NEIL Hamilton, UKIP Leader in Wales and AM for Mid & West Wales, is urging people in Pembrokeshire, to join the fight to save their hospital.
Mr Hamilton, Party Spokesman for Culture, is calling on his constituents to attend a demonstration on Saturday November 3, to show their support against plans to downgrade Withybush General Hospital.
Last month, Hywel Dda University Health Board announced plans to change health care services in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire including the downgrading of the Haverfordwest Hospital.
Mr Hamilton, who has continually spoken out against the recommendation, vowed to support the protest when he met with campaigners who are fighting plans to remove vital services from Withybush Hospital.
“I fully support the campaign to retain all services at Withybush Hospital and I am very concerned about future health service plans for Pembrokeshire.
“Understandably, people feel very passionate about their health provision and, in Pembrokeshire, many feel they are neglected by health providers and their needs are not being properly catered for.
“We have a national health service, but the NHS is nothing if it is not also a local service. You only have to look at a map to see the difficult geography of the Hywel Dda catchment area. Pembrokeshire projects into the sea and the distances people have to travel for hospital provision are huge. Pembrokeshire feel they are drifting further and further from the centre of operations and are in danger of becoming the ‘poor relations’ compared with neighbouring Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion
“It is obvious that people want hospital services close to where they live. In rural areas, where transport links are poor, poverty levels are and age profile are higher than average, people have a right to expect that their main services are accessible within a reasonable distance.
“Hywel Dda is in ‘targeted intervention’ which means it is still under the supervision of the Cabinet Secretary for Health. Welsh Government cannot ignore the genuine concerns of the local people.”
Health Board, Chief Executive, Steve Moore said they believed the recommendations offered the best chance to deal with the fragility the NHS faces and to provide the population with safe, effective care which meets their needs.
Clinicians and staff will now be working with the public and other organisations to bring the additional detail together into a draft Health Strategy to put before public Health Board at the end of November.
The Save A&E and Services Rally, is being held outside Withybush Hospital, Haverfordwest, on Saturday November 3 from 12noon – 2pm.