army of engineers. This, one of the giant
concrete anchors. Robin Shaw is a former
Welsh Government director of transport and
founded the website, What that bridge and bridges do
is open up South Wales There are many companies
particularly companies that are involved in distribution,
that I have no doubt would not be based in South
Wales if it weren't for the bridges. It continues to impress
half a century on. There are estimates this bridge has
been worth tens of billions of pounds to the Welsh economy and this
anniversary comes at a poignant time because it coincides with the 50th
anniversary of the Aberfan disaster. This bridge made it easy for people
to reach that community in the days after that tragedy. It is difficult
to imagine a modern Wales without this bridge.
The Football Association of Wales' bid for Laura McAllister to join
Fifa's ruling council has been halted.
A former Wales player and former Chair of Sport Wales,
Professor McAllister hoped to become the first Brtiish
A regulation, dating back to the 1940s, prevents any home
nation having more than one representative on the council.
Britain's David Gill is already a vice president.
Plenty of Welsh athletes have been in action for Paralympics
GB on the first day of the games in Rio.
Kyron Duke in the F41 shot put while medal hope Aaron Moores failed
to qualify for the final of S14 100 metres backstroke, he'll swim again
Rob Davies, Paul Davies and Sara Head also took part
The Tour of Britain cycle race has left Wales after its second day
Stage five started this morning in Aberdare,
where hundreds of people lined the route.
Guys, we need to clear this area, please.
As the Tour of Britain rolled into Aberdare this morning,
on four wheels as well as two, hundreds turned out to see it.
And the support from all ages doesn't go unnoticed at the top.
They pulled intermediate sprints outside schools so the kids get to
The amount of people out on the road and the flags, it
Especially for younger people to be able to see big stars
I remember watching it when I was younger and being
inspired for some it was one of the reasons I started cycling.
This is how most of the people in the park usually
watch the world's best - on TV.
Many, not cycling fans, just wanted to see such a big show
You see them on TV and we don't get to see them in our area.
It is pretty cool for the Valleys here.
We watched the Olympics and my husband
keeps banging on about Bradley Wiggins.
I live across the road from the park.
It is just something you will not see again.
The race is not long departed and you might say it is over in a
One thing is for sure, this is a big event for the Council and
they will want to host it time it time and time again.
I know today is the culmination of the investment that
has been put in by Rhondda Cynon Taff Council and the Welsh
Government, to bring the event here to Rhondda Cynon Taff.
It is hotly contested amongst many counties
Others may not be so happy to see some of the entourage return.
One Welsh cyclist having a close call with the Team Sky coach.
They've apologised, calling it unacceptable.
The Tour left Wales for Bath today, a 205km ride finished in just hours.
Rhondda Cynon Taff Council will be hoping the clear up
There is more dry weather to come tomorrow but we have some rain in
the forecast. Aberystwyth was the warmest place yesterday, 26 Celsius.
Cool and fresh today, only 18 Celsius with a brisk breeze. This
evening, we have got a change. Showers will spread across the
country. Further scattered showers overnight. My but not as a humid and
close as it has been. Quite breezy at the coast. Tomorrow we've got a
developing area of low pressure over the Atlantic. That will move
bringing in some wet and windy weather to the north and west of the
British Isles. Here is depiction of eight o'clock in the morning. Not
too bad that the stage. They will be some clouds around but bright in
places. Light winds but breezy in the west on the coast. Tomorrow
morning, the best part of the day. More dry weather into the afternoon
but one or two showers likely in places. Rain will reach the far
north and west towards tea-time. The wind increasing true, gale force in
the Northwest. Ghosts up to 60 mph. Temperatures little higher than
today. The humidity rising. Rain will spill across the whole country
in the evening, some of it heavy. By the end of the night, the north and
west, most of mid Wales should be dry. The wind falling light. On
Saturday, they might be a little rain in the south-east at times but
that'll clear. A decent day, dry and bright with a little sunshine.
Cooler and fresh again. The BBC Proms in the park is taking part --
placing Colwyn Bay. Take a blanket, it will turn cool. Cindy's forecast
keeps changing. It's all hinges on this low over the Atlantic. I think
a chance of dry weather with increasing winds. I should have a
better idea tomorrow. Changeable over the next few days, some dry and
bright weather but some rain and wind as well.
More GP surgeries here are either closing or being taken
by their local health boards than ever before.
And according to figures seen by this programme, which were
gathered by the grassroots organisation GP Survival,
I'll be back with a quick update at 8.00pm and more
The stars are out for a glittering night of awards,
who've dedicated their lives to helping others...