Union in call for clarity on future of winter surgery in the Hywel Dda Health Board area
A TRADE union is urging the Welsh Government to tackle the "chaos and confusion" surrounding orthopaedic elective surgery in the Hywel Dda Health Board area.
Unison wrote to Welsh Government Health Minister Mark Drakeford about the proposed cancellation of surgeries between November 21 and April next year.
Their approach came after an announcement this month that the health board planned to cancel all non emergency orthopaedic surgery this winter.
It was confirmed at a mass meeting of Prince Philip Hospital staff where senior management discussed the temporary cancellation, according to the union.
Unison Regional Organiser, Jeff Baker said: "Staff are now completely confused and demoralised.
"Staff are hearing from their senior managers that the surgery is being cancelled and they are having to be re-deployed but at the same time, the Health Minister believes that this is not happening."
Representatives from Unison who were present at the meeting said that it was confirmed that all elective orthopaedic surgery across Hywel Dda would be discontinued between those dates.
The senior management also confirmed that when the ward at Prince Philip is closed, beds would remain empty and there would be a transfer of around 50 staff to other hospital settings.
But the Health Minister insisted this was not the case.
He said that elective surgery is not being cancelled and there is only a proposal to reduce a number of surgical inpatient beds to cope with additional winter emergencies.
Unison Branch Chairperson, Mrs Wendy Evans said: "How can this be to do with gaining additional beds for winter emergencies when the Orthopaedic ward at Prince Philip will close, beds will remain empty and staff transferred to other hospitals."
And Unison Regional Organiser, Mr Baker, added: "We have written back to the Health Minister, calling on him to intervene to find out exactly what is going on in order to put an end to this unnecessary distress and confusion."
The trade union added that alongside causing disruption for staff, patient waiting lists could also suffer with five or six months potentially added onto lengthy waiting times.