Reject option A – reject any downgrading of Prince Philip Hospital
I fervently urge the Hywel Dda University Health Board to reject Option A, to reject any downgrading of Prince Philip Hospital and in particular to reject any plan which would take away, downgrade or limit the opening hours of the Acute Medical Admissions Unit and the Minor Injuries Unit at Prince Philip Hospital. This is because Llanelli has the largest concentration of population in the Hywel Dda area, and it is vital that we should keep these services as near as possible, to ensure that people can access care as quickly as possible, and to avoid the unnecessary and costly transporting of patients. I firmly believe that this option would FAIL the Board’s equity test as it would take facilities away from the area of greatest population.
Serious concerns about A&E moving to Whitland
All three options propose moving the A& E to a new hospital “between St Clears and Narberth” – let’s call it Whitland. Discounting Ceredigion as they will keep Bronglais, this hospital is therefore to serve Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. A Whitland-based A&E is far too far from the bulk of the Carmarthenshire-Pembrokeshire population who reside in the East of Carmarthenshire ( Llanelli, Gwendraeth and Amman Valleys). I am very concerned about siting A&E so far from the bulk of the population. This will prove costly and time-consuming in ambulance transport. Then, when patients are sent home, many will be too frail or unwell to use public transport and the cost of a taxi would be prohibitive. Many elderly patients have spouses who do not drive and have difficulties with public transport, and whereas patients in the Llanelli area might be able to get a taxi or get a friend or neighbour to give them a lift a couple of miles to Prince Philip Hospital, they will not be able to make regular visits to see loved ones in Whitland.
Furthermore, if A&E is moved from Carmarthen, there will be more patients who are closer to Llanelli than the new A&E in Whitland than there are currently. Therefore we need enhanced AMAU and MIU facilities at Prince Philp Hospital to cope with the extra numbers and / or AMAU and MIU facilities at Glangwili.
Need to expand services at Morriston to cater for patients from East Carmarthenshire I understand that there is a protocol in place which means that ambulances in the most urgent life-threatening cases would go to the nearest A&E so by moving A&E from Carmarthen to Whitland, there will be more instances in which Morriston is nearer. In addition people from Llanelli and East Carmarthenshire who have access to a car are more likely to turn up at Morriston than to go to Whitland. This is particularly likely when they know that the service is not available at PPH…. for example a parent taking a sick child to hospital. Therefore there must be considerable investment in additional staff, beds and facilities at Morriston to cope with the population of East Carmarthenshire BEFORE any plans to move A&E to Whitland are implemented.
Eliminate artificial barriers between the Hywel Dda Health Board and the ABMU Health Board.
There should be NO artificial barriers to patients from the Hywel Dda Health Board area accessing services in the ABMU area as it is inhumane for patients to be making unnecessarily long journeys purely because of Health Board boundaries. The priority should be accessing the best care for the patient as near as possible to home.
Mental Health beds
I am extremely concerned to hear that there are plans to move the mental health beds originally designated for PPH in Llanelli over to Whitland. Visitors can be very important for people with mental health problems, so they need to be near to their communities so they should not be forced to go all the way to Whitland.?We need these facilities in Llanelli.
We want services including in-patient facilities to be as close to people’s homes as possible, and so I would like to see community hubs in Cross Hands and at the Wellness Centre in Llanelli, as well as as great a range of services as possible available consistently across all GP surgeries.
Better use of modern technology to reduce patient travelling
Rather than patients travelling miles to see a specialist, specialist consultants should come and hold clinics in Prince Philp Hospital. In many instances patients should be able to sit with a medically qualified person in a local facility – hospital, community hub or surgery – and use technologies like Skype for a consultation with a specialist consultant – only travelling when it is really necessary.