Rhondda AM Leanne Wood has called for a re-think on NHS centralisation plans after discovering more than 2,000 homes were given planning permission in Rhondda Cynon Taf in recent years.
Figures obtained by the Plaid Cymru Leader show that since 2014 – when the decision to centralise health services was taken – 2,369 homes have been given planning permission. Using figures from the National Census on the number of people living in the average home, this figures equates to an extra 6,112 people living in RCT.
In 2014, under the then Labour Government in Wales, it was decided that the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant would lose consultants from three major departments; accident and emergency, maternity and paediatrics.
Ms Wood is now asking for the plans to be reconsidered in light of the number of homes that have been built or are scheduled to be built.
“The decision to take away consultant-led services from the Royal Glamorgan was unpopular at the time,” said Ms Wood. “I remember joining hundreds of people marching in Pontypridd town centre in protest at the plans. Many public meetings were also held and I asked many questions of the Labour Government on the floor of the Senedd.
“Despite all our efforts the Labour Government’s wishes to centralise hospital services in Wales went ahead. The Royal Glamorgan hospital was one of those hospitals selected to have consultants taken away.
“Since then, much has changed. Many more homes have been built or given planning permission in RCT. The potential for an extra 6,000 people living in the county borough could have a major impact on health services and I am concerned that the system will be unable to cope unless it is strengthened.
“I am calling on the Labour Government in Wales and the health board to reassess the picture in terms of meeting demand with the proposed model of hospital services in the RCT area.
“In RCT we only have the one district general hospital in the Royal Glamorgan. We all know that there is a lot of pressure on NHS staff as things currently stand and that looks set to get worse.”
Ms Wood added: “Plaid Cymru developed detailed proposals as far back as 2014 to recruit and train more doctors. If the government had listened to and implemented our ambitious ‘1,000 Extra Doctors’ policy – we would have made good progress now towards meeting the needs of patients and easing the burden on an increasingly overworked NHS staff and system.
“There is much more that could be done on this front with the right level of determination, prioritisation and political will.”
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