Hywel Dda Consultation from Llanelli Online on Vimeo.

HYWEL Dda Chairman Bernadine Rees OBE received an alternative proposal for changes to hospital services in the Hywel Dda area today, Tuesday (May 22) at the drop in event held at the Selwyn Samuel Centre. Earlier she had said that no change was not an option and ‘If not these three proposals give us some others’. That is exactly what she got as a Plan B+ was handed over by the Llanelli Group SOSPPAN. That proposal suggests

. Prince Philip Hospital remains a general hospital connected to the planned community hub with beds at the Wellness Centre in Llanelli.

. Direct Access to the A & E at Morriston by extending the service level agreement we already have with ABM

. A community hub with beds at Ammanford

. Also importantly PPH to have its own dedicated transport fleet to allow the disadvantage access to services throughout Hywel Dda.

The chairman reassured campaigners that the proposal would be taken back to the health board.

The event attracted a healthy number of people ranging from members of the public to local government representatives. It was their opportunity to present their views on the health board’s proposals.

Tables scattered around the room were occupied with health board representatives as well as representatives from the Welsh Abulance Service and they were all inundated with questions amid lively conversation.

Immediately outside the entrance to the event the organisation SOSPPAN had set up their stall and were encouraging people to sign a petition and send in consultation questionnaires. Cllr Suzy Curry pointed out that she had gone out and purchased a large number of envelopes with freepost labels, which she was handing out to people in order for them to return the questionnaires. The councillor claimed that there were no envelopes available inside the centre. Chairman of HDUHB Bernadine Rees said that she had noted the issue and would feed it back to the health board.

Speaking to Llanelli Online in between hopping from table to table Dr Alan Williams said people had turned up with an open mind keen to know the details. He said:

“I think they have come to terms with the idea that we can’t continue as we are. Access to GP’s is a problem. We haven’t got enough GP’s and it is a national problem. We have not got enough in Wales. The NHS has always relied on immigrants for doctors and I read this week that 1,500 were turned away by the government. A lot of doctors are returning home because of Brexit. Most doctors do the job as a vocation but there are just not enough people coming forward. I appreciate people’s concerns. In my surgery we have less doctors than we used to. We have filled those roles with other services and treatments. In the old days you were in hospital for ten days. You don’t need to spend that time in hospital now. A lot can be done in the community. If we had more doctors there would still be a reason to change because of the changes in the population. People are not going to hospital in their 50’s they are going in their 80’s we are victims of our own success. The unsung heroes in this are our social services and carers. I think the three proposals we have need to be discussed. Carmarthen and Withybush need replacing. Prince Philip is doing an admirable job operating in a modern way.”

Speaking about the issues facing the Welsh Ambulance Service Rob Jeffrey the Operations Manager for the Welsh Ambulance Service for the Hywel Dda Area said:

“There are concerns coming from the consultation. We need to take the patient to the appropriate location. A heart attack would go to Morriston, a major trauma would go to Morriston. We have very clear guidelines about where patients will go to. There is a lot of pressure on the system. There are a lot of patients in hospital because there is no alternative. It is going to be a long term process and in the future less people will be going in to hospital and we will be dealing with the real emergency cases. We need to develop the community structure.”

Speaking about the issue of recruitment he said: “On Saturday we had a recruitment event and we had 85 qualified paramedics who wanted to come and work in Wales. The ambulance service is a commissioned Service. Whatever comes out of this we will have to consider ourselves and submit our response.”

Doctor Phillip Kloer Medical Director of Hywel Dda University Health Board is someone who has spent his life working in the health sector and many years at the Prince Philip Hospital.

Speaking about the event and the importance of community engagement he said:

“It is really good to see so many people here today and have the opportunity to hear their wide ranging views. We need to think about everybody’s issues. I think we are trying to get our message out there and the more we can engage with the public the better. We want to hear from as many people as possible. There are lots of ways people can communicate their feedback to us. These are changes which affect not just this generation but generations to come.”

Chairman of Hywel Dda University Health Board Bernadine Rees said she was happy with the turn out and the level of engagement. She said:

“I am absolutely delighted there are some really constructive discussions with our clinicians. This consultation is as a response to what the public told us last year and what our clinicians are telling us about the sustainability of services in Mid and West Wales. We are out with three proposals and the whole idea of the consultation is to take everything. The richness of the local conversations with everybody. Then do our own analysis, share that with our clinical colleagues and come up with a proposal that has a level of acceptability we can deliver.”

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