Caerphilly councillor says hospital plans should be put to referendum
5:25pm Monday 18th February 2013 in News
FIRST Minister Carwyn Jones should hold a referendum on "misguided" plans to revamp hospital services in Wales, says a Caerphilly councillor.
Ray Davies believes last Saturday's march in Caerphilly calling for a full accident and emergency service to be provided at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr (YYF) in Ystrad Mynach, is part of a Wales-wide movement of dissent over proposals to change hospital services, that should be seen by Mr Jones as "a wake-up call."
Around 100 people marched through Caerphilly to demand that the £172 million hospital, which opened 15 months ago, be provided with a 24-hour, doctor-led A&E unit.
Aneurin Bevan Health Board has previously stated that it is impossible for such a facility to be provided there due to a lack of trained A&E staff.
Calls for a full-blown A&E at YYF have grown during recent months amid concerns that many people have to go to the Royal Gwent Hospital having initially gone to YYF, because the latter does not have the facilities to treat them.
A campaign group has taken the issue onto social media, with an online petition attracting more than 1,000 signatures. The group also wants the South Wales Programme - under which A&E and other key services would be concentrated on four or five key hospital sites in the region - to be scrapped.
Councillor Davies was among the marchers in Caerphilly, and said that this, and similar events in north Wales in protest at a plan to move some neonatal services to Liverpool, are "a wake-up call to Carwyn Jones, which he ignores at his political peril."
On YYF, he said: "At Saturday's march and rally to reinstate full accident and emergency facilities, the message was clear. Ystrad Mynach hospital's (YYF's) nurse-led system was not working.
"This was not a criticism of the staff. People refused to call it a hospital, but instead viewed it as a glorified clinic.
"To leave the 200.000 people of Caerphilly without an accident and emergency facility or doctor-led hospital is a blot on the conscience of the Welsh Assembly Government.
"Can I challenge First Minister Carwyn Jones to hold a referendum on his misguided plans to revamp the NHS hospital services in Wales?"