A SCHOOLGIRL from Milford Haven has handed over a petition at the Senedd in Cardiff, urging health bosses to re-think plans to move some children’s services to Carmarthen.
Megan Rickard, aged nine, has collected around 1,000 signatures on her petition urging health minister Mark Drakeford and Hywel Dda Health board chief executive Trevor Purt to reconsider plans to axe services at Withybush Hospital.
On Tuesday (March 25), she visited the Senedd to present her petition to chairman of the Petitions Committee, William Powell AM.
Megan started collecting signatures after learning about human rights at school, and how the United Nations Convention in the Rights of the Child states that ‘the best interests of the child must be a top priority in all actions concerning children’.
Speaking to Mr Powell, Megan said she was worried what would happen to babies and children from Pembrokeshire who needed to travel to Carmarthen for treatment.
“I think it’s wrong because we have to travel so far and some people might not make the journey,” she added.
As part of her campaign, St Francis school student Megan had contacted schools around the county, calling on her peers to join the fight to keep services in Pembrokeshire.
But, out of more than 70 contacted, only seven schools decided to back the petition – leaving Megan somewhat disappointed
She had previously said that she hoped local headteachers would allow pupils to take part, as any changes to the hospital’s children’s ward would directly affect them.
Mr Powell said he had been very impressed with Megan’s efforts.
“It’s especially gratifying to see young people such as Megan pursuing issues that matter to them and I was very impressed with her grasp of the situation and her enthusiasm and willingness to do all she can to raise awareness among her peers in Pembrokeshire,” he said.
“We’ll be considering this petition along with a number of others from people concerned about the future of Withybush Hospital.”
After handing over her petition, Megan also had the chance to sit in on First Minister’s Questions with her dad Mathew.
Mathew said: “Megan found it quite funny watching all the adults getting wound up with each other and having to be told to calm down.”
He added that Megan – who would like to be Prime Minister one day - also enjoyed meeting Plaid Cymru AM Bethan Jenkins and Minister for Economy, Science and Transport Edwina Hart.
The signatures from Megan’s petition will now be amalgamated with other petitions regarding the future of Withybush Hospital.