South Wales East Plaid Cymru politicians today called for urgent action to address the overcentralisation at the Grange Hospital which is leading staff and patients to breaking point.
The hospital in Cwmbrân has been open for a mere 18 months, but is already full to capacity and is in need of expansion, according to its medical director Dr James Calvert.
The intervention comes following the news that Aneurin Bevan University Health Board has issued the highest alert possible – known as a ‘black alert’ – due to “unprecedented” pressure on hospital’s services.
Patients are being warned to avoid the hospital unless their condition is life-threatening or if they have a serious injury. Non-life-threatening patients are waiting more than 14 hours to see a doctor, according to reports.
The Grange Hospital was long awaited, and promised for many years. Plaid Cymru called for consideration to be made about staffing back in 2015, before building work had started. It is now clear that there is a lack of planning on what effect the centralisation of services would mean for capacity.
Plaid Cymru’s South Wales East MSs will today raise the issue with the Welsh Government in response to an urgent question.
Peredur Owen Griffiths MS will ask the Labour Government to rectify the crisis emerging “for the sake of patients and staff alike.”
“During my numerous street surgeries throughout the region, a common complaint has been the service that patients have experienced at The Grange. This has been the case across the region.
“It seems people have difficulties in terms of the site’s accessibility, the lack of adequate public transport and the long waits to be seen when they eventually get there. Things have clearly come to a head in the last few days.”
“Having a brand new facility is all well and good, but doesn’t the brief history of The Grange hospital show that a new hospital is nothing without its staff.
“The NHS’s greatest strength is its people and we are in danger of forcing them out of this sector unless we improve their working conditions.
“We also risk the health of patients whenever crisis points like this are reached.
“What lessons have been learnt from the opening of Grange and what plans are in place to put the hospital on a healthier footing? This situation must be rectified soon for the sake of patients and staff alike.”
Delyth Jewell MS, will say: “Since the Grange Hospital opened, it’s been plagued with overcrowding and long waits. This isn’t fair to patients or staff – and the fact that there were 14-hour waits in A&E last night is indicative, I’m afraid, of a significant problem. Last October, there were reports of trainee doctors and consultants being scared to go to work, as was reported by the Royal College of Physicians.
“People in Torfaen have long-awaited this hospital, but what they’ve got is centralised service for all of the region, which doesn’t account for local need or that of the whole region.
“When other hospitals like the Miners in Caerphilly closed, patients were promised they’d not see a disruption to care, but overcentralisation of services is leading to just that. So we have staff who are near breaking point, and patients who aren’t getting the care they need.”
If you want to support Plaid Cymru and Peredur, please click this link.