Public meeting: Selwyn Samuel Centre

THE campaign to save Prince Philip Hospital from a downgrade has ramped up, with over 200 people attending a public meeting on Saturday and street stalls appearing all over Llanelli.

Save Our Services Prince Philip Action Network (SOSPPAN) is fighting Hywel Dda Health Board’s proposal to turn Prince Philip into a community hospital. The cross-party campaign group organised a packed public meeting in the Selwyn Samuel Centre last Saturday, which was attended by Llanelli’s MP and AM – Nia Griffith and Lee Waters – and key hospital campaigners.

Nia Griffith MP, who addressed the meeting, said: “It was good to see so many people gathered to send a clear message to the Health Board: hands off our hospital.

“The idea of downgrading Prince Philip Hospital is a complete non-starter. Llanelli is the largest town in the Hywel Dda area and simply must be served by a proper general hospital. The reality is that we need more services here, not less.

“It is vital that Llanelli’s voice is heard loudly and clearly, so we need as many people as possible to respond to Hywel Dda’s consultation and get involved in the campaign.”

Cllr Louvain Roberts, Chair of SOSPPAN, added: “We are running street stalls in the towns and villages served by Llanelli’s hospital to get the message out about the consultation.

“I would encourage everyone to complete Hywel Dda’s questionnaire. We on the SOSPPAN committee are backing ‘Proposal B’, as this would keep Prince Philip as a general hospital and has a chance of success. However, it is also vital that we have closer working with Swansea so Llanelli residents can access the A&E at Morriston Hospital when they need to.”

Deputy Mayor Cllr Suzy Curry, who is SOSPPAN’s organiser, pointed out to the meeting that Hywel Dda had only ordered 10,000 consultation documents for a population of 400,000. “If you control how many go out”, she said, “you effectively control how many come back.”

In his speech to the over 200 attendees, Lee Waters AM said: “First of all, let me just be very, very clear – I do not, and will not, support the downgrading of our hospital. It’s ridiculous. For a town of our size, we need a proper hospital. And that, for me, is not negotiable.”

At the meeting, Vice-Chair of SOSPPAN Cllr Deryk Cundy gave a presentation on the history of hospital services in Llanelli. He recalled SOSPPAN’s campaign to save Llanelli’s A&E in 2012, which resulted in a world-leading urgent care centre being developed at Prince Philip Hospital.

SOSPPAN volunteers will be handing out consultation forms near the EE shop in Llanelli town centre on Thursdays and Saturdays from 10.30am to 12.30pm over the next few weeks. Anyone looking to get involved in the campaign and help run SOSPPAN street stalls in their local area should contact Suzy Curry (07561 566456 or suzycurry1@gmail.com).

Copies of the consultation document can be requested from the offices of Nia Griffith MP (nia.griffith.mp@parlimanet.uk) and Lee Waters AM (lee.waters@assembly.wales). The questionnaire can also be completed online by following this link: https://www.ors.org.uk/web/index.php/survey/index/sid/751664/newtest/Y/lang/en

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