The one thing we all want as a top priority from our health service is the confidence to know that in an emergency an ambulance will arrive quickly and get us into hospital straightaway, so last week we were all shocked and saddened by the death of a woman from Neath in an ambulance queuing outside Morriston Hospital This comes in the wake of the tragic death of Dafen resident Mr Trevor Bryer who had to wait two hours for an ambulance after suffering a stroke. The two cases are not unrelated. We know that delays in ambulances reaching the scene of an emergency are often linked to the fact that ambulances are queuing up outside hospitals where the ambulance paramedics need to take care of their patients until hospital staff are available to deal with them. Of course, if ambulance staff are under instruction to take patients to hospitals further away then this only puts more pressure on the service.
I have already had talks with the ambulance service about how they can speed up their response times, but key to their improved performance is cutting down the time they wait outside A&E
I therefore want absolute assurances from the HywelDda Health Board that Prince Philip Hospital will be properly staffed with enough suitably qualified doctors and nurses to deal with emergency admissions. If the HywelDda Health Board want patients with specific conditions to be taken to Glangwili or Morriston then we need guarantees that those hospitals have enough available staff to cope. This is what I will be demanding when I meet the Chair of the HywelDda Health Board Bernadine Rees on Monday.