ABERTAWE Bro Morgannwg University Health Board has defended plans to transfer acute medical services from Neath Port Talbot Hospital – proposals which Plaid has launched a public petition to oppose.
In a statement, ABMU bosses warned that “a petition to maintain the service at Neath Port Talbot Hospital would be calling for an unsafe service to continue” .
They added: “The decision for the urgent service change at Neath Port Talbot Hospital was taken after our senior doctors warned it would be unsafe to continue without an adequate number of experienced doctors.
“Running an acute medicine service without enough doctors would risk patients not being assessed properly, or failing to get the treatment they need. This could put present a significant risk to patient safety, possibly putting lives at risk.
“Concerted efforts were made by the Health Board over the course of a year to try to recruit enough doctors to keep the service at Neath Port Talbot Hospital. This included an overseas recruitment drive and the introduction of new academic posts. We also looked at moving doctors from other hospitals, but that would have destabilised other services.
“We were partially successful in attracting new doctors to Neath Port Talbot Hospital, but not enough to maintain the service.
“From September, about 26 acute medical patients a day will instead go to Morriston, Singleton and the Princess of Wales hospitals. However, once they are over their immediate acute care they will transfer to Neath Port Talbot Hospital. 64 beds are being retained in two of the Neath Port Talbot medical wards for this purpose, so patients will be closer to their homes.
“The Health Board is fully committed to Neath Port Talbot Hospital and the important future role it will play, and several new services are moving to the hospital. The new IVF facility; a purpose-built investigation, treatment and diagnostic unit for urology patients, and a centre of excellence for orthopaedic surgery are just a few examples.”