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Downgrading of Royal Glamorgan Hospital one step closer

November 8, 2013 7:48 PM

Earlier this year Cwm Taf and other Health Boards across South Wales and Powys consulted on proposals to amalgamate some critical care services into fewer hospitals across the area.

The 'best fit' proposal put forward meant a loss of neo natal, severe trauma services and consultant led maternity and paediatric inpatient services. The consultation responses have now been published, and the report can be found in full here.

It has to be said that it does not make comforting reading for supporters of the Royal Glamorgan.

Whilst the effort put into the campaign to save services there was tremendous, and resulted in a huge number of responses being submitted, it would appear from reading the feedback report that sheer volume is not enough and the weighting is in favour of other opinions and considerations.

The report states:

Across South Wales and South Powys, there was clear public support for Option 3 - the "Best Fit" - with services provided at five centres: University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff; Morriston Hospital, Swansea; Specialist and Critical Care Centre (SCCC), to be built near Cwmbran; Prince Charles Hospital, Merthyr Tydfil; and Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend. The residents' survey showed that over two-thirds agreed with this option whilst only 17% disagreed.

There were a substantial number of standard responses submitted from across RCT, but reading between the lines it is clear that these will not be given any particular weight.

The weight of medical evidence comes down in favour not of five centres but of four. There are concerns that five centres are not sustainable, that it will not address the staff shortages and that future reorganisation will be inevitable.

There is a great deal of concern expressed - as indeed there was by RCT Welsh Liberal Democrats - that the proposed new critical care centre in Cwmbran has still not had the go ahead, and that as the proposals are all built with that as one of the definites then the whole plan may fall apart.

The Royal College of Nursing asks whether 'there are plans in place to address the issue that the Royal Glamorgan Hospital takes neonates from 28 weeks, whereas the Princess of Wales Hospital only admits those from 32 weeks. '

They also point out that

'Families having to travel further will incur extra travel, accommodation and childcare costs and will experience difficulties in bonding with a new child whilst caring for existing children. This will have a disproportionate impact on deprived families in Cwm Taf who may have to rely on public transport.'

On the whole, however, whilst it would be very nice to be wrong on this occasion, the report is far from encouraging from the point of view of supporters of the Royal Glamorgan. Nonetheless the campaign will undoubtedly continue.