Elective surgery cancelled across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire
2:22pm Monday 21st October 2013 in News
THE Health Service union, UNISON, reacted angrily today over plans by the Hywel Dda Health Board to cancel all elective orthopaedic surgery for four main hospitals in the Hywel Dda Health Board area. The hospitals affected will be Prince Philip Hospital, Glangwili Hospital, Bronglais Hospital and Withybush Hospital.
The Health Board has announced this week that in order to make financial savings, all orthopaedic elective surgery such as hip and knee replacements will be cancelled and not resume until April 2014.
In criticizing the plans, UNISON Branch Chairperson, Wendy Evans, said
“The Health Board already has a waiting time of 15 months for patients awaiting orthopaedic surgery. This will clearly add at least another five to six months to their waiting time, causing further distress and possibly further complications to their condition”.
News of this plan was originally conveyed to Trade Union leaders representing health workers across the three counties of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire which form part of the Hywel Dda Health Board area.
At the meeting, UNISON made it clear that it had no intention of keeping the plans confidential and immediately wrote to the Health Minister, Mr Mark Drakeford to complain about the decision.
The letter explains that whilst the plans will affect the communities across the Hywel Dda area, they will be of particular concern to the people of Llanelli and the future of Prince Philip Hospital at Llanelli.
Mrs Evans explained that Prince Philip Hospital was the centre for elective orthopaedic operations in Carmarthenshire and in fact that the Health Board had promised to develop the service into a centre of orthopaedic excellence to ensure the continued full future use of the hospital in the light of service reductions there such as A&E.
UNISON claims that although the plans are said not to involve redundancies, staff have only been given one month’s notice to seek redeployment pending the cancellation of the service.
UNISON also understands that in staff meetings at Prince Philip Hospital today, the Orthopaedic consultant surgeons were deeply critical of the plans.
UNISON Regional Organiser, Jeff Baker, said “this is another example of the Health Board making a unilateral decision on service changes without properly consulting either the staff or the community. Our letter to the Minister has called upon him to intervene to stop this rash and counter-productive proposal.”