Plaid Cymru politicians representing Gwynedd and Ynys Môn in the Senedd and Westminster have called on the Welsh Labour Government to undertake an urgent and comprehensive impact assessment of the effects of moving vascular services eastwards on patients living in the most rural parts of the counties.
Arfon’s Siân Gwenllian AM and Hywel Williams MP and Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP Liz Saville Roberts’s call comes a month after Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board reneged on a pledge to keep the world-renowned emergency vascular service at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor, performing a dramatic u-turn on a promise to safeguard the well-established in-patient and limb salvage service. Their calls have been echoed by Plaid AM for Ynys Môn, Rhun ap Iorwerth.
The Plaid Cymru representatives who have been at the forefront of a campaign opposing the downgrading of vascular services at Ysbyty Gwynedd are now calling for an urgent review into the effects downgrading the service will have on patients living in the farthest corners of the counties, who will now face added challenges to accessing emergency care provision.
Plaid Cymru Arfon’s Siân Gwenllian AM and Hywel Williams MP said,
‘We’ve now had written confirmation from the Labour Minister for Health that they have no plans to keep emergency vascular services at Ysbyty Gwynedd, despite earlier assurances that the service would be safeguarded.’
‘Local GPs in our constituency was given a guarantee that vascular surgery and emergency admissions would be maintained at Bangor, providing full support for emergency patients and in-patients.’
‘This latest announcement is a complete reversal of policy and BCUHB and the Welsh Government have simultaneously broken their promise to local people whilst pushing ahead with cumulative attempts at downgrading services at Ysbyty Gwynedd.’
‘If the Welsh Government persist with plans to remove emergency provisions from Ysbyty Gwynedd then they must, without delay, publish a comprehensive impact assessment of the effects of withdrawing these services on patients living in rural parts of the county.’
‘Those living in isolated communities who already face significant challenges in accessing healthcare will doubtless bear the brunt of moving this service further away from their reach, putting patients at risk if this agenda of shifting vital services eastwards persists.’
Liz Saville Roberts MP said,
‘People living in the farthest corners of my rural constituency such as the Llŷn Peninsula or the coastal communities of south Meirionnydd will be alarmed to learn that emergency vascular services at Ysbyty Gwynedd are being shifted further eastwards to Glan Clwyd.’
‘Any downgrading of services at Ysbyty Gwynedd seems illogical, ill-conceived and ignorant of the geography of rural Wales, especially given some of the distances people in Dwyfor Meirionnydd already have to travel to access current services.’
‘This in itself is an arduous journey but when dealing with medical emergencies, it is unacceptable and an unnecessary strain to place on patients and their worried families.’
‘The extra travel involved coupled with perennial concerns about the availability of ambulances in our most rural communities is an unacceptable burden which I fear could be dangerous to health and even life-threatening in serious cases.’
Plaid Cymru AM for Ynys Môn Rhun ap Iorwerth added,
‘My constituents continue to have concerns that changes to services will have a serious impact on vascular patients–not only for the extra distance that they should need to travel but also because they trust in the exceptional service that is currently offered at Bangor.’