Column in the Barry & District News by Alun Cairns MP:
Many readers will be aware of the Community Health Council’s (CHC) role over recent months in relation to the campaign to save the Sam Davies Ward. The CHC acts as the statutory independent voice for health services in Wales. They work to improve the quality of local services and provides our community with a wealth of information – including data and facts at my public meeting on the issue. Unfortunately, I note from the CHC’s most recent briefing that they still hold concerns that Health Board may yet attempt to close the Sam Davies Ward at Barry Hospital.
For many of us locally, who were engaged with the community campaign to save the Ward last year, this is worrying. The campaign, at that time, had a positive conclusion when the Health Board backed down on their proposals to close the Ward at that stage. However, they may be try to bring about the closure of the Ward through other means.
We need to pay close attention to how this develops. The CHC has expressed concern with ‘pathway changes’ for patients at the Sam Davies Ward which could lead to the closure, as it would bring about an argument that it’s not needed.
I am determined for the Ward to remain open and I am grateful for the work that the CHC is undertaking to hold the Health Board to account. After the way our community came together to oppose the closure of the Ward last year, I have every confidence that we will put up a fight to any future attempts to reduce local health services. I also want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to everyone who has been involved with the campaign including members of the public, the Soroptimists, and the Unions. Everyone played a key role in this community campaign.
On a separate matter, following the collapse of Flybe last week, I made contact with Cardiff Airport, UK Government Transport Minister Kelly Tolhurst MP and other providers to ensure that we protect routes to and from South Wales.
Protecting routes and keeping our communities connected to the rest of the UK and further afield must be a top priority. This has been the basis for my discussions so far and I am pleased that Logan Air stepped in at an early stage to assist.
I will be keeping a close eye on both of these issues as they develop, ensuring that there is a local voice to stand up for the protection of local health services and to keep Barry and the Vale connected.