Senedd to debate future of mid and north Wales Air Ambulance service
Proposals to close and relocate two existing rural bases of the Wales Air Ambulance are set to be debated in the Senedd next week.
The plans, which were first launched in August 2022, could see the combining of crews from the lifesaving service, with bases at Dinas Dinlle and Welshpool, and moving them to Rhuddlan in the north east of Wales.
Changes have been met with widespread concerns, with people across mid and northwest Wales questioning the data behind a decision to move a helicopter and road vehicle base further away from existing localities.
Over 20k people have signed petitions calling for the existing services to remain intact and now Russell George MS is set to lead a Welsh Conservative debate on the Wales Air Ambulance bases reorganisation.
In November the Welsh Government was criticised after Health Minister Eluned Morgan rejected calls for an independent assessment of the data underpinning plans to close Wales Air Ambulance bases at Caernarfon and Welshpool.
At the time Rhun ap Iorwerth, MS, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson on Health and Care raised serious doubts about plans to close the bases to create one central base, which they believe can only lead to a deterioration in the services provided to some of the most hard-to-reach areas, including Ynys Môn, the west of Gwynedd and mid-Wales.
Councillors from Powys, Gwynedd and Ynys Môn as well as representatives from farmers unions have all added their voices to the campaign, fearing the potentially longer waits for urgent care could increase the risk of loss of life in the hardest to reach areas.
They have also questioned the reliability of data suggesting the service would meet a higher demand, possibly 580 call outs a year if it moved.
Welsh Conservatives are calling on the Welsh Government to work with its NHS partners and the Welsh Air Ambulance Charitable Trust to ensure that the current bases remain in operation.
Commenting ahead of the debate, Mr George said: “The service provided by the Wales Air Ambulance to the people of mid Wales and other areas of Wales is invaluable, but there is deep concern about how the proposals to move the Welshpool and Caernarfon bases will strengthen cover in Mid Wales.
“We have seen both the First Minister and the Health Minister attempting to distance themselves and deny responsibility for a proposal that has come from a service of the Welsh NHS.
“I hope that in this debate, we can highlight the clear concerns of people from Mid and North Wales, and that the Welsh Government will agree to work with its NHS partners and the Welsh Air Ambulance Charitable Trust to ensure that air ambulance bases in Welshpool and Caernarfon remain in operation.”
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