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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