A health board citing a lack of permanent A&E consultants as the reason for centralising services, has yet to post an advert for one according to a Freedom of Information request.
Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board have posted job adverts for six consultants posts in A&E since they were formed at the beginning of April last year and they have all been for locum positions. The Freedom of Information revealed the adverts were posted between June and December of last year and offered salaries upwards of £87k per annum.
Health board bosses have admitted that employing locum consultants is more expensive than employing permanent consultants.
Ms Wood said: “These figures show what has been done – or more accurately, what has not been done – to get permanent consultants into our Accident and Emergency department at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital.
“The general rule in any organisation is; if a particular position needs to be filled, it has to be advertised. We know permanent A&E consultants are hard to come by – no one is denying that – but the task is impossible without active recruitment in the first place.
“There now needs to be a concerted effort to recruit permanent A&E consultants to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital to give it a chance of not only maintaining 24-hour A&E but improving it.”
Ms Wood added: “The arguments put forward by the health board and the Labour Government in Wales are being dismantled. This is why people are getting angry with the health board and with Labour Ministers.
“We were told that the decision to downgrade our A&E has been led by clinicians but we have seen doctors and nurses voice significant opposition to the changes. The health chiefs and Labour Ministers also told us that consultant recruitment is practically impossible. This has proven false when figures have been obtained showing other health boards without threats to their A&E departments have managed to boost A&E consultant numbers.
“The lack of any advertising for permanent consultants in A&E further weakens this argument. The health board cannot claim that something is difficult or impossible if they haven’t even tried.
“I am sure that recruitment would become a lot easier if the South Wales Programme was changed to remove references to the downgrading of our A&E. This would take the ‘soon-to-be closed’ sign off the A&E department front door and would give prospective consultants the safeguards on job security they no doubt look for.”
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