Montgomeryshire MS, Russell George has said there should be a formal consultation on the Welshpool Wales Air Ambulance base move proposals
Proposals by the Welsh NHS Emergency Medical Retrieval and transfer Service (EMRTS) and the Wales Air Ambulance Charity would see the closure of the Welshpool and Caernarfon bases and the crews combined into a new North Wales base. A decision is expected to be made next year.
There have been widespread concerns over the proposals, with people across mid Wales questioning how a proposal to move the helicopter and road vehicle further away from mid Wales would lead to an expansion of the service.
The chief ambulance service commissioner is now leading an independent process, but concerns have been raised regarding 'secret' meetings. The Wales Air Ambulance charity have invited selected people to gatherings across Mid Wales over the next two weeks to explore the ‘future of our service delivery’. The charity has made these sessions invitation only and asking those invited ‘not to forward the invite’.
Mr George, speaking in the Senedd, called for a formal public consultation on the proposals, due to the change of delivery of a key service and the significant concern and public interest in the proposals.
Speaking after questioning Eluned Morgan MS during questions to the Minister on Wednesday (16th November), Mr George said:
'The service provided by the Wales Air Ambulance to the people of mid Wales and other areas of Wales is invaluable, but there is deep concern about how the proposals to move the Welshpool base will strengthen cover in Mid Wales.
We have seen the health minister attempting to distance herself and deny responsibility for a proposal that has come from a service of the Welsh NHS.
I am also disappointed to be made aware that The Wales Air Ambulance Charity is arranging meetings to discuss the future delivery of the service, and are only inviting selected people, and asking those invited to not forward the invite to others. This does raise an element of confusion about the engagement process, and the timing of this exercise is questionable.
My overarching question for the Minister this week, was to ask her to support a formal consultation, I was disappointed that the Minister avoided answering my question.
A formal consultation would mean there is a greater level of engagement and scrutiny of the proposals.'