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Monday, October 23, 2006

Behind closed doors

This morning's Western Mail covers my concerns that decisions about Swansea's new super-hospital have been taken already without the proper engagement of the NHS Trust's partners or the public.

One of the reasons this matters lies in the potential location. Swansea has been traditionally served by two hospitals at Singleton in the west and at Morriston in the east. The building of a brand new facility at the Felindre site, just off junction 46 (where the Eisteddfod was held for those who went to it) may well have some support. However, this site has been designated by the Welsh Assembly Government as a business park and may not be available.

This leaves the Trust with one other realistic option, to close down Singleton altogether and relocate it on the Morriston Hospital site. That would generate massive resistance from people living in the west of the City and on Gower. It is for that reason that I believe that we need to have a public debate on the options now so as to try and build a consensus around the way forward. That debate cannot take place whilst the Trust are refusing to be open about their intentions.

In particular, the public will need some reassurances on the provision of adequate transport links and guarantees on the treatment of emergency cases being rushed to hospital from Gower and west Swansea. According to Swansea NHS Trust's Associate Director of Corporate Services, Steve Combe, there is already a wide range of close working underway with partners on this issue.

If that is the case then maybe he had better tell those partners, most of whom are under the impression that the Felindre site is the main option. He might also wish to explain why services are already being transferred from Singleton to Morriston without the public engagement he promises.
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