Welsh Government criticised after snubbing calls for independent assessment of data on closing air ambulance bases
The Welsh Government has been 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.
Rhun ap Iorwerth, MS, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson on Health and Care and campaigners across the north and Powys have 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.
But Mr ap Iorwerth, who held a public meeting to discuss concerns this week, has called for an urgent review of the proposals after calls for an independent assessment where rejected by the minister on the grounds that the plans have not yet been formally presented.
The plans, seen by Rhun ap Iorwerth in recent draft form, are due to be officially presented to the Emergency Ambulance Services Committee next week.
Mr ap Iorwerth MS said: “I remain fearful that in chasing targets to reach more patients in absolute terms, that services will end up favouring more highly populated areas at the expense of harder-to-reach communities. We need a genuinely independent assessment of data in order to get at the truth.
“The draft report making the recommendation claims that more patients would be reached ‘particularly when a road response was required due to aircraft being grounded’. How on earth can moving those vehicles a long distance from Welshpool and Caernarfon help people in the more remote areas?
“I’m disappointed to have received a response from Welsh Government today, refusing to conduct an independent review into the statistics. The Health Minister says that the reason for this is that the final proposal has not yet been made official yet, but surely we should be confident that the final proposal is based on solid data in the first place?
“These figures have come from the Government itself through its EMRTS emergency service. I will continue to push for the whole dataset to be made available. This process must be fully transparent.
“The Air Ambulance means so much to us. I want people to be able to continue to support it financially knowing it provides the best possible service to all areas.”
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I didn’t know that Air Ambulance is a government agency. It may get some funds from Wales gov but also draws in a great deal from charitable giving. If it was wholly owned by Wales gov you can bet yer boots that it would be focussed on Cardiff with odd trips to other parts just to keep flags flying. Leave it where it is, it’s doing a good job with relatively small resources. If someone wants to enhance the funding then by all means set up yet another base but that’s a big capital outlay in present circumstances.
A portion of the tourist tax could go to the air ambulance, as during the holiday months the visitors help keep the aircraft busy, sadly.
Traffic accidents on the roads of north east Wales figure a lot, but it would be helpful if it were possible to see some facts and figures. If you please Ms/Baroness Morgan…
It’s no surprise that the cabal in Cardiff Bay don’t want an independent assessment. They don’t want their incompetence exposed and that’s why Drakeford lost his head. The air ambulance has a vital partnership with the Welsh NHS. So much for the Welsh government being concerned about the strain on the NHS.
Non story. Please research. The air ambulance in mid Wales is a charity, has refused money from Welsh Government. But there is already an independent review taking place by Powys Council. A second one is not needed is it? You do need to be a bit more questioning of the facts NC.
Please notuce both closures are in the North. An area of mountain landscapes and narrow windy roads.
They are not in the south where Motorways and dual carriageways allow faster road transport.
The Welsh Governent needs to be fir ALL of Wales, not just the valkeys and M4 Belt.