Bronglais protest in Cardiff

Campaigners from Aberystwyth travelled to Cardiff today to hand a petition of more than 8000 signatures to Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Health and Social Services. Approximately 800 protesters travelled from Aberystwyth and the surrounding area this morning in order to have their voices heard outside the Senedd. They were also joined by members of the public sector union UNISON.

Peter Gardener, a retired Bronglais consultant and chairman of aBer campaign group against the proposed changes at Bronglais, spoke out in a BBC interview this morning. He accused Hywel Dda health board of “insidious downgrading” of facilities, applying changes while discussions were ongoing, and citing a 20% reduction in the number of beds available as just one example of this.

Also joining the protest today were local Mayor Richard Boudier, in attendance to campaign “against the downgrading of essential services”, and Guild of Students President Ben Meakin.

One of the greatest fears is the loss of a full Accident and Emergency department, which Hywel Dda health board, the body responsible for the administration of Bronglais, have not ruled out. Such a closure would leave Aberystwyth residents needing to travel to West Wales General Hospital in Carmarthen, 50 miles away, for full A&E services.

In a statement to the Senedd, First Minister Carwyn Jones said “I would like to make it perfectly clear, there are no plans to close Bronglais Hospital. There are no plans to downgrade Bronglais Hospital. District general hospitals, like Bronglais, will continue to be district general hospitals.”

Yet with Hywel Dda Health Board yet to confirm exactly what cuts will be made, speculation remains rife as to the potential effect on local services.