The Welsh Conservatives will tell the Labour Government in Cardiff Bay that ministers must “stop presiding over the decimation of rural health services in Wales” tomorrow (Wednesday).
A petition entitled “Save A&E: Withybush General Hospital must retain 24 hour, 7 days a week, consultant-led urgent care” will be debated in the Senedd on Wednesday after it received 11,168 signatures.
It comes after Hywel Dda University Health Board has decided to look to build a new hospital somewhere between Narberth and St Clears which will result in the downgrading of Withybush Hospital, including removing its A&E department.
Preseli Pembrokeshire’s MS, Welsh Conservative Paul Davies, will speak in favour of keeping services and reject any downgrading of the hospital, as will Samuel Kurtz MS who represents the neighbouring constituency where many residents will attend Withybush.
The petitioner, Jacqueline Doig, has highlighted how the Hospital is placed in an area where many dangerous professions are based: an oil refinery, gas terminals, ferry ports, firing ranges, extreme sports spots, and farming all carry above average risks that make Withybush a necessity.
Back in February, around 300 people protested outside the hospital against the plans to repurpose it into a community hospital with a 24/7 urgent care centre led by GPs that would only be capable of dealing with minor injuries.
Commenting ahead of the debate, Paul Davies MS said:
“We get a lot of lip service from Labour Government ministers in Cardiff Bay saying that Withybush plays an important role in the delivery of health services in west Wales, but the reality is that more and more services have slipped away.
“People living in Pembrokeshire feel as though their views and concerns are ignored and that despite the continued strength of feeling on this matter, Withybush Hospital will be downgraded regardless, stripping it of one service after another.
“The people of Pembrokeshire simply have no confidence in the health board or the Labour Government. They do not want their hospital services relocated and they need our political leaders to invest in them for the future rather than cast them aside. Anything less is just not acceptable.”
Welsh Conservative and Shadow Health Minister, Russell George MS added:
“I urge the Labour Government to stop presiding over the decimation of rural health services in Wales, which has gone on for such a long time, I worry about how much further they will go.
“The Withybush saga has been raging for over a decade now and residents across West Wales deserve a swift resolution rather than being kept in limbo like this.
“No matter the excuse doled out by the health board chiefs or Labour ministers, the community convincingly reject this each time. Maybe Labour needs a hospital appointment to fix their hearing because residents are either not being heard or are being deliberately ignored.