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Latest on South Wales Programme Hospital Reorganisation

October 13, 2013 2:54 PM

The latest news update from the South Wales Programme, which seeks to reorganise some of the major health services in the area, was published this week. It stresses that whilst the public response was substantial, enough for them to have to delay the feedback for several months, "the responses, on their own, will not determine the outcome of the consultation."

This is of course fair enough comment - many of the responses will have come about as the result of various campaigns, and whilst the people who signed the standard letters and petitions may feel very strongly about retaining health services in their area then many of the responses may be largely emotional reactions. The bigger picture must be taken into account, but in doing that the very real concerns and practical considerations pointed out by many must not be just swept aside.

The newsletter goes on to say

"The initial feedback is being shared with board members of the health boards and the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust and executive members of the community health councils today (October 11). It will also be shared with the 300-plus clinicians at the heart of the South Wales Programme work before being made public via the website.

"All this work will be published on the website in due course. It will be used by health boards and community health councils when making a decision about the consultation alongside the original evidence."

Whilst the public feedback has to be considered alongside other evidence, the wording does suggest that it maybe won't be given as much weight as the public may have hoped. The more sceptical residents were already of the opinion that the decision has been made anyway - we hope this is not the case.

RCT Welsh Liberal Democrats, whilst putting the case for retention of services at the Royal Glamorgan and Prince Charles, have agreed all along that change is necessary. The problem is that the whole issue has been clouded by contrary information. Health Boards as part of the South Wales Programme have insisted this is based on professional, clinical evidence, but comments from some healthcare workers have contradicted this.

Meanwhile we are still no further forward with the question of whether the new hospital in Cwmbran, which is a central plank of the proposals, will ever be built and if it does will it be fit for purpose?

We look forward to the feedback.

Karen Roberts