I attended the Local Health Board meeting on Monday morning, to hear for myself the plans the Health Board have for reconfiguring services at Prince Philip Hospital and to establish how Llanelli fits into what the Chair of the Board termed the ‘rural’ health plan for west Wales.
I am disappointed that despite the lengthy engagement process, the unanimous concern of Llanelli people and the discussions that I have had with Hywel Dda LHB management, that greater consideration has not been given to retaining even the service the Accident and Emergency unit offers today.
We all recognise that some services are better provided in centres of excellence and I welcome the Health Board choosing Prince Philip to continue to provide and enhance Breast care and Orthopaedic surgery.
But, I share the view of the majority of people in Llanelli – a nurse-led unit is simply not good enough for a town the size of Llanelli. Whilst I welcome emergency admissions will continue, if the current plan goes ahead, who will assume responsibility for admitting patients? Surely that is a clinical decision best made by a doctor or consultant.
Over the years and before my election to the National Assembly, Prince Philip Hospital has been stripped of services that now leave us with a hospital of a lower spec than Glangwili, Withybush or Bronglais. Enough is enough. I will continue to work alongside SOSPPAN and our MP to ensure accident and emergency services, befitting of a town the size of Llanelli are maintained. The fight is not over yet.