Anger at 'useless' A&E at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr

Socialist Party campaigns for a proper A&E

"What a waste of money!"

Marching for the NHS in Wales

Its Saturday morning in Caerphilly and again the Socialist Party stall calling for a proper A&E at the newly opened Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr is surrounded by an angry crowd.

"They said 'what did you come HERE for?' when I went to the A&E at the hospital" says a man who had been in a car accident and was feeling unwell the following day, "I said 'because its my local hospital and this is the A&E department!'" shaking his head in disbelief. "They said I had to go to the Heath hospital in Cardiff. What's the point of building a new hospital and then refusing to treat people at the A&E? It was much better at the Caerphilly Miners’."

We are getting used to similar stories and we explain again the background to why we are campaigning for a proper A&E at Ystrad Fawr: when the new hospital at Ystrad Fawr was built it replaced the Caerphilly Miners' hospital at the same time that the cuts were being made. So the doctors working in the A&E at Caerphilly Miners' were cut out and the “Local emergency department” became a nurse-led minor injuries unit.

Patients cannot even have stitches in cuts at Ystrad Fawr or breaks put in plaster. One man had a heart attack outside the hospital and was taken by ambulance straight to the Royal Gwent hospital in Newport 15 miles away. “Its not a hospital – its a clinic” said one woman signing our petition repeating the complaint of hundreds before her. We waited years for the new hospital and several local hospitals were closed to be replaced by Ystrad Fawr, now local people feel they have been conned.

And hospital workers are disgusted by the new ‘hospital’ too: “I was proud to say I worked at the Caerphilly Miners’” says a theatre nurse “but I’m ashamed of Ystrad Fawr”.

Other nurses explain that they are run off their feet at the new hospital because instead of multi-occupancy wards there are single rooms so it is harder for them to keep an eye on elderly patients: they have to walk miles further every day with the same or less nurses on duty. Many people in the Rhymney Valley believe that the hospital was built with single rooms to allow work for private health to be done there.

£81 million pound over two years is being cut from the Aneurin Bevan Local Health Board’s budget covering the area by the Welsh government. The Con Dem government is getting the lion-share of the blame for the cutbacks but people are slowly realising that the Welsh Labour government with its plan for centralising hospital services is also to blame. Welsh Labour plans to cover the whole of South Wales with a population of 2 million covering 2,500 square miles with just four Accident and Emergency Departments!

If health chiefs want to find out what people think of that plan then let them come to Caerphilly!

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