Y Pwyllgor Deisebau | 13 Tachwedd 2018
 Petitions Committee | 13 November 2018
 ,P-05-846 Save our Hospital at Prince Philip Llanelli 




Research Briefing:

Petition number: P-05-846 

Petition title: Save our Hospital at Prince Philip Llanelli

Text of petition: We call upon the National Assembly for Wales to save our hospital at Prince Philip, Llanelli.       



There have been concerns about proposed changes to services at Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli in 2013 and more recently in 2018.  

In January 2013, Hywel Dda University Health Board published their final proposals for health service reconfiguration in West Wales. Following the formal consultation, the Hywel Dda Community Health Council (CHC) raised some concerns about the proposals with the Health Board. Although some issues were resolved, some matters of concern to the CHC remained - namely, A&E services at Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli, and neonatal services (specifically in relation to Glangwili and Withybush Hospitals). The then Minister for Health and Social Services, Mark Drakeford, established an independent Scrutiny Panel to examine all relevant documentation and consider the issues.  

In September 2013 the Panel submitted its report which strongly supported the case for replacement of A&E services at Prince Philip Hospital, and which proposed that an emergency nurse practitioner unit supported by general practitioners should form the future model of care at the Hospital. In a September 2013 statement, the Minister confirmed that he had accepted the Panel’s recommendation.

I have therefore determined that this form of service will be implemented. I am pleased to report that the health board and the CHC have already been working together on the detail of this type of service model for Prince Philip Hospital.

In 2011-12, the emergency department of that hospital saw 33,000 patients, of whom 6,500 were regarded as emergency cases. Four hundred and twenty two of these needed to be transferred to another hospital. The remaining 80% of patients were treated at Prince Philip, and the decision that I have made today means that this position will be maintained into the future.

Hywel Dda Health Board’s website provides further detail about the work to develop the emergency care service at Prince Philip Hospital following the Minister’s statement.

The procedures undertaken by Hywel Dda Health Board relating to these changes were subject to judicial review in summer 2014 but were upheld as fair and lawful by a High Court judge.

Service changes at Prince Philip Hospital have been the subject of a number of petitions submitted to the Assembly’s Petitions Committee; these were closed by the Committee in April 2017. Regarding petition P-04-394 Save our Services - Prince Philip Hospital the Petitions Committee noted that ‘The campaign group that submitted it has now disbanded. The petitioner states that the health board has improved its approach in relation to consultation and that current service provision at Prince Philip Hospital appears to be working satisfactorily.’

There were renewed concerns about possible changes to services at Prince Philip following the publication of Hywel Dda Health Board’s consultation Our big NHS change in April 2018. Proposal A in the consultation would have seen Prince Philip downgraded to a community hospital. The outcome of the consultation was announced 26 September 2018. Prince Philip will not be repurposed as a community hospital and will retain its status as a local general hospital. Headline decisions included:

§    more investment will be made in the integration of social care with health and well-being across the seven localities (north and south Ceredigion, north and south Pembrokeshire, Taf/Tywi, Amman/Gwendraeth and Llanelli);

§    a hospital model will be adopted and includes:

-     a business case to be made for a new hospital in the south of Hywel Dda (somewhere between Narberth and St Clears) to provide specialist urgent and emergency care services and planned care;

-     hospital services to be retained and developed at Bronglais Hospital, Aberystwyth, in-line with the Mid Wales Joint Health & Social Care Committee recognising importance of hospital in delivery of services to populations of Ceredigion, Powys and South Gwynedd;

-     acute medicine to be retained at Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli, following recent modernisation of services developed with the local community and serving a densely populated area;

-     re-purposing Glangwili (Carmarthen) and Withybush (Haverfordwest) hospitals to support community health needs including overnight beds, day case procedures, out-patient and walk-in services such as minor injuries and much more.

The Welsh Government’s response

In his response to the Petitions Committee (15 October 2018), the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services referred to Hywel Dda Health Board’s recent announcement. He stated:

The next step will be for clinicians and staff to work with the public and other organisations, to bring the additional detail together into a draft 20 year health strategy. It anticipates that this will be considered at the Board’s public meeting on 29 November.

At this stage, the proposals remain a matter for the health board to determine, using well-established procedures. It is possible that Welsh Ministers may be called upon to take final decisions on the plans, if agreement cannot be reached locally.