Plaid Cymru is calling on health board bosses to carry out an urgent review of services provided at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr.
Delyth Jewell, Plaid Cymru Senedd Member for south-east Wales, says she believes the health services in Gwent are being over-centralised.
Her appeal for action comes following a Freedom of Information request which revealed limited services currently being provided at the Ystrad Mynach hospital, built to replace Caerphilly Miners’ Hospital.
Delyth Jewell, Plaid Cymru Senedd Member for south-east Wales, said: “When the Miners’ Hospital closed, residents in the area were assured that there’d be no disruption to their care, but an over-centralisation of services has led to just that happening.
“I’ve been helping constituents who are having to travel huge distances to get to medical appointments – one woman who contacted me recently had to make a round trip of 56 miles to Nevill Hall Hospital, Abergavenny, to get to a gynaecology appointment. Unfortunately, her story is far from unusual.
“It’s so frustrating that we have Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr on our doorstep in Ystrad Mynach, and yet so few services or clinics are actually held there. And the fact that the Grange Hospital recently had to declare a black alert, asking residents to only attend the hospital if they had a serious injury or their life was in danger shows that this centralisation of A&E services isn’t working either.
“We need to look again at how hospital services are configured in Caerphilly and across the south east – and it’s something I’ve raised time and again with the Welsh Government. When people go to medical appointments, they’re already going to be dealing with some stress – we shouldn’t be adding more strain on them by expecting them to travel these vast distances to access the help they need. The configuration of services needs to be reviewed.”
Gary Enright, Plaid Cymru candidate for Llanbradach in May’s council elections, said: “The NHS is the most loved and appreciated public service but that does not mean they can’t do a lot better. Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr was built with lots of hopes of major improvements in health provision but it is clear that we don’t have enough of the local services people want.
“On a personal level, my wife was refused an x-ray for her ribs just the other month because there was no one on site to operate the machine. That cannot be acceptable and people are starting to ask what is the point of having a local hospital that you can't utilise with services that appear to be non-existent.
“A massive issue is that no logistical infrastructure to get you to other hospitals. No bus service. If you don’t or can't drive then it's either a taxi or a reliance on friends and family to take time off to take you.”
“On its website, the health board says Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr provides first class care to residents – I’m sure a lot of people in this area would disagree with that statement. The health board needs to come up with a comprehensive plan to improve local services to our communities,” added Gary Enright.