Shock cabinet reshuffle is welcomed by campaigners
HOSPITAL campaigners in Llanelli have welcomed Lesley Griffiths's removal as health minister.
Mrs Griffiths (pictured) was moved to become the new local government minister in a shock reshuffle of the Welsh Government cabinet on Thursday — with Cardiff West AM Mark Drakeford appointed as the new health minister.
She had been under pressure from health campaigners in Llanelli and across the region to block changes to hospital services put forward by Hywel Dda Health Board, after the proposals were referred to her by the community health council last month.
But just hours before her departure, Mrs Griffiths rejected the referral and instead ordered discussions between the CHC and health board to continue (see page 7). Now Mr Drakeford could be set to make the decision over the future of services should the CHC decide to refer health board proposals to the government again.
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After hearing the news of Mrs Griffiths's departure, Tony Flatley, secretary of the Committee for the Improvement of Hospital Services (CIHS), said: "What a wonderful gift to us all. I think she had to move because she wasn't prepared to take and make decisions.
"I think she was totally indecisive and I think the last straw was when she sent back to the CHC what they sent to her.
"I've seen a lot of people who are happy about this.
"She just didn't want to deal with anybody, she made herself unapproachable.
"I would tell Mr Drakeford to make sure he looks properly at the situation in Llanelli."
And Councillor John Jenkins said: "She was obviously not helpful or supportive of Llanelli's campaign.
"I think a new health minister was needed and more importantly a new attitude is needed.
"I would urge Mr Drakeford to take a new approach and listen to the petitions and all the views that Lesley Griffiths didn't listen to."
But retired consultant surgeon Hugh Evans, who has been heavily critical of the board and the government, said he expected Mr Drakeford to press on with the changes.
"To be honest I don't think it will make the slightest bit of difference," he said.
"He has probably already had his briefing to get on and press on with the changes."