Ceredigion AM Elin Jones has reacted with alarm to the Health Minister’s recent statement, which re-opened the debate over the future of consultant-led obstetric services at Bronglais Hospital.

A scheduled ministerial statement on January 21 on maternity services at Withybush Hospital unexpectedly included proposals from the specialist panel to downgrade Bronglais too with a view to centralising services at Carmarthen.

Elin Jones said: “Rumours that the issue of downgrading maternity services at Bronglais would be reopened have been confirmed to be true by the Minister, who seems to have accepted Hywel Dda Health Board’s view that there could be a case to have a midwife-led unit at Bronglais.

“People in mid Wales will rightly be angered at this news. The Minister only assured me in September that his review into maternity services in Pembrokeshire would have no effect on Bronglais.

“The Minister told me that no final decision would be made before the outcome of the review into the long-term future of healthcare in mid Wales, and that any change would be dependent on better arrangements for the rapid transfer of patients by helicopter. But people will scarcely be reassured by such words. Bronglais serves expectant mothers from across a wide area – a centralised service at Carmarthen is unacceptable."

She added that a full consultation should be carried out before pursuing this option.

Mid and West AM Simon Thomas was shocked that the long term future of obstetrics and midwife services was not secured.

He said: “It is bitterly disappointing for the residents who depend on the services at Bronglais Hospital. The Minister must come forward with a statement about the long term future of services at Bronglais Hospital.”

He added he, Elin Jones and Westminster candidate Mike Parker planned to work together to build a secure future for Bronglais.