SAVE our Services at Prince Philip Action Network (SOSPPAN) has sprung into action in response to Hywel Dda Health Board’s proposal to downgrade Prince Philip Hospital. The SOSPPAN committee, which led a campaign against the proposed closure of the Llanelli’s A&E in 2013, is organising a public meeting on Saturday 12th May at 3.30pm in the Selwyn Samuel Centre.
The option of downgrading Prince Philip from a general to a community hospital was included in the Health Board’s consultation on the future of healthcare provision in the Hywel Dda area. SOSPPAN will be coordinating a series of campaign events over the 12-week consultation period to oppose this option and demonstrate public support for Llanelli’s hospital.
Hospital campaigners Shaun Greaney and Adrian Morgan, who started a petition to ‘Save Our Hospital’, will be attending the meeting on 12th May.
Tony Flatley, the Secretary of SOSPPAN, said: “The time has come once again to fight to save our hospital. I for one am delighted that we will be fighting under the SOSPPAN banner.
“Back in 2013 when the Health Board wanted to completely shut our A&E service, we organised thousands of people to attend public meetings, rallies and even a protest on the steps of the Welsh Assembly. Now, five years on, we’re ready to do the same to save Prince Philip Hospital.”
Nia Griffith MP, who worked with SOSPPAN on the 2013 campaign, said: “Prince Philip Hospital is a vital asset for people living in Llanelli and surrounding communities. It has recently received Welsh Government investment, and, despite the challenges facing the health service, it is a success story.
“It is completely unacceptable for the Health Board to propose downgrading the hospital that serves Llanelli, which is the largest town in the Hywel Dda area. Llanelli residents in need of healthcare simply cannot be expected to travel miles, which for many people is extremely difficult.
“I’m glad that SOSPPAN will be taking on the mantle of coordinating opposition to Hywel Dda’s proposal to downgrade Prince Philip. Collectively, we will be sending the message loudly and clearly to the Health Board that we will not tolerate any reduction in hospital services here in Llanelli.
“I’m looking forward to joining SOSPPAN and the people of Llanelli in the fight to save our hospital.”
Lee Waters AM added: “I’m bitterly disappointed by the proposals that Hywel Dda have published. For the last two years they’ve been telling me that they regard Llanelli’s Prince Philip hospital as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the Health Board, and now one of the options they’re considering is to downgrade our General Hospital to a Community Hospital!
“I’ve made it clear to the Health Board and to the Health Minister that there is no way that I will support downgrading our hospital. This is a non-starter and will close down the debate about the very real pressures within our NHS. But now that they have raised it, we’ll fight it to the teeth.
“I will be working with SOSPPAN to fight for Prince Philip. I’m confident that people will speak with one voice in rejecting the idea of downgrading our hospital.”
If anyone would like to get involved with SOSPPAN or the event on 12th May, please contact Cllr Suzy Curry (firstname.lastname@example.org).