Save Prince Phillip's A & E!

We can defeat these proposals

The proposals for Prince Phillip Hospital are scandalous. The closure of the A & E unit in Llanelli will mean patients having to travel to Carmarthen, Swansea or even Haverfordwest. It will mean journeys of at least 45 minutes to one hour. People will die. Many will pass Prince Phillip Hospital on their way!

Already doctors have revealed how patients requiring urgent treatment have been left waiting overnight at Prince Philip Hospital because no beds were available at Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen. If the proposals for PPH are carried out the situation will get worse.

Yet, the Hywel Dda Health Trust claim the vast majority of patients should be cared for closer to home! This is the Trust which has appointed Sir Jonathan Asbridge, of Rochdale Primary Care Trust, at 1,000 pounds a day to oversee these changes. At Rochdale, both he and Hywel Dda's current chief executive Trevor Purt, pushed through controversial plans which led to Rochdale Infirmary being replaced by an urgent care centre. This mirrors the current proposal for Llanelli.

Only last week senior medical staff at Bronglais Hospital in Aberystwyth sent a letter of 'no confidence' in the Board to the Health Minister, Lesley Griffiths, among others, stating they do not believe the board is committed to delivering services locally and that its plans are contrary to those agreed with medical staff. Pressure is mounting to reject the Health Board's proposals. The people of Llanelli have to defeat these proposals, which were given the go ahead from Welsh Labour's plans for the NHS in Wales, and the fightback is building.

Demonstrations, petitions and meetings have flooded the area. The march and rally organised by Llanelli Trades Council can galvanize the strength of feeling in the area. The sense of anger and outrage must not be allowed to dissipate. A united campaign of all those opposed to health service cuts must be built, involving health trade unions, patients, anti-cuts groups and health professionals to defend Prince Philip Hospital.

These proposals are only the thin end of the wedge and could lead to the complete break up of the NHS in Wales. The battle to defend the NHS is also part of the wider fight to oppose all cuts, defend pensions, oppose job losses in the public and private sectors. The Socialist Party is committed to building a united opposition to the rotten health boards, councils and governments that tell working people there is no alternative, but to accept cuts.

We call on the Welsh Assembly Government, both Labour and Plaid, to refuse to implement cuts and instead introduce a 'needs budget', which will protect jobs and services in the interests of service users and staff.

This is OUR NHS and we are not going to let it be sacrificed for interests of the bankers or the system they represent.

Rob Owen

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