AM's demand for hospital crisis facts
ANOTHER senior political figure is posing a series of questions to the ABM health board over the crisis at Neath Port Talbot Hospital.
Plaid Cymru regional AM Bethan Jenkins said she would be speaking to Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board chairman Win Griffiths this week.
"The first thing I shall be asking is why couldn't ABMU directors find sufficient numbers of doctors to staff Neath Port Talbot Hospital?" said the South Wales West member.
"I simply cannot accept the explanation given by the board. Directors are highly paid and we are going through a recession — this is a matter of their performance.
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"Secondly, that hospital was built at great cost to the taxpayer. Instead of the capital layout of around £66 million, under the Private Finance Initiative it will ultimately cost in excess of £353.5 million.
"I know the well-timed press release from ABM trumpeted the services that are going to be based there, but it is absurd a flagship hospital of this kind does not provide the most common service associated with our hospitals."
Ms Jenkins said she would be asking what kind of risk assessment the board had carried out with regards to patients having to travel further for emergency treatment.
She pointed out Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil was closer to Glynneath than hospitals in Swansea, and said ABM had to think of all patients in its area.
Ms Jenkins also wanted to know the board's financial position following the publication in February this year of the Auditor General for Wales's annual report on ABM for 2011.
The report, she said, warned ABM faced a significant challenge to break even and, even though extra money had been allocated by the Welsh Government, might not achieve the required cost savings.
"I will be asking if the board achieved those savings, if not then why not, and — most crucially — what happens if it has not?"