Responding to a leaked document showing Hywel Dda health board is considering the closure of Glangwili hospital in Carmarthen, Prince Phillip hospital in Llanelli and Withybush hospital in Haverfordwest, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have called for local hospitals and rural health services to be protected.
The leaked document includes nine options for re-organising health services in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. Seven of these options include closing at least one hospital, with five of the options including closing Withybush hospital.
One option would involve closing Glangwili, Prince Phillip and Withybush and replacing them with a new hospital in an unspecified location. None of the options include closing Bronglais in Aberystwyth. The nine options are currently all under consideration, with Hywel Dda due to release a shorter list of its preferred options to the public in the Spring.
Andrew Lye, Chair of Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire Liberal Democrats said:
People across Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire will rightly be alarmed to hear that Hywel Dda is considering closing one or even all of their hospitals. These hospitals are a vital part of their communities and are essential to the provision of quality local healthcare. We recognise that these options are under consideration and no decision has yet been made, but we urge Hywel Dda to swiftly rule out hospital closures.
The reality is that Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire are sparse, rural areas. Hospital closures would force residents to travel substantial distances for treatment, adding unnecessary stress and financial cost to patients and their families. This is particularly concerning for those reliant on public transport who would be forced to trust that bus services aren’t reduced in future.
Welsh Labour have frequently falsely claimed that only they can be trusted with the NHS, despite the current winter crisis and their legacy of missed targets, excessive waiting times and health board deficits. The Welsh Government must back up their rhetoric by making sure that no option is pursued that compromises patient safety or resident’s ability to access services.