More than 100 people crammed into Porth Harlequins RFC for a Plaid Cymru-organised meeting on the future of A&E at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital.
Passions were running high at the packed out meeting which was chaired by Rhondda AM Leanne Wood AM and featured senior management from Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board.
During the first hour of the meeting, the health chiefs put forward their case for removing consultant-led services from the Royal Glamorgan’s A&E department. People in the audience were then given their opportunity to grill Cwm Taf’s interim Chief Executive Sharon Hopkins, Chairman Marcus Longley and Medical Director Nick Lyons.
The second half of the meeting - without the health board’s top management - concentrated on how to take the campaign forward in order to save A&E services. Campaigners resolved to collect as many signatures on an Assembly petition to secure a Senedd debate and organise a Senedd demonstration to show the strength of feeling in areas served by the hospital.
There was also an impassioned and loudly applauded defence of the A&E department of the Royal Glamorgan by a nurse who works there.
Afterwards, Leanne said: “Understandably emotions were running high during the meeting because people consider the proposed changes as making the difference between life and death in an emergency. People got an opportunity to grill health board chiefs and they grasped that opportunity with both hands.
“There was also a lot of positivity and resolve to fight any plans which would see consultant-led provision removed from the Royal Glamorgan Hospital. People unanimously agreed to fight wholeheartedly for retaining 24-hour A&E services and reject options which would see that cover weakened.
“We all agreed to sign and share an Assembly petition in order to secure a debate in the Senedd – it’s pleasing to see that the thousands of signatures needed for that has now been passed.
“This means the Labour Health Minister will be compelled to answer questions. You can be sure that Plaid Cymru will be mounting a strong defence for keeping 24 hour consultant-led services at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital A&E department.”
Leanne added: “We have a tough fight ahead of us as we are not just going up against the senior management at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board but we are also going up against the Labour Government in Wales and their centralisation agenda.
“Having said that, if it was down to strength of feeling, determination and passion in the room at Porth Harlequins RFC, then we would win this campaign with ease.
“We must now get organised to ensure we mount the strongest possible case for not just retaining services at the Royal Glamorgan’s A&E department, but strengthening them.”
If you want to support Leanne and Plaid Cymru, please click this link to get involved.