'Downgrade will pile pressure on hospital'
A DECISION by Wales Health Minister Mark Drakeford and a panel of experts to downgrade Prince Philip Hospital A&E in Llanelli will put increased pressure on Carmarthen's own Glangwili Hospital.
That is the concern of town and county councillors after a full meeting of Carmarthenshire Council rejected Plaid party calls for a vote of no confidence Mr Drakeford over the decision to downgrade Prince Philip's A&E department.
Despite fears from some councillors that lives will be put at risk if the planned nurse and GP led service is put in place.
The motion was put forward by Plaid members, who were angered by the decision to downgrade Llanelli's A&E department while keeping the same services at the three other general hospitals in the Hywel Dda Health Board area.
It is feared Glangwili's own A&E could see more people flooding through its doors if Prince Philip's A&E is downgraded.
Plaid Town and county councillor Alun Lenny told the meeting: "There will be more pressure on A&E in Glangwili hospital which is already struggling.
"Over the summer there were eight ambulances queuing outside Glangwili Hospital's A&E department waiting to offload patients.
"Not only that 93 people have waited more than 24 hours to see a doctor at the A&E.
"That is disgraceful and if downgrading happens at Prince Philip who knows that the impact will be at Glangwili."
Councillors voted 33 for and 26 against an amended motion tabled by Labour councillor Tegwyn Devichand, which will see the council continue to lobby the Welsh Government and further talks over the A&E situation.
Plaid councillor Glynog Davies said it "was time this council points the finger at the man responsible for who want to close the A&E department (in Llanelli)".
Another Plaid member Winston Lemon urged all Labour councillors to resign to show their feelings over the decision which he said had failed the people of Llanelli.
"This is a chance for Labour councillors to resign here and now and condemn the Labour party," he said.
"Llanelli has been devastated by local Government here."
The Plaid party's motion also condemned the Llanelli Labour AM Keith Davies for what it describes as "openly supporting such a deterioration in health care". Plaid described the amended version presented by Labour as watered down.
However, People First councillor Sian Caiach said she could not support either of the two motions.
She said with cuts to health in Wales over the years Mark Drakeford had been handed a poisoned chalice when he became health minister for Wales.
Labour councillor Anthony Jones backed the amendment to continue talks with the Welsh Government and not to have a vote of no confidence in the minister.
He said it was not a party politics issue, adding: "I am sure the minister and officials have looked at the big picture when making these decisions.
"There is going to be change in services as there have been over the years in the NHS.
"It is an emotive issue, but this amendment will ensure there will be further discussions of the concerns."