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This week it was a great pleasure to see Edwina Hart AM, Minister for Health in the Assembly Government here in Llanelli to open the new Breast Care Unit at Prince Philip Hospital. This is an amazing achievement, combining Mr Simon Holt’s professional vision, local support and considerable financial backing from the Assembly Government. It is a first class facility with dedicated staff which will enhance the excellent service that is offered at Prince Philip Hospital to breast patients from all over West Wales.

But the recent leaks about how the Local Health Board is planning its strategy for the next five years have set local people thinking and raised concerns about what those future plans might have in store for Llanelli. We know that the Hywel Dda board brings together into one body several previous trusts and boards, and we understand the need for some change. However what we are all very concerned about here in Llanelli is that we should keep in Prince Philip all the existing services that are there at present and not see any downgrading of our hospital.

Those are the precise assurances that I was seeking from Mrs Janet Hawes, the new vice-chair of the Hywel Dda Board in a discussion I had with her about the plans a fortnight ago. Now is the time while the Local Health Board is drawing up its five-year strategy, to tell them that we want to keep all the existing services that are offered at Prince Philip Hospital, and that we are not going to stand for any salami slicing of services. We have got to make the Board listen to the people of Llanelli. Now is the time to tell the Board, before decisions are made and it is too late.

That’s why we have started a petition tell the Local Health Board that we want to keep ALL the existing services at Prince Philip Hospital. If you want to add your name to the petition, or want copies to distribute, please contact my office.