.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Monday, April 25, 2011

Labour Minister's silence is deafening

This morning's Western Mail reports that the Health Minister, Edwina Hart has robustly rebutted claims in a Tory leaflet that the Neath Port Talbot Hospital is under threat. In return the Tories have accepted her assurances and withdrawn the leaflet.

However, there is still word on the threat to cardiac services at Swansea's Morriston Hospital. The Local Health Board is participating in a review of this unit and it was reported that the board were told that one option was to centralise it in either Swansea or Cardiff.

We have been here before of course, with paediatric neurosurgery (centralised in Cardiff and now moved to Bristol) and adult neurosurgery, when both Labour and Plaid Cymru promised that it would be retained in Swansea, only to sign off on a move to Cardiff a few years later.

If cardiac services moving to Cardiff is not being considered then why doesn't the Minister say so? After all she is quick enough to refute other threats.
She should consider not only residents of swansea but also Carmarthenshire, ceredigion and Pembrokeshire who have used or will potentially use Morriston hospital and the dreadful transport situation wil only be exacerbated if it is centralised in Cardiff for people of cardiac problems.
From your logic Peter Edwina Hart should set about refuting every half witted rumour about every health facility in Wales. Strategic reviews are undertaken according to clearly defined processes which include extensive public consultation. There is no proposal set out for consultation from the Health Board to close Cardiac Surgery in Swansea and therefore nothing to refute. Can you name the document in which any such proposal has been made?
My point is that if Edwina is prepared to refute one then she should set out her position on the others.

I notice the clever use of the words 'no proposal set out for consultation' in your comment. The review has clearly not got that far but as this article makes clear there is a review and the person in charge of that review has indicated that one future option could see the service centralised, either in the city's Morriston Hospital or at the University Hospital of Wales, in Cardiff.

If you cannot see the warning signs in that then you really are being complacent. If Edwina Hart cannot see those warning signs then she does not deserve to represent Gower. As she is a local candidate I do not think it is unreasonable for us to expect her to express a view.

As the Health Minister she should be consistent. I take her silence as her being content for this process to go ahead.
In order to keep health services modern, safe and of high quality they all have to be kept under regular review and any review always starts off with a full range of options. As you know this also includes 'do nothing' which presumably you would support. Does Edwina need to comment on every option in every review of every service in every health board, given that statistically the vast majority of these will never be presented even as a proposal? It would be inappropriate and ridiculous to do so. The comment on Neath Port Talbot was to refute a subsequently withdrawn statement in a Tory leaflet that an entire hospital only opened in 2003 was going to close. A clearly bizarre allegation that urgently needed to be corrected.
So I take it that you (and she) would be content for the health board to consider sending this service to Cardiff? I am not.

Given the history of successive Labour and Labour/Plaid Cymru Governments allowing key services to be relocated down the M4 I think it is absolutely crucial that the Labour candidate for Gower and the Health Minister says where she stands on this.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?