CALLS to protect and improve ambulance services in mid Wales has pushed the Wales Ambulance Service to reveal that they are reviewing their resources in the region.
Instead of cuts, Plaid Cymru Powys county councillors, Elwyn Vaughan and Bryn Davies believe that more investment is needed and want to see the ambulance stations coverage in some Montgomeryshire towns extended to 24 hours.
Plaid Cymru group leader Cllr Vaughan said: “Far too often ambulances are stuck outside major hospitals such as Telford, Shrewsbury or Wrexham, resulting in ambulances being drafted in from other parts of Montgomeryshire to relieve the pressures in Welshpool or Newtown.
“But in doing so, undermine the cover in places such as Machynlleth, Llanfyllin or Llanidloes.
“This is a particular problem at night where a crew from Machynlleth will be called to Newtown only to then end up in Telford or even Hereford hospitals.”
“We already have a situation where Llanfyllin and Llanidloes stations are closed at night, we understand there’s a real threat that will happen also in due course at Machynlleth meaning that most of Montgomeryshire will have hardly any cover at night.”
They also point out that ambulance stations at Tywyn and Bala, just over the county border in Gwynedd, are closed at night.
Also, the ambulance based in Dolgellau is often drawn up to deal with issues further north in Gwynedd.
“It means that most of south Gwynedd and north Powys could have hardly any cover at night – a disgraceful situation, said Cllr Vaughan.”
The pair want to see all 24-hour coverage at all ambulance stations which would mean extending the hours for Llanidloes and Llanfyllin.
The 24-hour ambulance station in Machynlleth should not be under threat and an extra ambulance made available in the Newtown and Welshpool area.
Cllr Vaughan added that an online petition is being set up and that Plaid Cymru Senedd Members will take their concerns up with the Welsh Government.
Ben Collins, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Operations Manager in south Powys, said: “Recently we undertook a ‘demand and capacity’ review to identify the resources we need to meet predicted and future demand.
“As a result, a roster review is now underway.
“This means that all ambulance rosters across Powys will be subject to a thorough review so that we can be confident that we have the right number of resources working in the right places, at the right time.
“Roster reviews are complex and sensitive and we’re working closely with colleagues, Trade Union’s and Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB) to navigate this work and reach an agreement which we believe is the most appropriate.”
Mr Collins explained that the nature of the work means that in the best interest of patients, crews are sent to deal with incidents across geographical boundaries.
Mr Collins “This is especially true in Powys, where crews traverse borders every day to take patients to hospital in one the six neighbouring Welsh health boards, as well as into England.
He said that they try and”mitigate” this as much as they can because it impacts staff welfare and the communities.
He added that the service would “reach out” to Cllrs Vaughan and Davies to “better understand their concerns.”