Prince Philip Hospital A&E: MP pleads with health bosses to listen to Llanelli doctors
HYWEL Dda Health Board has been told to “go back to the drawing board” after 10 Llanelli doctors sent a letter opposing its plans.
Llanelli MP Nia Griffith has lent her voice to growing calls to the health board to scrap proposals which would see Prince Philip Hospital’s A&E department replaced with a nurse-led local accident centre.
And with the consultation period ending on Monday, a group of 10 physicians from the hospital — including consultants — put their names to a letter stating they were totally opposed to the proposed changes on the grounds of patient safety.
The letter said: “We feel that without doctor support 24/7 in the department there is a significant clinical risk for patients with conditions other than general medical ones. This is unsafe.”
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The health board has previously described the new unit as both “nurse-led” and “nurse-delivered”, with doctors available on other sites via telemedicine.
But the doctors said they were not prepared to support a nurse-led A&E unit and felt services should continue as they are currently.
Their comments follow months of campaigning, which resulted in 24,000 signatures being handed to the Assembly opposing the changes — the largest petition it has ever received.
Ms Griffith said it was vital the board listened to the doctors’ views.
She said: “They are the experts who know what is what, they are the doctors who know what is best for their patients.
“They have explained the facilities and staffing that they need to provide a safe and effective service, and they are very clear that a nurse-led A&E is not a safe or viable option.
“In the light of this letter, Hywel Dda Health Board members need to go back to the drawing board.”
Responding to the physicians’ letter, the board’s chief executive Trevor Purt and chairman Chris Martin issued a joint response.
They said: “We are surprised and disappointed that some of our clinical staff have chosen to express their views to the media in this way.
“The health board remains in consultation and their responses will be considered, as all others, as part of the formal process.
“We would like to make it clear however that we would not consider unsafe options for our population and there is no expectation that physicians or nurses will be required to work outside of their area of expertise.”