Welsh Conservatives have reaffirmed their opposition to hospital downgrades, cuts in the number of hospital beds and community service closures, ahead of Hywel Dda local health board’s decisions on reconfiguration.
Confirmation of proposals to change the way services are delivered in west Wales are expected tomorrow. North Wales is due to follow later this week.
Welsh Conservatives have previously branded Hywel Dda’s plans ‘completely unacceptable’.
The group has also raised concerns over the wording of reports produced by Opinion Research Services (for Hywel Dda and Betsi Cadwaladr Health Boards) on the results of statutory consultations. In each document, wording suggests more weight should be given to a ‘household survey’, despite the much larger number of responses to an ‘open questionnaire’.
There is significant opposition to many proposals in each consultation, while responses differ between the open questionnaire and household survey.
Shadow Minister for Health, Darren Millar AM, said:
“This is D-Day for healthcare across west Wales.
“It remains completely unacceptable and wholly irresponsible to wrench local services away from patients and I hope the health board will put an end to those fears.
“NHS reforms are being driven by financial pressures brought on solely by Labour’s record-breaking cuts to the health budget.
“I remain extremely concerned that decision makers appear to be encouraged to pay more regard to household surveys than open questionnaire responses. This is an insult to people who have taken the time to respond to these consultations and I urge both health boards to disregard this advice.”
Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire Assembly Member Angela Burns said:
“These unwanted proposals have led to many months of constant worry and fear for thousands.
“It is my sincere hope that NHS bosses have listened very carefully to these concerns and will come up with a plan that does not decimate our healthcare system.
“It would be an absolute tragedy if Labour’s slash and burn approach to NHS finances leads to hospital downgrades and service closures.”
Preseli Pembrokeshire Assembly Member Paul Davies said:
“An axe has been swinging over local hospital services and beds for many months and I hope that will now be permanently withdrawn.
“No local service should be pulled away from patients and our determined opposition to any plan to do so will continue.”