ANGRY hospital campaigners in Llanelli are plotting to work with clinicians to come up with an alternative plan for the future of the town's health services.
The Committee for the Improvement of Hospital Services met for the first time following the health board's decisive meeting in Carmarthen, and they were less than impressed with the outcome.
And in the hope of keeping the fight to save A&E at PPH going, members discussed throwing their weight behind alternative plans put together by clinicians, as well as urging the CHC to refer the proposals to Health Minister Lesley Griffiths. Chairman Bryan Hitchman said the group was "clearly and abundantly" unhappy with plans to replace the town's A&E unit with a doctor-supported, nurse-led service.
He added that "no regard whatsoever" seemed to have been paid to the 33,000 name petitions — combining the 24,000 signature CIHS petition and a 9,000 Plaid-led one — collected against the move.
He said: "At the moment they have totally and utterly ignored us with both the signatures and vote of no confidence which beggars belief.
"I don't understand how they can brush this under the carpet — I think we have been essentially disenfranchised."
Group member Haydn Jones said when members met health board chairman Chris Martin in Carmarthen they asked why, if the model was so clever, it was just being proposed for Llanelli?
He said: "The way they are going about it does not make a scrap of sense. They're taking the biggest hospital and downgrading it. It is ludicrous."
Councillor Sian Caiach said that every time a merger was put on paper, the town was told it would be a brilliant service but it ended up being a worse one.
She said: "The economy has taken a tumble and the practicality is they have to make some cuts, but these facilities are being taken away and we won't be able to reinstate them when times are better."
Llanelli MP Nia Griffith said the group needed to stress that the board should listen to the views of the clinicians.
She said: "I really do think it will be good if we can hear from them and for them to explain what they are planning. The more people who know about the alternatives the easier it will be for them to take it on board."
Mr Hitchman asked members for their approval to meet town clinicians and received unanimous backing.
He added: "We can work with clinicians to get strong proposals made and then take it to the health board and Lesley Griffiths and dare them to go against it."