Thousands have their say on NHS plans
11:40am Monday 19th August 2013 in Gwent news
MORE than 53,000 people have had their say on controversial plans to shake-up hospital services in South Wales including Newport.
This means a decision on the proposals, which was due in October, has been delayed until the end of the year.
Consultation on the plans, which includes providing key services like A&E, neonatal, paediatrics and obstetrics on fewer hospital sites, is now closed.
The scheme, known as the South Wales Programme, concerns several hospitals in Newport, Cardiff, Swansea and the Valleys.
In all four options being considered, the proposed Specialist and Critical Care Centre, earmarked for a site at Llanfrechfa Grange Hospital near Cwmbran, will be one of five hospitals in the region where those services will be concentrated.
This will be instead of the current eight sites regionally, which South Wales health bosses say is unsustainable if standards are to continue to be met.
Paul Hollard, programme director of the South Wales Programme, said: “This is a huge response to an NHS consultation and demonstrates how passionate people are about their NHS in South Wales and South Powys and the importance of ensuring high quality care is available as locally as possible.
“It also shows that people understand the significant pressures these services are under and the reasons why we need to make changes to ensure they are safe and sustainable into the future."
“In the consultation document, we indicated that health boards would be meeting in October to make a decision about the outcome of the South Wales Programme.
However, given the sheer scale of responses and the level of detail they contain, we believe this timescale is now inappropriate.
“In order to fully and properly understand and interpret the comments submitted by the public, politicians, NHS staff and by local interest and professional groups, we will need to take more time to analyse these responses.
“In view of this, we therefore expect health boards to meet before the end of the year to make a decision about the outcome of the South Wales Programme. We recognise that this is later than anticipated but it is important that we consider all the comments received before the health boards make their decisions.”
The programme was launched last autumn but because of its sensitivity has been through two consultation processes.
The responses will now be looked at shared with the region's community health councils (CHC), including Gwent's Anuerin bevan CHC, which will analyse them, before submitting a response.
Disagreements between health boards and CHCs could result in a referral of the proposals to the health minister, though health boards hope to meet to decide the way forward.
Comments are closed on this article.