‘Scaremongering’ Row At Hospital

Labour says a Plaid Cymru claim that a hospital in a key Welsh assembly seat faces downgrading is scaremongering. But Plaid Cymru said it had responded to “genuine concerns” over Llandudno Hospital and plans to move coronary services were “unacceptable”.

Lib Dems said cuts were proposed without detailed replacement plans, and Conservatives said “effective dialogue” between clinicians could save services. A campaign is running over the hospital, in the new seat of Aberconwy.

Labour, which has become the latest party to launch its campaign for the election on 3 May, has pledged to “guarantee the future” of the hospital. Labour health spokesperson Brian Gibbons, who has been assembly government health minister for the past two years, said the local health board had been asked to decide the “type of services that are appropriate to Llandudno” and that this did not amount to a downgrading.

He was asked by BBC Radio Wales if he could guarantee coronary services would continue. He said: “I think there is a general acceptance that the coronary services in Llandudno are not meeting current standards. If people are asking that the acute coronary services remain, then they will have to answer why do they want to maintain services that don’t meet current safe standards,” he said.

Plaid Cymru health spokesperson Helen Mary Jones said Labour was “running scared” and that withdrawing the services would amount to a downgrading. “A Plaid government would stop this re-configuration process and start a real dialogue with people about what services we need where,” she said. Ms Jones added: “This bungled process has made it more difficult to engage people with a positive dialogue about what the real future of health services out to be”.

Jenny Randerson, for the Liberal Democrats, argued that Labour had created a “mess” by “botched management”. She said: “The problem is that there were no plans in place for what you would get instead of the services in Llandudno Hospital. That is the key problem with Labour’s way of doing it,” she added.

Conservative Alun Cairns suggested that many of the problems the NHS was facing were because too many decisions were being taken by a “politician sitting behind a desk in Cardiff Bay”. Mr Cairns said: “We want a clinician-led service rather than a politician-led service, that is the difference between what we want and what the Labour Party are proposing”.

He added: “We think it is far better for the clinicians themselves to establish the priorities within the health service because they are the ones who know best about patient care.”