The decision to remove overnight minor injury services at an Abergavenny hospital has been branded “dangerous” by the town’s MP.
David Davies said health bosses were “wrong” to give the green light to removing 24-hour access from the nurse-led minor injury unit at Nevill Hall Hospital.
He expressed his dismay at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board’s “refusal to listen” to the views of concerned residents and described the public consultation as a “fait accompli”.
A petition calling for the unit to be saved was signed by 5,182 people.
But with the proposals now rubber stamped, minor injury provision is set to be axed between the hours of 1:00am and 7:00am.
The only 24 hour, seven days a week service in the area will be at Newport’s Royal Gwent Hospital – a journey of 14 miles (22km) from Abergavenny.
Mr Davies – a vocal opponent of the overnight closure – said he was “incredibly disappointed”.
“This is a bad call and smacks of a fait accompli,” said the Monmouth MP.
“The consultation period and public engagement sessions, which I took part in, felt like a mere box-ticking exercise. What it did clearly demonstrate is we have a health board that refuses to listen to the views and obvious concerns of the people it serves.
“I find it frankly unacceptable that residents living in north Monmouthshire and south Powys are now worrying about what happens after 1:00am.
“People can’t time accidents and will be left with no option other than to travel a long distance to Newport with injuries. But the journey alone is prohibitive for some. Not everyone has access to a car and public transport at that time of night is virtually non-existent.
“The temptation for many people might be to wait until the next day to seek medical treatment. However, more serious conditions are often picked up by minor injury units. By removing overnight healthcare provision, I am concerned lives could be put at risk in the future. It is a dangerous and wrong decision.”
At some point, the “inevitable question” will be asked about the future of Nevill Hall if services continue to be taken away, Mr Davies added.
“We have already lost the A&E department in Abergavenny, which we were assured would be more than compensation for by the new specialist and critical care ‘centre of excellence’ at The Grange University Hospital in Llanfrechfa,” he said.
“The sad reality, which everyone accepts, is The Grange is not good enough. It is not delivering and nobody can say it has been a great success.
“Now we have been stripped of our minor injury unit. It is yet another example of the health board centralising services and forcing patients to travel further for routine care and treatment.
“The Labour Welsh Government, which has previously refused to intervene, must step in and reverse this disastrous decision.”
The health board also agreed the overnight closure of the minor injury unit at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr in Ystrad Mynach between 1:00am and 7:00am – introduced as an emergency measure during the Covid pandemic – be made permanent.