CHC chairman defends A&E change at Llanelli's Prince Philip Hospital
THE chairman of the Community Health Council has defended the Health Minister's decision on the future of A&E services at Llanelli's Prince Philip Hospital.
Community Health Council (CHC) Executive Committee chairman Tony Wales has dubbed the change as "probably the better outcome that we could have achieved".
The news comes after claims that the new nurse led and doctor supported service is a "downgrade" and that the Llanelli is being treated as "expendable collateral damage".
Mr Wales said that A&E services at the hospital would never be able to return to how they were in the mid 90s, but that as a town, residents have achieved the best possible outcome.
He said: "We recognise that there is still a lot more progress to be made and we welcome the opportunity given to us by the health board that we will be involved in the further process to make absolutely certain that we have a good service in place for the patients.
"We are very keen in the CHC to make absolutely certain that there is a doctor there 24/7 as opposed to the health board's recommendation of a nurse led/nurse delivered service.
"We strove to make that point known to the scrutiny panel and at the end of the day we have achieved that.
"I'm not sure that people grasp what is on offer — it is not as bad as people are making out."
Mr Wales has defended the work done by the CHC from day one.
"It has been a lot of hard work on our part," he said. "Our work is not finished, and we will work diligently and for as long as it takes so that the service that's being proposed is the best for Llanelli and the surrounding areas. Right from day one, it would've been far easier for us to say we aren't going to refer it to the minister, and the second time it would've been even easier.
"We stuck our neck out and we received an awful lot of criticism from people at the health board.
"We will not shy away from holding the health board to account if we feel that this new service is not being delivered in the way that we expect it to be delivered.
"I am more than happy to come to any meeting with SOSPPAN, a public meeting, or otherwise, and try to set out where we are coming from."
A spokeswoman for the health board said: "Hywel Dda Health Board welcomes the minister's recommendations and we will continue to work closely with Welsh Government and the Community Health Council and more importantly our clinicians to find appropriate solutions."