The proposed reconfiguration of health services in Shropshire should mean that more planned healthcare is delivered in Montgomeryshire's community hospitals, according to local Assembly Member, Russell George.
As we eagerly await a final decision on the "NHS Future Fit" consultation which asked the public whether they preferred for the Royal Shrewsbury to become an Emergency Care Site and the Princess Royal Hospital a planned care site or vice-versa, the Mid Wales AM has questioned the Welsh Government's Minister for Health on their plans to work with Powys Teaching Health Board to improve the accessibility to planned healthcare at community hospitals in Llanidloes, Newtown, Welshpool and Machynlleth.
After questioning the Minister for Health, Vaughan Gething AM, in the National Assembly for Wales yesterday (Wednesday 9th January), Mr George said:
"While there is an overwhelming majority in Montgomeryshire for there to be an emergency care service at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital rather than the Princess Royal in Telford, there are still concerns that this proposed model of care could result in residents having to travel further for some of their planned or elective healthcare.
"I have expressed the view that, alongside the proposed reconfiguration of services in Shropshire, it is essential that some planned care is delivered locally in our local community hospitals in Llanidloes, Newtown, Welshpool and Machynlleth, to prevent the need to travel out of county to see a consultant.
"I was pleased that the Minister committed to working in partnership with Powys Teaching Health Board and other partners to achieve this and I was pleased to hear the example of maternity care where more women are able to access complex maternity care that is midwife led within Powys, rather than having to travel further afield to do so.
"Moving forward, I will continue to campaign for NHS services to be delivered as close as possible to home and I have previously called on the Welsh Government to allocate additional funding to Powys Teaching Health Board for minor injury units and develop a Community Hospital Development Fund to encourage the innovative use of community hospitals across rural Wales. This would making community hospitals more sustainable and ensure that any additional economic, social and psychological burden of travelling further to access planned care or visiting friends and family is minimised."