PROPOSED overnight changes to a minor injury unit at an Abergavenny hospital will put “lives at risk” and leave north Monmouthshire residents “abandoned”, Conservative politicians are warning.

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board has announced it is looking to downgrade the nurse-led unit at Nevill Hall Hospital from a seven days per week 24-hour service.

Instead, plans have been revealed to reduce the opening times to 18 hours every day – closing between 1:00am and 7:00am. 

With the nearest minor injury unit at Ysbyty Aneurin Bevan in Ebbw Vale only open from 9:00am to 7:00pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays), residents will be forced to travel to Newport’s Royal Gwent Hospital for treatment after 1:00am.

Monmouth MP David Davies described the proposals as “outrageous” and said healthcare was “going backwards again” under Welsh Labour.

“I have used the minor injury unit at Nevill Hall Hospital, as have my children and no doubt countless of other people,” said Mr Davies.

“It is a vital and easily accessible service for residents living in north Monmouthshire and south Powys.

“My concern is 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 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.”

Mr Davies said it was “ironic” that residents travelling to Newport via the A4042 would have to pass The Grange University Hospital at Llanfrechfa, which only treats patients with a life-threatening illness or serious injury.

“Unfortunately, you can’t get into The Grange unless you have been sent there by an ambulance or doctor,” he added.

 “When The Grange was built and the A&E department at Nevill Hall Hospital was downgraded, we were assured there would be a full minor injury service.

 “Sadly, that feels somewhat of a mistruth now and residents living in the more rural areas of Monmouthshire are once again being abandoned.

 “Questions need to be asked and rightly so. I fear these proposals are the thin edge of the wedge and I urgently call on the health board to reconsider.”

 Monmouth MS Peter Fox added that removing overnight minor injury services would place residents in a “dangerous position”.

 “It is more bad news for the Labour-run NHS in Wales,” said Mr Fox.

 “I am deeply concerned that the people of Monmouthshire will be put in the dangerous position of having no night-time service as a result of this closure.

 “I will be raising this urgent issue with Labour’s Health Minister and demanding a suitable alternative for everyone affected.”

 An eight-week period of engagement and consultation has now been launched. Cllr Richard John, Conservative group leader on Monmouthshire County Council, urged residents to have their say.

 “This is yet another example of the health board centralising services and forcing patients to travel further for routine care and treatment,” said Cllr John.

 “Residents will be forgiven for thinking that this is a knee-jerk reaction to the financial pressures the health board is experiencing rather than a planned move that’s in the interest of patient care.

 “I would urge all residents to engage in this consultation and make their objections to the further stripping back of local services known in the strongest possible terms.”

 If the proposals are taken forward, the health board expects them to be implemented in early 2024.

 For more information and to take part in the consultation, click here.