Hospital bosses’ assurances over non-emergency ops axe
HOSPITAL managers in Swansea and Port Talbot say they have no intention of following their counterparts in Carmarthenshire by cancelling some non-emergency surgery.
The reassurance from the ABMU Health Board comes after Hywel Dda health board said it was struggling with winter pressures.
While emergency operations will continue to take place, the Hywel Dda board said some planned elective surgery would be put on hold to cope with the extra demands placed on the NHS during the winter.
The decision, which covers all four Hywel Dda hospitals, including Prince Philip in Llanelli and Glangwili in Carmarthen, has prompted an angry response from public sector union, Unison.
Unison has claimed that the move will affect operations until next April, although the health board did not confirm this, with a spokeswoman saying the situation will be looked at again after the winter surge.
Dr Phil Kloer, director of clinical services, said: “We propose to manage our bed stock and elective surgical lists in a better way during the busiest months this winter to ensure we have the staff capacity to manage emergencies and the most urgent patients.”
A spokeswoman for ABMU health board told the Post there were no plans to delay operations in Swansea and Port Talbot hospitals.
The issue was raised by Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams in the Senedd yesterday.
She called on the Welsh Labour Government to publish all of the local health boards’ winter preparation plans.
Mrs Williams said: “Patients in Hywel Dda LHB found out yesterday that orthopaedic operations were being cancelled when union representatives announced the changes to the media.
“This is not the way a health service should be run. Last year, we know that 2,600 operations were postponed to save money for the LHBs.
“Just last week, the First Minister said that he would not expect any authority to delay operations for budgetary reasons but yet we see Hywel Dda LHB postponing operations for up to six months to save money.”
But First Minister Carwyn Jones backed the health board's plan. He said the other parties in Wales would be willing to risk a lack of capacity and last minute postponements.
He said: “It is wholly wrong to say the health board is cancelling all non-urgent elective orthopaedic surgery.
“Those who've been scheduled to have orthopaedic surgery will receive it, all cancer, urgent trauma and day surgery work will continue.”
Mr Jones said Hywel Dda was “planning ahead”.