WITHYBUSH SOS: MP's strong opposition to ‘reckless cuts’ to health services

Milford Mercury: Strong opposition from local MP on ‘reckless cuts’ to health services Strong opposition from local MP on ‘reckless cuts’ to health services

‘IT IS simply no good having improved services in Carmarthen if people can’t access them’ says Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb as he calls on the Health Minister to reconsider ‘reckless cuts’ to health services.

Mr Crabb said Mark Drakeford must ‘take responsibility for the real danger he is posing on Pembrokeshire’.

His statement comes following a meeting with the head of the scrutiny panel which approved the decision to downgrade maternity services at Withybush Hospital. Mr Drakeford had refused to meet with Mr Crabb so he met Professor Neena Modi and challenged her on the evidence used to axe consultant-led maternity care and the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at Withybush Hospital.

He asked ‘how it could be safe to move vital maternity services to Carmarthen, when Pembrokeshire’s rural geography can make it difficult to reach even the local hospital at the best of times?’ A spokesman for Mr Crabb said Professor Modi, who works at London’s Chelsea and Westminster hospital, avoided the issue, stating instead that Pembrokeshire people should be pleased that there will be improved services at Carmarthen.

When pressed about specific transport problems, such as the frequent closures to the A40, the Professor insisted that she had advised Mark Drakeford only to go ahead with the cuts if there was an appropriate ‘safety net’ of transport links in place. A Welsh Government official, who was also present at the meeting, was not able to confirm that these safety nets were in place despite admitting that the closures would begin to take effect in just two months’ time.

Mr Crabb will now write to Mr Drakeford for a second time, to challenge him on why the downgrade is going ahead without the required safety nets being in place.

Mr Crabb said: “I am now more concerned than ever that the Welsh Government’s decision to axe maternity services from Withybush did not take into account the very serious geographic challenges that will make it difficult to reach Glangwili Hospital in an emergency. Professor Modi talked about the benefits of having a better unit at Glangwili, but it is simply no good having improved services in Camarthen if people can’t access them.

“The A40 has been closed at least five times already this year but no-one at the meeting was able to tell me how patients would be transferred if the road was closed. Combine this with the fact that Welsh Labour have missed their ambulance response time targets for 21 out of the last 22 months and it makes for a very worrying prospect indeed.

“I told the Professor about the countless personal stories I have received from constituents who would have lost loved-ones if it wasn’t for the maternity services at Withybush. Her response that, ‘anecdote is a poor way to make policy’, is exactly what we have come to expect on questions about Withybush. It is no wonder why Pembrokeshire people don’t feel they are being heard. “I am gobsmacked that these proposals are going ahead without the recommended safety nets in place. Perhaps the Welsh Labour Government think the recent reports that over 50% of people don’t realise they are in charge of the NHS in Wales is an excuse to sit on their hands. I am writing again to the Welsh Health Minister, Mark Drakeford AM, to urge him to reconsider these reckless cuts and take responsibility for the real danger he is posing on Pembrokeshire.”

Comments (19)

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6:11pm Mon 16 Jun 14

Gogledd says...

I commend Mr Crabb for his efforts. BUT...the Welsh Govt knows full well the Geography of the Nation it supposedly governs in our name!!..well enough to completely understand and comprehend the implications of these cuts and the effect it will have on the people of Pembrokeshire. It isnt interested in being told what to do by anyone and makes it own decisions with out care, due diligence or any thought. It is a dictatorship.
I commend Mr Crabb for his efforts. BUT...the Welsh Govt knows full well the Geography of the Nation it supposedly governs in our name!!..well enough to completely understand and comprehend the implications of these cuts and the effect it will have on the people of Pembrokeshire. It isnt interested in being told what to do by anyone and makes it own decisions with out care, due diligence or any thought. It is a dictatorship. Gogledd
  • Score: 25

8:49pm Mon 16 Jun 14

Welshman23 says...

Sadly to late Mr Crabb this has been going on while you are afraid of sticking your head above the parapitt . Pembrokeshire is a fantastic county but the local health board and PCC are a disgrace, mention the word Pembrokeshire it means cut backs we have lost our status in government because we are unable to run our county properly.
Sadly to late Mr Crabb this has been going on while you are afraid of sticking your head above the parapitt . Pembrokeshire is a fantastic county but the local health board and PCC are a disgrace, mention the word Pembrokeshire it means cut backs we have lost our status in government because we are unable to run our county properly. Welshman23
  • Score: 8

10:11pm Mon 16 Jun 14

Bead says...

Drakeford's an absolute disgrace - when faced with requests to meet people who oppose his views he simply refuses. When people are killed because of his intransigence, their deaths will be on his head. Good for you, Mr Crabb, for taking him on. Please continue fighting on our behalf.
Drakeford's an absolute disgrace - when faced with requests to meet people who oppose his views he simply refuses. When people are killed because of his intransigence, their deaths will be on his head. Good for you, Mr Crabb, for taking him on. Please continue fighting on our behalf. Bead
  • Score: 24

3:29am Tue 17 Jun 14

jonno1103 says...

Withybush's acute intake for all patients is 25% HIGHER than Glangwili, a hospital that has historically been reluctant to assist during bed shortages. ALL of the services provided are under threat. Pathology relocated four years ago, acute intake for gastroenterology has relocated and now the next step is cardiology. Respiratory medicine has had an unfilled Consultant vacancy for over twelve months. Most of the senior staff are beginning to look elsewhere for employment as the Welsh Govt simply will not listen to any staff at any level... None are involved in the consultations however, if a senior doctor mentions that their specialty is becoming untenable they will be wheeled out by Drakeford and used as the scapegoat.
Withybush's acute intake for all patients is 25% HIGHER than Glangwili, a hospital that has historically been reluctant to assist during bed shortages. ALL of the services provided are under threat. Pathology relocated four years ago, acute intake for gastroenterology has relocated and now the next step is cardiology. Respiratory medicine has had an unfilled Consultant vacancy for over twelve months. Most of the senior staff are beginning to look elsewhere for employment as the Welsh Govt simply will not listen to any staff at any level... None are involved in the consultations however, if a senior doctor mentions that their specialty is becoming untenable they will be wheeled out by Drakeford and used as the scapegoat. jonno1103
  • Score: 19

8:48am Tue 17 Jun 14

Gogledd says...

Putting politics to one side, by that I mean Tory or Labour or Lib dem etc...I do believe that Mr Crabb does feel very concerned about what is going on at Withybush. Re Welshmans comment about PCC etc...thats is true too, but to a point. What I do think is true is that no one wants to come and live and work here at the Medical Professional level. I was told that years ago by a friend who is a doctor and he said that they couldnt get the staff because of the lack of good schooling and isolation and that it was the end of the line. If you wanted to progress in your medical career you wouldnt come to here to Pembrokeshire. I believe that now to be coming a reality especially as the rediculous situtation exists within the ruling party of PCC. This ahs been sneaking up on us for years.
Putting politics to one side, by that I mean Tory or Labour or Lib dem etc...I do believe that Mr Crabb does feel very concerned about what is going on at Withybush. Re Welshmans comment about PCC etc...thats is true too, but to a point. What I do think is true is that no one wants to come and live and work here at the Medical Professional level. I was told that years ago by a friend who is a doctor and he said that they couldnt get the staff because of the lack of good schooling and isolation and that it was the end of the line. If you wanted to progress in your medical career you wouldnt come to here to Pembrokeshire. I believe that now to be coming a reality especially as the rediculous situtation exists within the ruling party of PCC. This ahs been sneaking up on us for years. Gogledd
  • Score: 7

9:18am Tue 17 Jun 14

AdmiralFoley says...

Evidently the lives of Pembrokeshire people mean very little to Mark Drakeford. I wonder how he'll feel, though, when the downgrading of Withybush starts endangering the lives of tourists and hitting the national press? If his blinkered decisions result in deaths, I think it's only fair that he faces manslaughter charges afterwards.
Evidently the lives of Pembrokeshire people mean very little to Mark Drakeford. I wonder how he'll feel, though, when the downgrading of Withybush starts endangering the lives of tourists and hitting the national press? If his blinkered decisions result in deaths, I think it's only fair that he faces manslaughter charges afterwards. AdmiralFoley
  • Score: 22

10:34am Tue 17 Jun 14

seaveiw says...

Gogledd wrote:
Putting politics to one side, by that I mean Tory or Labour or Lib dem etc...I do believe that Mr Crabb does feel very concerned about what is going on at Withybush. Re Welshmans comment about PCC etc...thats is true too, but to a point. What I do think is true is that no one wants to come and live and work here at the Medical Professional level. I was told that years ago by a friend who is a doctor and he said that they couldnt get the staff because of the lack of good schooling and isolation and that it was the end of the line. If you wanted to progress in your medical career you wouldnt come to here to Pembrokeshire. I believe that now to be coming a reality especially as the rediculous situtation exists within the ruling party of PCC. This ahs been sneaking up on us for years.
I too have to agree regarding attracting medical staff to the end of the line both personally and careerwise surely some system of staff rotation could be arranged with the medical school, when I was working in Essex the registrars and senior registrars rotated every six months to a similar hospital but were primarly based at The London
[quote][p][bold]Gogledd[/bold] wrote: Putting politics to one side, by that I mean Tory or Labour or Lib dem etc...I do believe that Mr Crabb does feel very concerned about what is going on at Withybush. Re Welshmans comment about PCC etc...thats is true too, but to a point. What I do think is true is that no one wants to come and live and work here at the Medical Professional level. I was told that years ago by a friend who is a doctor and he said that they couldnt get the staff because of the lack of good schooling and isolation and that it was the end of the line. If you wanted to progress in your medical career you wouldnt come to here to Pembrokeshire. I believe that now to be coming a reality especially as the rediculous situtation exists within the ruling party of PCC. This ahs been sneaking up on us for years.[/p][/quote]I too have to agree regarding attracting medical staff to the end of the line both personally and careerwise surely some system of staff rotation could be arranged with the medical school, when I was working in Essex the registrars and senior registrars rotated every six months to a similar hospital but were primarly based at The London seaveiw
  • Score: 7

10:35am Tue 17 Jun 14

great gran says...

We are losing all our safety nets with our health teams that has been built up over decades and being dismantled at a fair rate of knots in just no time at all!
Do the people in these important positions realise they were put there for a reason by the people of Pembrokeshire for the people of Pembrokeshire! They should be our mouth piece to keep what is our by right and fought for over the decades.
Does not take much to realise lives are going to be lost because of these cuts and hope they have it on their conscience for all time.
Great Gran
We are losing all our safety nets with our health teams that has been built up over decades and being dismantled at a fair rate of knots in just no time at all! Do the people in these important positions realise they were put there for a reason by the people of Pembrokeshire for the people of Pembrokeshire! They should be our mouth piece to keep what is our by right and fought for over the decades. Does not take much to realise lives are going to be lost because of these cuts and hope they have it on their conscience for all time. Great Gran great gran
  • Score: 12

10:38am Tue 17 Jun 14

great gran says...

I also despair that what we worked so hard to build up over the past decades is quickly being dismantled and makes us feel we worked for nothing in the end and will have very little to show for our working lives of dedicated, caring people.
I also despair that what we worked so hard to build up over the past decades is quickly being dismantled and makes us feel we worked for nothing in the end and will have very little to show for our working lives of dedicated, caring people. great gran
  • Score: 6

12:14pm Tue 17 Jun 14

Gogledd says...

where is the common sense in this though?. It doesnt take rocket science to work it out. The WG are buring their heads in the sand over this and they also dont care. How any one with any conscience can allow this to happen is unbelievable its basically murder...there must be a law somewhere that says that...because if people die because of lack of medical facilities when the WG has been warned time and time again that this is not an acceptable situation in Pembrokeshire....its no point in saying we have got wonderful new facilites in Carmarthen if we die before we get to them...it is rediculous..
where is the common sense in this though?. It doesnt take rocket science to work it out. The WG are buring their heads in the sand over this and they also dont care. How any one with any conscience can allow this to happen is unbelievable its basically murder...there must be a law somewhere that says that...because if people die because of lack of medical facilities when the WG has been warned time and time again that this is not an acceptable situation in Pembrokeshire....its no point in saying we have got wonderful new facilites in Carmarthen if we die before we get to them...it is rediculous.. Gogledd
  • Score: 14

12:23pm Tue 17 Jun 14

Andrew Lye says...

Has Professor Neena Modi actually been to Pembrokeshire to know what its like to get to Withybush, say from places like Trefin. And then to have to make the journey to Carmarthen from Trefin?
Maybe Stephen Crabb would like to invite the Professor to accompany him around the remote (and not remote!) parts of the county.
Also.... to ask her how she would like to be treated if she was here as a visitor and was taken ill, or a loved one with her.
As the cuts happen, surely Pembrokeshire will get a health warning from visitors who from experience might pass the word..."Avoid Pembrokeshire for your holiday, or go to Pembrokeshire at your own risk".
I suppose we will have to wait for something serious to happen here to a Labour politician, before Welsh Labour wakes up in Cardiff. And they have the temerity to say the NHS is ONLY safe in Labour's hands.
Has Professor Neena Modi actually been to Pembrokeshire to know what its like to get to Withybush, say from places like Trefin. And then to have to make the journey to Carmarthen from Trefin? Maybe Stephen Crabb would like to invite the Professor to accompany him around the remote (and not remote!) parts of the county. Also.... to ask her how she would like to be treated if she was here as a visitor and was taken ill, or a loved one with her. As the cuts happen, surely Pembrokeshire will get a health warning from visitors who from experience might pass the word..."Avoid Pembrokeshire for your holiday, or go to Pembrokeshire at your own risk". I suppose we will have to wait for something serious to happen here to a Labour politician, before Welsh Labour wakes up in Cardiff. And they have the temerity to say the NHS is ONLY safe in Labour's hands. Andrew Lye
  • Score: 9

1:42pm Tue 17 Jun 14

Cymru bach says...

Stephen Crabbe MP is making these points for purely political reasons.

If he is as concerned as he claims perhaps he could ask the Chancellor to give Wales a proper settlement as per the Barnet Formula. That would allow the NHS in Wales to be fully funded.
Stephen Crabbe MP is making these points for purely political reasons. If he is as concerned as he claims perhaps he could ask the Chancellor to give Wales a proper settlement as per the Barnet Formula. That would allow the NHS in Wales to be fully funded. Cymru bach
  • Score: -3

4:14pm Tue 17 Jun 14

williamsmum says...

It makes me ashamed to be living in our beautiful county, what with our disgraceful PCC and disgraceful NHS making decisions none of us want. We are quickly becoming a second class county.
Thanks a bunch. On your own heads be it.
It makes me ashamed to be living in our beautiful county, what with our disgraceful PCC and disgraceful NHS making decisions none of us want. We are quickly becoming a second class county. Thanks a bunch. On your own heads be it. williamsmum
  • Score: 8

10:17pm Tue 17 Jun 14

Honest Local says...

Don't be in too much of a hurry to blame Mr Drakeford or Mr Crabb folks - I suggest you look closer to home. This whole plan is developed and led by a Haverfordwest man Chris Martin, a retired chemist, and he tried this and failed some years ago. He also has local people on his health board - a Mr Powell from Solva, and a Councillor Hancock from Neyland. We were told that the people would decide and they issued these questionnaires to us all - but then ignored the responses because it did not fit their plans. Then they said the doctors were the best to decide, but the doctors opposed the plans as we now know. The staff don't know what is going on and there is no communication with them. Mr Martin and his chief executive never appear in public to answer questions. The whole affair is a total sham and should be exposed - pity Pembrokeshire couldn't break away from Cardiff and join the English NHS !
Don't be in too much of a hurry to blame Mr Drakeford or Mr Crabb folks - I suggest you look closer to home. This whole plan is developed and led by a Haverfordwest man Chris Martin, a retired chemist, and he tried this and failed some years ago. He also has local people on his health board - a Mr Powell from Solva, and a Councillor Hancock from Neyland. We were told that the people would decide and they issued these questionnaires to us all - but then ignored the responses because it did not fit their plans. Then they said the doctors were the best to decide, but the doctors opposed the plans as we now know. The staff don't know what is going on and there is no communication with them. Mr Martin and his chief executive never appear in public to answer questions. The whole affair is a total sham and should be exposed - pity Pembrokeshire couldn't break away from Cardiff and join the English NHS ! Honest Local
  • Score: 12

10:57pm Tue 17 Jun 14

chizy says...

Honest Local wrote:
Don't be in too much of a hurry to blame Mr Drakeford or Mr Crabb folks - I suggest you look closer to home. This whole plan is developed and led by a Haverfordwest man Chris Martin, a retired chemist, and he tried this and failed some years ago. He also has local people on his health board - a Mr Powell from Solva, and a Councillor Hancock from Neyland. We were told that the people would decide and they issued these questionnaires to us all - but then ignored the responses because it did not fit their plans. Then they said the doctors were the best to decide, but the doctors opposed the plans as we now know. The staff don't know what is going on and there is no communication with them. Mr Martin and his chief executive never appear in public to answer questions. The whole affair is a total sham and should be exposed - pity Pembrokeshire couldn't break away from Cardiff and join the English NHS !
Careful Honest Local about looking across the border.
Sadly the NHS countrywide is being systematically eroded.
I'm a customer of the NHS and very thankful for everything they have done for me so far over 45 years (from being born in the County to looking after my late mum on ward 10 and everything in between) and hopefully they'll still continue to do so for a year or two yet ;)
Sadly some people in Office (don't like the word 'power') see the NHS as a burden and are quite happy to stand by and watch the destruction in order to welcome the private health institutions with open arms. After all it's time for payback after years of 'donations' from these corporations.
The whole lot of them have stood back over the years and let this happen and yet most of them have been served by the NHS in some shape or form.
Wonder what Nye Bevan would have made of this betrayal of a service created to take care of the nations' wellbeing?
[quote][p][bold]Honest Local[/bold] wrote: Don't be in too much of a hurry to blame Mr Drakeford or Mr Crabb folks - I suggest you look closer to home. This whole plan is developed and led by a Haverfordwest man Chris Martin, a retired chemist, and he tried this and failed some years ago. He also has local people on his health board - a Mr Powell from Solva, and a Councillor Hancock from Neyland. We were told that the people would decide and they issued these questionnaires to us all - but then ignored the responses because it did not fit their plans. Then they said the doctors were the best to decide, but the doctors opposed the plans as we now know. The staff don't know what is going on and there is no communication with them. Mr Martin and his chief executive never appear in public to answer questions. The whole affair is a total sham and should be exposed - pity Pembrokeshire couldn't break away from Cardiff and join the English NHS ![/p][/quote]Careful Honest Local about looking across the border. Sadly the NHS countrywide is being systematically eroded. I'm a customer of the NHS and very thankful for everything they have done for me so far over 45 years (from being born in the County to looking after my late mum on ward 10 and everything in between) and hopefully they'll still continue to do so for a year or two yet ;) Sadly some people in Office (don't like the word 'power') see the NHS as a burden and are quite happy to stand by and watch the destruction in order to welcome the private health institutions with open arms. After all it's time for payback after years of 'donations' from these corporations. The whole lot of them have stood back over the years and let this happen and yet most of them have been served by the NHS in some shape or form. Wonder what Nye Bevan would have made of this betrayal of a service created to take care of the nations' wellbeing? chizy
  • Score: 7

10:26am Wed 18 Jun 14

williamsmum says...

The **** part of the Welsh Assembly is quite apt isn't it!
The **** part of the Welsh Assembly is quite apt isn't it! williamsmum
  • Score: 1

1:22pm Wed 18 Jun 14

Honest Local says...

What I am saying is don't point the finger at the Welsh Assembly for all of this - the money isn't around and there are perhaps other issues. The cynic in me says that many of the problems are 'engineered' to suit the circumstances - delayed doctor recruitment etc. The real finger should be pointed locally at our own Local Health Trust - Mr Martine and Mr Pertwee in particular - they decided to centralise in Carmarthen despite the majority of people in their own consultation and the majority of doctors and professional staff saying it should be Haverfordwest. This did not fit their plans - look closely at the local decision makers and the names of those who sit around their meeting tables - they endorsed and ratified the closures and no one else !!
What I am saying is don't point the finger at the Welsh Assembly for all of this - the money isn't around and there are perhaps other issues. The cynic in me says that many of the problems are 'engineered' to suit the circumstances - delayed doctor recruitment etc. The real finger should be pointed locally at our own Local Health Trust - Mr Martine and Mr Pertwee in particular - they decided to centralise in Carmarthen despite the majority of people in their own consultation and the majority of doctors and professional staff saying it should be Haverfordwest. This did not fit their plans - look closely at the local decision makers and the names of those who sit around their meeting tables - they endorsed and ratified the closures and no one else !! Honest Local
  • Score: 3

10:42pm Wed 18 Jun 14

teifion says...

Cymru bach wrote:
Stephen Crabbe MP is making these points for purely political reasons.

If he is as concerned as he claims perhaps he could ask the Chancellor to give Wales a proper settlement as per the Barnet Formula. That would allow the NHS in Wales to be fully funded.
The Welsh NHS does spend more per "customer" than Englands NHS, one wonders why if this is the case 24 life saving cancer drugs, stroke rehabilitation centres or the very latest surgery techniques are not available here - is it money "wasted" on welsh signage, free parking or free prescriptions

One defence is that the Welsh are sicker but is that a bit of a circular argument as If we don't have access to the latest treatment we remain iller - LOTS of questions need to be answered but we know from Ann Clwyds story - you slag off the NHS then Carwyns attack dogs are set loose.

Maybe the Welsh NHS MUST not be allowed to look worse as it will help Millipede slag off Cameron and get into power come 2015 ?

Musn't stray too far from the story which is just about Mr Crabbe innit? ;-)
[quote][p][bold]Cymru bach[/bold] wrote: Stephen Crabbe MP is making these points for purely political reasons. If he is as concerned as he claims perhaps he could ask the Chancellor to give Wales a proper settlement as per the Barnet Formula. That would allow the NHS in Wales to be fully funded.[/p][/quote]The Welsh NHS does spend more per "customer" than Englands NHS, one wonders why if this is the case 24 life saving cancer drugs, stroke rehabilitation centres or the very latest surgery techniques are not available here - is it money "wasted" on welsh signage, free parking or free prescriptions One defence is that the Welsh are sicker but is that a bit of a circular argument as If we don't have access to the latest treatment we remain iller - LOTS of questions need to be answered but we know from Ann Clwyds story - you slag off the NHS then Carwyns attack dogs are set loose. Maybe the Welsh NHS MUST not be allowed to look worse as it will help Millipede slag off Cameron and get into power come 2015 ? Musn't stray too far from the story which is just about Mr Crabbe innit? ;-) teifion
  • Score: 5

11:41am Thu 19 Jun 14

seaveiw says...

Cymru bach wrote:
Stephen Crabbe MP is making these points for purely political reasons.

If he is as concerned as he claims perhaps he could ask the Chancellor to give Wales a proper settlement as per the Barnet Formula. That would allow the NHS in Wales to be fully funded.
Wales does get its fair share of money but is it not used wisely,does it really need 22 local authorities to govern 2.2 million people I think not, what a waste reduce the numbers,the money saved should then be used I hope wisely for other things such as health, social provision, and education
[quote][p][bold]Cymru bach[/bold] wrote: Stephen Crabbe MP is making these points for purely political reasons. If he is as concerned as he claims perhaps he could ask the Chancellor to give Wales a proper settlement as per the Barnet Formula. That would allow the NHS in Wales to be fully funded.[/p][/quote]Wales does get its fair share of money but is it not used wisely,does it really need 22 local authorities to govern 2.2 million people I think not, what a waste reduce the numbers,the money saved should then be used I hope wisely for other things such as health, social provision, and education seaveiw
  • Score: 3

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