MONMOUTHSHIRE County Council has been asked for its formal view on proposals to remove overnight minor injury services at an Abergavenny hospital.
David Davies MP has written to Labour leader councillor Mary Ann Brocklesby to find out what the council’s stance is and whether she would be engaging with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board during the consultation period.
Plans have been announced to downgrade the nurse-led minor injury unit at Nevill Hall Hospital from a seven days per week 24-hour service.
Instead, health board bosses want to reduce the opening times to 18 hours every day – closing between 1am and 7am.
With the nearest minor injury unit at Ysbyty Aneurin Bevan in Ebbw Vale only open from 9am to 7pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays), residents in north Monmouthshire and south Powys will be forced to travel to Newport’s Royal Gwent Hospital for treatment after 1am.
In his letter to Cllr Brocklesby, Monmouth MP Mr Davies said: “A large number of residents have voiced concerns about the recent decision by Aneurin Bevan University Health Board to shut the minor injury unit at Nevill Hall Hospital overnight.
“People are understandably worried about what happens after 1am and travelling the long distance to Newport with injuries. The journey alone is prohibitive for some as not everyone has access to a car and public transport at that time of night is virtually non-existent.
“I would be grateful if you could let me know whether Monmouthshire County Council is willing to take a view on this matter and give a response to the consultation.”
Last week, the chief executive of the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Nicola Prygodzicz, warned councillors that the NHS cannot afford to keep all current services running and meet demand as Aneurin Bevan Health Board is struggling to keep to its budgeted £112 million deficit this year,
Cllr Richard John blasted these remarks, arguing that this was another example of NHS service being “centralised”
“It’s very clear from what health board bosses said last week that the closure of the minor injuries unit at Nevill Hall Hospital is nothing to do with patient care, but is a kneejerk reaction to their budget shortfall.
“It makes no sense for patients from Abergavenny, surrounding villages and other communities in Monmouthshire to drive past Nevill Hall and past The Grange to get to the only overnight minor injuries unit at the Royal Gwent in Newport.
“This is yet another example of NHS services being centralised, forcing Monmouthshire residents to travel further for care. When Accident & Emergency services were removed from Nevill Hall and centralised at The Grange, albeit unbelievably without planning permission, it was on the basis that overnight minor injuries cover would remain at Nevill Hall.
“My fear is that many residents won’t realise what they’ve got until it’s gone.
“None of us know when in the middle of the night we might need to access urgent healthcare.
“We’ve already had the loss of A&E and maternity services and the downgrading of local ambulance stations – what next?
“I would urge all residents to please sign the petition to demonstrate local opposition to this attack on our healthcare services.
“Let’s send a clear message to health board bosses and to the Welsh Government that we will stand up for healthcare services in our communities.”
The petition to save the Minor Injuries Unit at Nevill Hall Hospital has now collected 4,749 signatures and can be accessed here.
The health board has extended its original eight-week public engagement period for another four weeks until 5pm on Friday 1 December 2023.