Rhondda AM Leanne Wood has welcomed the suspension of the consultation over the future of the Accident and Emergency department at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital.
Senior management within Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board have decided to ‘temporarily pause’ their plans to reduce consultant-led services at the main district hospital serving the Rhondda.
A joint letter signed by health board chairman Marcus Longley and Medical Director Nick Lyons was issued which said: ‘To facilitate the Health Board’s response to Coronavirus COVID-19, we are temporarily pausing most activities within the project considering the future of emergency medicine (A&E) and other related services at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital.
‘Some background work will continue, to consolidate progress that has already been made and to plan for further engagement with the public, staff and our partner organisations in the future.
‘We will not, however, be doing any work that will divert clinical staff from their primary roles. A report on progress made by the project and the decision to pause and consolidate will be considered by the Board at its meeting on 26 March.’
The letter adds: ‘Our primary focus over the coming weeks is to ensure the continuity of essential services. The whole NHS is facing an unprecedented challenge, and this must be our top priority. We are grateful to all those who have participated in the Health Board’s recent engagement events and we look forward to resuming our conversation with the public our staff and elected representatives about options for future service delivery at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital once COVID-19 is under control.’
Leanne welcomed the news, saying: “This will be a great relief to all those who campaigned against the weakening of consultant-led services at the Royal Glamorgan. We firmly believed that the arguments for diluting provision made no sense whatsoever. Reducing capacity – or seeking to reduce capacity – at a time when the NHS faces its greatest challenge in its proud history would have been very unwise.
“This was precisely what Plaid Cymru argued during our debate on the future provision of hospital services in the Senedd earlier this month. We need more capacity in the NHS, not less.
“Our entire focus now has to be on facing down the immense challenges that Covid-19 will present in the coming weeks and months, not least in the health service.”