Watchdogs' bid to save hospital from axe
A LAST-DITCH bid to save a Gwendraeth Valley hospital has been launched.
Campaigners who fought to keep Mynydd Mawr community hospital in Upper Tumble open now have their fingers crossed it can escape the axe.
Earlier this year Hywel Dda Health Board approved proposals to change services across Mid and West Wales.
These included a downgrading of the A&E department at Prince Philip Hospital to a nurse-staffed urgent care centre and closing Mynydd Mawr altogether.
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Some patients currently treated in the Upper Tumble hospital would be moved to a new ward at Prince Philip.
But Hywel Dda's Community Health Council has now referred the plans to the Welsh Government, which means ministers in Cardiff will have the final say on any changes.
Clive Scourfield, chairman of Friends of Mynydd Mawr, said: "I very much welcome the news and I think this community health council has proved to be a champion of what it is there for — and that's to represent the communities."
In a letter to Health Minister Lesley Griffiths, CHC chairman Tony Wales said: "We are not satisfied that these proposals for substantial change to health services would be in the best interests of health service users within this Hywel Dda area."
He added that the CHC also had concerns about the consultation process followed by the board.
A Hywel Dda spokeswoman said the health board was disappointed by the referral, following a series of meetings with the CHC since it announced the changes.
Managers insisted they had to move forward with overhauling services, to meet the challenges of an ageing population, retaining and recruiting medical expertise, and to meet financial pressures on the NHS.
The board argues the changes will help it deliver "first class healthcare services to the local population, now and into the future" and will support delivery of more care closer to people's own homes and ensure hospitals are better equipped to deal with the most seriously ill patients.
It has also pledged a £40m investment for new community health centres to provide a range of services including diagnostic tests, outpatient appointments and physiotherapy.
These will be located in Aberaeron, Cardigan, Carmarthen, Cross Hands, Crymych and Whitland. The spokeswoman said: "We look forward to working with the CHC and Welsh Government as part of the formal referral process."