Prince Philip Hospital campaigners' fight sparked fresh emergency care plans
HEALTH board bosses drew up improved proposals for emergency care at Prince Philip Hospital following a huge campaign to save services.
Hywel Dda chief executive Trevor Purt said the decision to maintain 100 per cent of emergency services at the hospital was taken as a result of public feedback.
But campaigners still consider the board's preferred option — to provide a consultant-led emergency medical admission unit and a nurse-led local accident centre for minor injuries and illnesses — to be a "slap in the face" for Llanelli.
Bryan Hitchman, chairman of the Committee for the Improvement of Hospital Services, said: "The document does very little for our main cause — the creation of a full A&E at Prince Philip — which the people of Llanelli want by clearly showing their feelings in the 24,000-signature petition and a vote of no confidence in Hywel Dda.
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"It beggars belief that democracy and people power has been ignored.
"Once again we have been sidelined by the Beechings of the health service into a branch line to allow the Carmarthen and all points west express to pass.
"The rural plan is to prevail at all costs, and as an urban area we do not fit, so pass us over to Morriston is essentially what the board is saying."
Mr Hitchman added there were still hopes of persuading the board to create a doctor or consultant-led accident centre.
Referring to the board's proposal not to change emergency services at Bronglais, Glangwili or Withybush, retired consultant surgeon Hugh Evans added: "The other three towns keep their services and Llanelli with the largest population is to be downgraded.
"Like the people of Neath, the people of Llanelli could well have to travel to Bridgend or Merthyr for treatment.
"Of course this will be a downgrading of the A&E department at Prince Philip.
"There will be no doctor to see suspected fractures, and who will assess and suture wounds?
"Who will assess 'minor' head injuries? I could go on."
Launching the formal consultation into a major shake-up of the provision of hospital services, the board revealed a change to the original proposal to replace A&E with an urgent care centre, which would deal with just 80 per cent of the emergency cases currently seen to at Prince Philip Hospital.
The addition of an emergency medical admission unit means the remaining 20 per cent of patients will also still be dealt with at the hospital.
Chief executive Trevor Purt said: "We fully understand the passion and enthusiasm shown by the people of Llanelli for the NHS, and particularly Prince Philip Hospital.
"The listening and engagement exercise has been an invaluable tool in helping us produce our plans for a safe, efficient, high quality, and value for money healthcare system.
"Our preferred option for Prince Philip Hospital — to maintain minor injuries care within a 24/7 local accident centre and medical emergency admissions through an emergency admission centre — clearly demonstrates that we have listened and changed our plans as a result of discussions and feedback."