HOSPITAL services in Port Talbot are in the spotlight this week, as Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board prepares to unveil its long-awaited strategy for the future in Bridgend on Wednesday.
The move follows well-attended public meetings in Port Talbot and Neath last week at which some speakers were critical of the decision to transfer acute medical services from Neath Port Talbot Hospital to hospitals in Swansea and Bridgend, in response to concerns about patient safety.
Magnet volunteers Chris Flynn and Jon May went out and about on the streets of Port Talbot to find out what you had to say about the matter. This is what they found:
Christine Atkins, unemployed: “Morriston Hospital is hard to get to if you haven’t got transport, and you’ll have to transfer when in Swansea. They can’t get the staff to man the hospitals, and it’s terrible. I have used the service at Neath Port Talbot Hospital, and it is fine, but at the end of the day my son broke his ankle and they had to transfer him to Morriston anyway. I haven’t got transport, and I couldn’t afford to travel that far to visit.”
Mr Smith, retired head teacher, of Port Talbot: “I have mixed feelings about the closure of acute medical services. With the state the health service is in, there are inevitable cutbacks that have to happen. The question I ask is whether this will improve the service, and I hope it will. I have to use it for out-of-hours care, which wasn’t very good at all, and I had to be sent to Morriston.”
Aaron Evans, stone mason, of Seven Sisters: “When there’s something wrong, you’ll end up having to go to Morriston or Bridgend anyway, so I’ll don’t think there will be much difference in service. The service at Morriston and Bridgend is good, but it would be a difficulty to get to Bridgend in particular.”
Marian Cubberley, retired, of Margam: “It is very worrying because by the time you have called the paramedics and been taken to one of the other hospitals, you could be dead. We used to have an instant response. It is worrying when you have a pain, for example – it could be a heart attack and time is of the essence. My daughter had her baby at Port Talbot Hospital, and she thought the care was okay. I would have trouble visiting Morriston because it is three buses from Margam, and it would be the headache to reach.”