Neuro Unit Is Key For Health Minister Hart

New Assembly Health Minister Edwina Hart has been warned she will face a no confidence vote if neurosurgery is lost from Swansea.Dai Lloyd, Plaid AM for South Wales West, has laid down the challenge to Mrs Hart to keep the service at Morriston Hospital or face a crisis of confidence in the minority Labour-led administration.

Dr Lloyd said he hoped the Gower AM would continue in her opposition to the Assembly body Health Commission Wales’s proposal to centralise the neurosurgery unit in Cardiff.

He said: “In the past Edwina Hart has come out as the local AM in support of retaining services at Fairwood Hospital and Hill House Hospital and retaining neurosurgery at Morriston Hospital – with her ministerial hat on we look at her to continue with that support.

“It’s her first major challenge.

“The future of neurosurgery is very much a live issue and we are looking to the minister to come up trumps.

“If Plaid has the hint that the new Labour minority administration is sticking to the guns of the last Labour minority administration to move neurosurgery to Cardiff – it will trigger a ‘no confidence’ vote – for us in Plaid it’s the bottom line.”

Dr Lloyd said as part of Plaid’s programme for Government in the All Wales Accord, aimed at removing Labour from office, a pledge was put in place to safeguard neurosurgery at Morriston Hospital.

The controversial move to switch neurosurgery from Morriston saw hundreds of angry campaigners take to the city streets last month.

It has also prompted 105,537 people to put their name to the Evening Post’s campaign, to safeguard the unit. A host of famous faces, including Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond, have also lent their support to the fight.

But bosses at HCW maintain the population of South West Wales is not enough to sustain two neurosurgery sites.

Members of HCW are still thinking through the issue, after former Assembly Health Minister Brian Gibbons, called for a last-minute rethink over the plan.

He called for the scheme to be looked at in the wake of the plans to build a super-hospital in Swansea, the future of specialist paediatric services and an ongoing report into the way the Wales Ambulance Service is run. A decision will be now taken by HCW in July.

Retired neurosurgery nurse Mair Chadd, aged 73, of Clydach, said she hoped Mrs Hart would continue back the neurosurgery unit at Morriston Hospital.

She said: “I think Edwina Hart should stick to what she says.

“When you think of the locality here, you have got sea, cliffs and mountains, and people involved in adventurous activities. There is more reason to have neurosurgery in Morriston Hospital.”