LLANELLI’S MP and AM have warned health bosses not to discount the feelings of local people opposing the downgrade of Prince Phillip Hospital.
The final results of Hywell Dda Health Board’s formal consultation make clear that people from Carmarthenshire are opposed to downgrading Prince Philip Hospital, as are NHS staff from across the health board. The consultation received 5,395 questionnaire responses, as well as five petitions were received with almost 51,000 signatures.
Local MP Nia Griffith said: “The results of Hywel Dda Health Board’s hospital consultation reveal overwhelming opposition to the proposal that downgrades Prince Philip Hospital amongst the 5,000+ people who completed the questionnaire. Support was strongest for retaining a general hospital in Llanelli, with many pointing out that any downgrade here would force Llanelli residents to go to Morriston and increase pressure on Swansea’s health board.
The results also reveal huge concern about locating any new hospital between Narberth and St Clears due to the difficulties of travelling there and recruitment. I will write to Hywel Dda to reiterate these points and continue the fight to keep a proper general hospital at Prince Philip and the fullest possible range of services here in Llanelli.”
Lee Waters, the Assembly Member for the Llanelli constituency, added:
“There’s been growing local scepticism that health board managers have already made their mind up about the future shape of our local hospitals and this latest statement just adds to people’s cynicism. They say that people from Carmarthenshire are opposed to downgrading Prince Philip Hospital, as are NHS staff from across the health board. But add that the final decision “will not be determined by numbers alone” and that centralising services will ‘maximise resources available for investment”. They also say “the benefits of adopting the most cost-effective option shouldn’t be understated given the ongoing financial pressures and increasing needs of an ageing population” and a recommended way forward will be “led by clinicians”.
“This consultation report feels like a softening up exercise for an announcement on 26th September that they favour a downgrade of Prince Phillip. If they are daft enough to go against the feelings of the people of Llanelli and their own staff then Nia and I will vigorously oppose them”, Lee said.