A Llanelli man who camped outside Prince Philip Hospital when it was last threatened with closure has decided that it is time to campaign and pitch his tent again following an announcement on Friday (Mar 2) that the out of hours GP services at the hospital had to be closed through a shortage of GP’s. Adrian Morgans will be setting up camp within the next few days. It follows the decision by Hywel Dda University Health Board to close the out of hours service from 12pm on Sunday (Mar 4).
Joe Tape, Director of Operations at Hywel Dda said: “Our staff are working really hard and are currently prioritising patients with the greatest need first. On behalf of the health board I would like to apologise for this inconvenience and I would like to ask patients to only use the Emergency Department and GP out of hours service when these are really needed. You can also visit your community pharmacist and call NHS Direct on 111 in Carmarthenshire for advice on self care and choosing the right health service.”
Adrian Morgans of Heol Elfed in Llanelli claims that this is just the tip of the iceberg and he has pledged to fight to restore full services and for the future of the out of hours GP services.
His campaign will kick off when he pitches a tent outside Prince Philip Hospital. Speaking to Llanelli Online he said: “I fought before and I am doing it again. I will be starting a petition to try to fight cuts.
Mr Morgans has pledged to fight to restore full services at the hospital. He said: “It is scandalous that vital out of hours services can be shut down at a moments notice forcing patients to travel to Carmarthen or Neath and Port Talbot hospital.
“The out of hours service was left there with the minor injuries unit after the accident and emergency department was downgraded. My fear and suspicion is that the so called lack of doctors is an excuse for more cuts just like they did with A & E.
“Unless people wake up and fight this tooth and nail we could be left with nothing.”
Mr Morgans staged a similar protest for three months when Prince Phillip Hospital’s A & E faced closure and told Llanelli Online that the time was right to highlight his concerns again. Mr Morgans claims that the last time he campaigned he had the support of Llanelli Fire Service, ambulance crews, politicians, and the public.
Mr Morgans claims that the health board were ‘underhanded’ in the way they downgraded A&E. He said: “I think they got away with it because they fooled the people with spin doctors. I believe they are trying to do the same again. They are putting lives at risk. It is very confusing for the public. What if a baby has meningitis? Where do they go for treatment? In the past we were promised a maternity unit. We were promised a children’s ward. But we have had nothing.”
Mr Morgans is now gathering signatures calling for prince Philip to be saved from the axe and he will present them to Llanelli MP Nia Griffith.
Former Llanelli Star reporter Shaun Greaney Aged 53 of Marble Hall Rd who was also involved with reporting the campaign to save A&E services said: Health Service Chief Executives are highly paid to ensure that there are enough doctors to provide health care for the public.
“It is their duty to make sure this happens. No apology for failure is good enough. It must not happen again or people could suffer.
T”he staff at the hospital are wonderful and deserve our support but they have to sort this out double quick.
We are being presented with the worse case scenario to soften people up so less severe cuts would be a reprieve or acceptable my fear is that unless people start kicking sand screaming things are going to go to the wall.
On hearing about the closure Nia Griffith MP said: “I was very concerned indeed to hear that there was no out of hours GP service at Prince Philip Hospital after 12 noon on Sunday due to a GP shortage.
“It is vital that we keep the out of hours GP service open in Llanelli, as it can get treatment started straight away, spot serious symptoms or provide reassurance. No-one should have to take a sick relative all the way to Carmarthen and back, especially in the icy conditions we experienced on the weekend.
“Lee Waters AM and I will be pressing Hywel Dda Health Board to explain how this was allowed to happen and set out what they will do to make sure it does not happen again. They also need to tell us how they are planning to ensure this crucial service remains at Prince Philip Hospital.”