By a member of Pembrokeshire Socialist Party
After a series of “consultation and engagement” events, Hywel Dda University health board has recently announced its plans to transform the way in which people in Carmarthenshire , Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion will receive healthcare provision in the future and its twenty year “vision” to achieve this and to “repurpose” healthcare in West Wales.
Hywel Dda University Health Board provides healthcare for the populations of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, geographically this covers a large swathe of Mid and west Wales and serves a population of over 382,000 people which is the equivalent of many large UK cities. These are static populations and in the light of the area being a popular tourist destination may increase in a drastic way particularly during the summer holiday period.
Although mainly rural there are also major industrial sites in the area, including Power Station and Oil Refineries and storage facilities. It also has two major ports with links to Ireland.
The plans detail the following;
- a business case to be made for a new hospital in the south of Hywel Dda (somewhere between Narberth and St Clears) to provide specialist urgent and emergency care services and planned care
- hospital services to be retained and developed at Bronglais Hospital.
- acute medicine (hospital services that need medical input) to be retained at Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli, following recent modernisation of services developed with the local community and serving a densely populated area
- “re-purposing” Glangwili (Carmarthen) and Withybush (Haverfordwest) hospitals to support community health needs including overnight beds, day case procedures, out-patient and walk-in services such as minor injuries.
As it can be seen from the above the main areas affected are Pembrokeshire and the part of Carmarthenshire that covers Carmarthen and its immediate surroundings and would mean the closure of many services presently provided and the closure of the accident and emergency departments on both sites.
Locally pressure groups have been set up in Haverfordwest and Carmarthen as it can be seen that they are the most affected by the changes. There was a pressure group in Llanelli who protested the closure of the accident and emergency department in 2014 which impacted on the number of attendees at Swansea’s already busy Morriston Hospital A & E department.
Disappointingly it appears that that these groups are working in isolation and more worryingly it has seen the opportunistic posturing of both UKIP and the Welsh Conservatives with local MP Stephen Crabb who have relished photo opportunities with the Save Withybush action group but have offered little in the way of alternatives other than blaming the Blairite-led Welsh government for the problem.
The Socialist Party believes Cuts in NHS healthcare provision by Hywel Dda University Health Board should be opposed in whatever location they are proposed.
- Fight to save services in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire and to keep accident and emergency debarments at Withybush and Glangwilli Hospitals
- For a Socialist NHS to care for everyone’s health needs, free at the point of use and under democratic control.
- Kick out the private contractors.