The Rhondda AM has secured a commitment from the Labour Government in Wales to continue with a consultant-led Accident and Emergency at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in “the future.”
Leanne Wood was grilling the Labour First Minister in the National Assembly for Wales after being approached by a number of concerned patients and staff regarding the possibility of A&E being removed from the Llantrisant district general hospital.
After writing to the Labour Health Minister regarding the issue, Ms Wood decided to put Mark Drakeford on the spot during First Minister’s Questions.
She said: “As far as I and many thousands of others living in the Rhondda are concerned, we are best served by having a 24 hour consultant-led accident and emergency department operating out of the Royal Glamorgan Hospital.
“As we've seen with the centralisation of maternity services in Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, it's not a panacea for the deep-rooted problems faced by the Welsh NHS, namely understaffed and overworked personnel.
“With the centralisation of paediatric services currently on ice, surely this means that this Labour experiment now has to be over. I was told last week that a statement from the health Minister on 2 July on the task and finish group on critical care's report would be an appropriate time to raise the future of A&E at the Royal Glamorgan.
“I'm afraid I and the people of the Rhondda, not to mention concerned staff who have approached me, want assurances—not just assurances but guarantees—before then that our nearest accident and emergency department is to stay where it is and that it will not go the same way as the maternity department did. Will you now provide those assurances to my Rhondda constituents?”
The First Minister replied: “I thank the Member for that. I've had the benefit of seeing her letter to the health Minister, and I can say to the Member this: there has been no removal of emergency department consultants from the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, nor have such consultant posts been removed from the hospital at any time. Four whole-time-equivalent consultant posts remain at the Royal Glamorgan emergency department.
“Where people move on, and people do get new jobs and go further in their careers, those posts will be replaced. They will be replaced, we hope, by substantive posts, and a number of expressions of interest for vacancies at the Royal Glamorgan have already been received and are being considered by the health board.
“If we have to fill those posts on a temporary basis by locum appointments, then that's what we will do. That is the future for that emergency department, and I'm very glad to have had the opportunity to put that on the record here this afternoon.”
Afterwards, Leanne added: “I welcome these assurances from the Labour First Minister. He stopped short of guaranteeing the permanent presence of a consultant-led A&E department in the long-term so I will continue to monitor the situation and respond accordingly in order to do what I can to ensure the hospital serving the Rhondda continues to have consultants within A&E.
“I thank the concerned people of the Rhondda and staff at the hospital that approached me in recent weeks and months to express their concern about the future of the hospital. Their interventions has had a positive effect.”
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