Patients from Penarth requiring chest or lung surgery will in future have to travel 43 miles to Morriston Hospital near Swansea for treatment.
The Cardiff and Vale University Health Board – subject to a “caveat” – has approved a controversial recommendation to move all Thoracic Surgery from the Heath Hospital in Cardiff to Morriston Hospital.
The board says that “after careful consideration of all of the issues and listening to the representations made from both the Senior Clinical Consultant body and the Community Health Council the Board approved all of the recommendations with the caveat that the issues raised above would be reviewed in six months’ time to ensure the issues relating to patient safety aligned with the provision of thoracic surgery cover at the Major Trauma Centre would be met. It was stipulated that if those issues had not been met the Board would withdraw its approval”
When the move is complete, all “Thoracic Surgery” [i.e surgery of the organs in the chest] will be carried out at Morriston Hospital – at the far end of the M4. [The original consultation was publicised in local media and in an item on PDN on June 30th 2018 – See http://tinyurl.com/y9bwfr9k ]
The decision has been made despite the results of a on-line and on-paper public consultation, in which the majority of respondents opposed the move
Out of 804 responses received the results were:-
- 428 or 53.23% disagreed with the proposal.
- 339 or 42.16% agreed with the proposal.
- 34 or 4.23% neither agreed nor disagree with the proposal
- 3 or 0.37% did not answer the question
The vast majority of people living in the Penarth, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan – served by the University Hospital of Wales at the Heath in Cardiff – were AGAINST the scheme .
Out of 335 local respondents 299 voted AGAINST the move to Morriston – but their wishes are being over-ruled by the Labour Party dominated Cardiff and Vale University Health Board which manages the NHS in the Cardiff and Penarth areas.
One respondent in the survey described the decision as “Insanity” . The writer said”Too far for major trauma patients to survive by moving it to Swansea. No way to be able to implement standards – 30 minutes standard is a safety issue. How are you going to provide 24/7 on-site thoracic cover within 30 minutes to the MTC [Morriston] – impossible – patients will die because of this.”
Critics say it’s difficult to understand what the point was of carrying out a public consultation if the results are to be over-ridden and cast-aside.
Currently there are only 2 thoracic consultant surgeons in Morriston whereas in Cardiff there are 3 . The Cardiff and Vale University Health Board says:-
- Over the last year, patients in Wales with lung cancer have waited longer
than they should have for surgery
- Patients in Wales with lung cancer have some of the lowest survival rates
in Europe – even though (as the Health Board says) “we have expert surgeons”
- Patients who need surgery, but do not have lung cancer, have very long
waiting times. The Health Board says “our doctors and nurses tell us this is affecting the quality of care they can provide”
The NHS in Wales is under the overall control of the Welsh Labour Government’s health minister – Vaughan Gething (Labour AM for Cardiff South and Penarth) who is a former trade union solicitor.