DIALYSIS patients coming to Newport for treatment could find their care disrupted or moved during the Nato Summit, the Argus can reveal.
Some patients having haemodialysis at St Woolos on September 4 can expect to see their care moved to the weekend, in a contingency plan similar to those for Christmas and Easter, according to Cardiff and Vale University Health Board which has responsibility in Wales for dialysis.
The Argus understands the changes are being made so that care isn't affected by potential disruption, although both the ambulance service and the Wales Air Ambulance have confirmed that road closures will not affect them.
The company which runs Newport's dialysis unit and another in Pentwyn in Cardiff, B Braun Avitum UK, confirmed its units will be closed as a result of the health board's decision.
A spokeswoman said: "Our clinic opening hours are dictated by the health board and patients whose appointments have been affected will be receiving their treatment on an alternative day within the week.
"We apologise for any inconvenience this causes our patients, but it is unfortunately a matter out of our control."
One reader whose wife, 68, comes from Crumlin to have dialysis at St Woolos contacted the Argus to say they were only informed of the change this month, by which time they'd already booked their summer holiday.
"It's wrong," said the man, 73, who we have not named. "They've known about Nato for 12 months, they could've told patients sooner."
The Newport unit accepts 40 patients a day, he said, adding that his wife is collected by ambulance any time between 10.30am and 12 noon on the day of her treatment which is scheduled to start at 1.30pm.
"That week her treatment is meant to be Monday, Wednesday and Thursday but they want to push it back to Saturday," he said. "We are going on holiday on Saturday. My wife is blind and she's a worrier. I'm lucky that I'm fit and healthy, what about others on dialysis who haven't got anyone to look after them?"
Catherine Wood, Cardiff and Vale’s directorate manager for transplant and nephrology, said this is part of the health board’s plans to make sure essential services and the public are not "adversely affected" by the summit.
"These are the same arrangements used during Christmas and other holiday periods and are tried and tested and have been communicated to the patients involved," she said.
"If anyone has any concerns or questions then please contact your dialysis centre."
A Wales Air Ambulance spokeswoman said crews are working with other emergency services in setting up contingencies during the summit and air ambulances will operate as normal, on standby for missions in any part of Wales.
"As standard procedure we are unable to provide detailed information on flying zones," she said in reference to the planned no-fly zone over the Celtic Manor during the summit.
"It is anticipated the Nato summit will not negatively impact on air ambulance operations. We do not expect road closures to affect our services."
A spokeswoman for the ambulance service said extra specialist teams will work alongside their operational crews.
“The day to day service of responding to emergency calls and transporting patients to and from their appointments will continue as normal in the week prior to the summit, and during the period of the summit itself," she said.
“Due to matters of confidentiality and security we are unable to provide detailed information regarding the resources we are allocating to the Nato Summit, however we can confirm that we are in dialogue with several other UK ambulance services in terms of any mutual aid requirements, which is standard practice for events such as this.
“Road closures will not affect our services," she said. "As an emergency service we will have access to 999 calls from the public where and when necessary.”