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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Fighting to save local health services

I spent yesterday morning in a very productive meeting of the Swansea Committee of the Community Health Council where a number of local residents had come to make their views known on plans to close the out-of-hours service at Singleton Hospital and transfer it to Morriston, and also on plans to close down Fairwood Hospital.

The proposal to close Fairwood Hospital forms part of a restructuring of services and cutting back the health board's £10 million overspend. The moving of the out-of-hours service will leave the west of Swansea and Gower without a 24 hour walk-in centre for the first time in 25 years.

I attended so as to speak against both proposals. Whereas I was happy for a GP service to be established next to Morriston Accident and Emergency I do not believe that this should be at the expense of the existing service in Singleton Hospital.

Over 4 million visitors and 20,000 students come to Swansea each year, mostly to the west of Swansea. They need access to GP services. It is 8 miles from Singleton to Morriston, further if you are travelling from Mumbles, Killay or Gower. If general district hospitals like Neath Port Talbot and Princess of Wales can have an out-of-hours service then why should Singleton be different?

The purpose of the presentation was to get wider consultation on both proposals by asking the local Committee to seek an objection from the Community Health Council Executive Committee. We succeeded on both counts and now it is up to that umbrella body to consider its position on 21st September.
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