Bridgend MP Jamie Wallis and regional AM Suzu Davies have joined forces to ensure that the unfolding crisis in emergency care at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital will not result in the A&E department at the Princess of Wales Hospital being overwhelmed.
The Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board is considering replacing the 24-hour consultant-led A&E department at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant with a nurse-led Minor Injuries Unit or a part-time consultant led service operating in the day time with nurse cover at night. No decision has been made yet about which option will be chosen.
Welsh Conservatives Suzy Davies and Jamie Wallis fear that whatever decision is taken, there could be serious consequences for the emergency services provided at the Princess of Wales Hospital.
Jamie Wallis said that he was worried about what would happen to POW if either of the two options for Royal Glamorgan are chosen.
He said: “We already have a department that is stretched to the limit with ambulances stacked up outside unable to discharge patients because there’s no room. What will happen if ambulances from Rhondda start bringing very poorly patients into Bridgend? How will the department cope?
“They talk about carrying out some capital spend to extend the space available but I understand that the problem is the fact that there is no clear pathway through the hospital for patients once they are admitted.
“Many remain trapped in the hospital either because their treatment has not been completed or because the package of care they need for them to go home has not been organised.
“So while they remain, very sick people in A&E waiting for beds have to stay in the department sometimes for as long as 48 hours or more until a bed becomes available and outside, the logjam of ambulances outside goes on.”
Suzy said: “In 2014, the people of Bridgend, backed by their elected representatives including myself, fought to retain the A&E at Princess of Wales which was under threat at the time from the South Wales Programme. The fight to save Bridgend was won and it was decided that the A&E department at Llantrisant would no longer be consultant-led.
“No action was taken on that decision. I was pleased because emergency services at POW are already over-stretched despite a very skilled and highly committed workforce.
“I have seen for myself how busy it gets there and even if the health board can expand the department, I still don’t think it can cope with a diversion of consultant-led work from the Royal Glamorgan.
“The shadow of the South Wales Programme has been hanging over RGH all this time and now the board says that consultant recruitment has been impossible.
“No wonder. Young doctors and others seeking promotion were not going to throw their lot in with a department which appeared to have no future. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy with the department almost closing itself.
“The argument that it is hard to attract consultants into Wales or even retain the ones we have trained here ourselves do not wash when ten miles down the road from Llantrisant is the Princess of Wales hospital which has eight A&E consultants. That’s because the department is perceived as being dynamic and doctors want to work there.”