Emergency structure shambles ‘can’t go on’ 18.04.11

Patients in the north being failed

Mabon ap Gwynfor with Dafydd Wigley

People’s lives and health could be at greater risk because of the current emergency care structure, says Plaid Cymru’s Clwyd South Candidate Mabon ap Gwynfor.  His comments have been endorsed by former Plaid leader Dafydd Wigley, who underwent heart surgery himself a decade ago. 

Mabon called the current emergency care structure “a complete shambles” following discussions with health professionals who said that patients were being caught in the middle of two competing target structures, one set of targets for treatment by the hospital and another set of targets for the ambulance. He said that the system needed a complete overhaul before something tragic happened: 

“It’s like a script from a Carry On film. The hospital has a specific set of targets for treating patients to reach and so denies entry to ambulance patients. As a consequence the ambulances are queuing up to unload their patients instead of being out on duty ready to respond to an emergency call. This puts heart patients especially at risk as someone suffering a heart attack must get specialist treatment within eight minutes. It’s a complete shambles. 

“This simply can’t go on. It’s certainly not fair on the patients, but neither is it fair on the health professionals like the paramedics who do a terrific job in impossible circumstances. 

“Having two different bodies in charge of the ambulances on the one hand and healthcare in general on the other, with the duplication that entails and the added cost, makes no-sense at all.  The Ambulance Trust must be abolished with the responsibility for the provision of ambulance services passed onto the health boards. 

“This would get rid of competing targets and put the patient first, freeing up the Ambulances so that they can go back on the road doing what they do best. It also has the potential to save a significant amount of money. The Ambulance Trust alone had overheads of nearly £21,000,000 in 2008-2009 most of which could be put directly into patient care. 

“Labour has allowed this shambles to continue far too long putting patients’ lives at risk for the sake of targets. It’s time we put the patients’ needs first. That’s what the medical profession wants, that’s what the dedicated front-line staff want, and that’s certainly what potential patients want.” 

Former Plaid AM and MP Dafydd Wigley said 

“For too long Labour has ignored the problems facing the ambulance service in Wales.  Response times are not up to scratch because front line paramedics, who really do a tremendous job, are not being given the leadership or support they need.  We simply can not afford another five years of Labour failing our health services in the north of Wales.  Patients expect and deserve better. 
“I am delighted that Mabon has made this one of the key issues for him in this campaign.  He recognises the need to improve ambulance services for people in Clwyd South as a matter of urgency.  Labour’s failure to address this problem should not be rewarded.”

diwedd / ends

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