A FULL independent inquiry must be held to examine the “dire state” of healthcare in Monmouthshire, an MP has said.
Welsh Health Minister Eluned Morgan told the Senedd last month that the situation across Wales was “not great” - yet has denied the NHS is in crisis.
But Monmouth MP David Davies said he and many of his constituents disagree after a catalogue of incidents.
These include an 84-year-old woman with a head inquiry who spent 24 hours being treated in ambulances outside Gwent’s new flagship hospital due to a lack of beds, and a suspected heart attack victim who was told she had to wait two hours for an ambulance.
Mr Davies said there were mounting pressures on the NHS across Wales, although the problem seemed “particularly acute” in Gwent amidst concerns the £350m Grange University Hospital at Llanfrechfa is not fit for purpose.
“I am accused of undermining doctors, nurses and paramedics every time I raise this issue,” he said.
“The blame certainly does not rest with them. We are being let down by those in charge.”
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board claims problems are due to a lack of ambulances and people not understanding how and when to access care.
However, ambulance staff say they are being kept waiting for hours outside The Grange before patients are admitted because of bed shortages.
“When the new hospital was built and the accident and emergency department at Abergavenny’s Nevill Hall Hospital changed to a minor injury unit, residents were assured that healthcare would be far better because the longer ambulance journey to Llanfrechfa would be more than compensated for by the specialist and critical care ‘centre of excellence’ at The Grange,” said Mr Davies.
“This was based on the assumption that an ambulance would arrive within the eight-minute response time target for life-threatening ‘red’ category 999 calls, which isn’t happening.
“One NHS worker told me that if you live in Cwmbran, your chances of surviving a stroke or heart attack are much better than if you live in Monmouth or Abergavenny.
“We can no longer be using the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse and it absolutely has to get sorted out.”
Matters may get worse, Mr Davies said, if a planned “national roster review” by the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust leads to rapid response vehicles being moved away from rural areas in Monmouth and Chepstow.
He is now calling on the Welsh Government to launch an independent public inquiry to examine healthcare failings affecting Monmouthshire and put forward recommendations.
“On the last briefing call I had with the health board, I heard how Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has been using facilities at St Joseph’s Hospital in Newport to get through elective surgery,” added Mr Davies.
“Yet for various reasons, which I don’t fully understand, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board has not made use of the same idea.”