Cwm Taf, in common with the other Health Boards involved in the South Wales Programme looking at reorganisation of health services, met this morning to discuss their response to the recommendations of the Programme Board.
Despite a huge response to the consultation in favour or retaining services at the Royal Glamorgan hospital the proposal remains to remove several critical care services from that hospital including severe trauma and, perhaps most controversially consultant led maternity and neo natal services.
Cwm Taf University Health Board today voted to accept the recommendations of the South wales programme.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor Mike Powell, who was present as an observer at the meeting said:
"The people of Pontypridd and the Rhondda will be disappointed with the decision of Cwm Taf to seemingly roll over and allow services to disappear from the Royal Glamorgan hospital.
"RCT Welsh Lib Dems have been very supportive of the need for change but have always said that back up services must be in place first. Whilst there was some discussion of this at the meeting it was also clear that there is no real implementation plan in place.
"The Board stressed that they would not be happy to proceed unless there were to be improvements in public transport, and a substantial investment in primary care and community services. There is also concern about the ambulance service with RCT constantly having been at or near the bottom of the league table when it comes to ambulance response times for the past two years at least. Yet there is nothing to suggest these will be forthcoming.
"The proposals are based on having five critical care hospitals in place. One of those is the new hospital that is planned for Cwmbran, but this has yet to be given the go ahead. Action is needed from the Labour Health Minister as a matter of urgency if these plans are not to flounder before they really get under way."
The meeting involved a great deal of discussion about a new "alliance" to put a formal structure in place to ensure cross border co-operation between health boards. RCT Welsh Liberal Democrat Campaign Manager Karen Roberts said this sounded like yet another layer of bureaucracy
"We already have Community Health Councils and Health Boards - now there is talk of yet another layer of governance to co-ordinate the work of those health boards. Presumably with another highly paid Chair at the helm?
"I am sure members of the public will find it difficult to understand why these artificial borders exist to begin with - surely a National Health Service by its very nature should look at the health of the country as a whole.
"The headline proposals which have been accepted will all rely on the reshaping of other services in order to bring about the required improvements. It needs a root and branch review if that is to happen not the piecemeal changes which we are seeing. The Welsh Labour Government needs to get to grips with the problems in the Health Service as a matter of urgency."