Minister must ‘do the right thing’ and take control
The Community Health Council in North Wales must listen to public opinion and refer the Betsi Cadwaladr health board plans to reconfigure services in North Wales to the Health Minister. That was the message of Plaid Cymru today as it considered how best to represent the views of Welsh patients in the debate over the uncertain future of the NHS in Wales.
Speaking on the day after the Community Health Council for North Wales met to discuss how it would respond to the health board’s plans, the party’s AM for the region Llyr Gruffydd argued that the council should now press on the Minister to show leadership and choose to either stand by her health boards, or listen to the views of the people.
The Party of Wales AM for North Wales Llyr Gruffydd said:
“It is obvious that across Wales, there is significant opposition to the plans that have been put forward by the local health boards. In North Wales, there is considerable concern about the planned closure of community hospitals and relocation of neonatal services to England. The Community Health Council must take decisions on the efficient use of money and the delivery of safe, sustainable services, and I don’t believe that either is being delivered by the plans which were announced by the health boards.
“Hundreds of local people, professional bodies and medical professionals have raised their concerns with the health board and the Minister, but these have been largely ignored in the plans that have been proposed. As a result the people of North Wales have lost confidence in the health board, and the health service in North Wales has been destabilised. Staff have been demoralised and patients have become extremely concerned, and it is now imperative that the Minister fronts the debate and shows some leadership.
“The Party of Wales has been at the front of this debate making the case for local people. We always warned that the Labour Government would allow a programme of centralisation but they always denied that this would happen. The Community Health Council now needs to do the right thing and refer the plans to the Health Minister. It is time for the Health Minister to tell us whether she stands by the health board, or if she will use her power to put an end to these damaging plans.”