08/09/2016 BBC Wales Today


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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...


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