Here is a press release signed by Dr William Roberts of the aBer Campaign Group:
We are pleased that Services at Bronglais hospital which were under threat some months ago, now appear to be secure, thanks to the people of Mid Wales who went to Cardiff to protest [over 850 of them] and the Hospital Consultants who were prepared to write to the Minister. We are however sorry that this would appear to be at the cost of services at Llanelli. We do not think that this is a proper way to run a Health Service.
The Services threatened were General Surgery, Accident and Emergency, Trauma and Orthopaedics, and Chemotherapy all of which will now be delivered at Bronglais.
Major Colo Rectal Surgery will also continue at Bronglais, but the Board is saying that minor laparoscopic surgery in the speciality will take place at Withybush hospital. We say that all aspects of this particular speciality should be undertaken at Bronglais.
The Board's Obstetric Strategy remains to care for pregnant women at higher risk in a centre in the South. However the Board now admits that this option may not be sustainable. We think that this is a more realistic view and support the concept of an Obstetric Unit in the South and a much strengthened Consultant led and indeed delivered service at Bronglais. We note that the Board uses the 2008 RCOG report as its reason to seek to centralize these services. Somewhat illogically, it omits to mention that the report at its end advocates two exceptional small units of which Bronglais is one, which it commends and as a safe and desirable way of delivering modern quality obstetric service in the context of rurality. This is what we now seek with a Paediatric unit which was present, fully reinstated with the 4 baby beds described in the 2008 RCOG report rather than the overnight provision currently offered.
We call for the return of the Mental Health in-patient facility beds, recently closed for staffing reasons, to Bronglais as a matter of urgency.
Hywel Dda Board is saying that it intends to close both Tregaron and Aberaeron Hospitals. We contend that these units should stay open in the same way as we would protest any closure of wards at Bronglais. We give as our reason the Board's stated promise that no change in service provision will occur without safe and viable alternatives being provided. This brings us to the Board's strategy for the Community which we argue is not deliverable. We say this as the Board has already admitted elsewhere that General Medical Practitioner manpower in its area is problematic. There is an aging GP population who find it hard to recruit. They are fully stretched - witness the cry for more GP Appointments across Wales, along with less waiting times for those appointments. These doctors are fully stretched. Where realistically are they to find time to do Minor A. and E., preoperative assessments, and increased care of patients newly released from hospital at an earlier stage than previously was the case. Furthermore, where is the money coming from at a time when the budget is being cut drastically? Buildings will be built and £40m is allocated, but extra will be needed to extend surgeries throughout the area. Equipment will be needed, and more to the point, a large programme of Nurse Education will have to be funded and provided. If all the required resources were now available, which they are not, we estimate five years as the minimum time it will take to create a pan Hywel Dda service of the sort that the Board describes.