Ceredigion's Welsh Liberal Democrat MP, Mark Williams, has slammed the Hywel Dda University Health Board's decision to downgrade maternity services at Aberystwyth's Bronglais Hospital.
The decision is made even more worrying because most of the recent promotional material produced by Hywel Dda about changes to maternity services does not mention any provision for services at Bronglais Hospital at all. Instead, all maternity services are being advertised as provided within Glangwili and Withybush hospitals.
Ceredigion Liberal Democrats have been campaigning against the downgrading of local health services for many years, with Mark Williams’ first warning that maternity provision at Bronglais was under threat coming in 2006 following the publication of the Ceredigion Local Health Board's ‘Designed to Deliver’ consultation. Over 2,200 people so far have signed a petition by Mark Williams and Assembly Candidate Elizabeth Evans against any downgrading of Bronglais Hospital.
Mark Williams, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Ceredigion, said:
“Consultant-led maternity services seem to be next to face Hywel Dda's ruthless salami slicing of our local health services. The fact that this is being done by the back door and local people haven't been clearly told, however, is an insult to the people of Ceredigion.
"I know first-hand how important it is to have a consultant-led maternity unit in Aberystwyth. When my daughter Anna was born, my wife got into difficulty and we were helped by an excellent consultant-led team. If the consultant hadn't been available at short notice to help, I dread the think what would have happened. Mothers having troubled births cannot be expected to travel for over two hours to Carmarthen to give birth – it's completely unrealistic.”
Elizabeth Evans, Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Candidate for Ceredigion, added:
“When we warned that our local health services were under threat, we were accused of scaremongering. Unfortunately, time has proved us right: we have seen service after service taken away from us over the past few years. While the local Lib Dems have consistently fought against the downgrading of Bronglais, the local Plaid Cymru AM failed to stop this happening when she sat at the cabinet table in Cardiff Bay.
“Thousands of people have already signed our petition against the cuts to Bronglais Hospital, and we will not stop our campaign until vital services are restored and protected. The people of Ceredigion deserve decent health services, and I will fight tooth and nail to bring our healthcare back to Bronglais.”