I have some big questions to ask following the ministerial statement on Prince Philip Hospital. The Minister has told us that in 2011-2012 some 33,000 patients were seen by the emergency department at our hospital, of whom less than 2% were transferred elsewhere. He tells us this situation will not change, so similar patients will still be treated at Prince Philip Hospital…but I’m asking him for absolute assurances that they will have access to exactly the same level of care and expertise as at present.
We know that hard-working GPs already help provide the emergency service at Prince Philip at night, but now we hear GPs will staff the service 24/7. GPs complete demanding training and many offer considerable expertise, but they cannot be in two places at once. We’re told there is no shortage of GPs willing to provide cover in Singleton, but how many local GPs have agreed to provide emergency services in PPH? How many extra GP posts will Hywel Dda fund? What additional training will they have?
GPs (and patients) will want to know that they have specialist consultant back up. Last October physicians from PPH released a letter to the Llanelli Star detailing the specialist back-up that they considered essential for a safe service at PPH. Will all that back-up be available?
If the Health Board does not support GPs properly, they will fail to recruit and could use this as an excuse to revert to their totally unacceptable nurse-led plan. I am tempted to scream blue murder. But, I will now concentrate on fighting to ensure we keep 24/7 doctor-led cover.