THE IMPACT OF THE NHS SOUTH WALES PROGRAMME IN OUR REGION
In January 2012, the five health boards across South Wales Programme, together with the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust were tasked with the aim of “ensuring the delivery of safe and sustainable specialist services for people living in South Wales and South Powys which match the best in the world and address quality and staffing issues”.
After a consultation process which involved an extensive programme of public meetings, there were over 60,000 responses to the options outlining the future of consultant-led maternity and neonatal care, inpatient children’s services and emergency medicine (A&E).
It has been widely acknowledge that the engagement and consultation processes were robust, although some concerns have been voiced that the chosen option may not be sustainable.
There has been a wide ranging debate on the 10 recommendations arising from the South Wales Programme, following their discussion at simultaneous board meetings on Thursday 13 February 2014.
Public comment has focussed upon the provision of services at hospitals that exist, notably at the Royal Glamorgan in Llantrisant.
The hospital that is “key” to the delivery of safe and sustainable world class service in the Aneurin Bevan Health Board area exists only on the drawing board. The Specialist and Critical Care Centre (SCCC) is currently scheduled to built by 2018-19 is to be where consultant-led maternity and neonatal care, inpatient children’s services and emergency medicine (A&E) will be based for our region.
The SCCC will be a ‘state of the art’ hospital combining both design and digital support systems that will lead clinical and critical care throughout our region. However; in the time until the SCCC becomes operational the provision of this care will be at our existing hospitals – specifically the Royal Gwent and Nevill Hall.
In these intervening years the Aneurin Bevan Health Board have a vital task. They are required to clearly demonstrate that standards of care and levels of investment are maintained at the Royal Gwent and Nevill Hall. There must be no public perception that enhancements in service delivery or treatments are being delayed until completion of the SCCC.
With stories of delays in patient transfer from ambulances at A&E, poor ambulance response times within our region, failure to meet Welsh Government targets for treatment and waiting times; reassuring the public may prove difficult.
I remain confident that the Aneurin Bevan Health Board will meet this obligation.