Thank you to all those who have filled in my joint survey with Craig Williams MP, launched in mid-August, about the concerning news that the Wales Air Ambulance Trust is planning to close their Welshpool base. We were very surprised and disappointed by this announcement.
It is really helpful to us to be able to present to the Trust as many voices of local people as possible. Over 1300 people have replied within the first week of the survey being online which shows how strongly opposed our county is to the proposed changes. If you have friends or family locally who have not already completed the survey, please encourage them to visit our websites or to contact our offices for a paper copy.
Craig and I have met with the Trust to raise our and residents' concerns. In the meeting, the Trust committed to a “genuine consultation” with local residents which we are working to facilitate. We have also asked for the data and analysis used to create the proposals to be shared so they can be properly scrutinised. While the Trust believes they have a case to close the Welshpool base, we have not yet seen any evidence supporting the proposal.
We know from the response to the survey so far that the vast majority of residents who have given so willingly to the Trust in the past will donate less in the future if the Welshpool base closes. Understandably, people want to support charities based locally and we have presented this concern to the Trust.
Montgomeryshire and wider Mid Wales has suffered for many years from poor access to health services. Road ambulance response times are often extremely slow and many of the emergency services we rely on are located in England. We hope that local campaigning efforts will succeed in demonstrating to the Trust the need for the base to remain open.
The Trust states that its plans will improve the numbers of missions they are able to deliver in the whole of Wales, including an additional 26 in Montgomeryshire. They argue in a statement issued on August 25th (click here to view) that extensive analysis has been carried out to create the plans.
We have asked the Trust to attend a public meeting we are proposing to hold. Craig and I are liaising with a number of local groups and individuals to demonstrate how widespread worries are.
We will continue to keep you informed of developments. Please watch our websites and social media closely for news.