Referendum on hospital services to be held in Welshpool soon

Reporter:

Elgan Hearn

A REFERENDUM is set to be held in Welshpool on options for emergency health care being considered by Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust that will affect residents here.

In a wide ranging discussion at Welshpool Town Council, Mayor Cllr Steve Kaye said that he was willing to back calls for a new hospital to be built in Newtown so that: “We don't have to bother with England.”

Discussions on emergency health provision have been ongoing for several years.

It is believed that the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust will complete their consultation on the options for critical care some time between September and December.

But information on the exact dates which would affect the referendum have been hard to come by..

On Monday, July 31, the Future Fit programme board, which represents all local health organisations including councils and the Powys Teaching Health Board, met to discuss when they should put the proposals out to consultation for 12 weeks.

Any referendum in Welshpool would feed in to this consultation.

Town clerk, Robert Robinson, said that changing the name of Accident and Emergency medical provision had caused confusion.

He said: “A referendum would raise the profile more than a survey would. “The trust has been exceedingly helpful but Future Fit, don't respond to emails or phonecalls and we can't get a word out of them.

“It's important that we talk to them but they've been totally unresponsive.”

Cllr Phil Pritchard said that the town council needed to be clear on the question it puts to the public vote.

“If the vote was a straight choice between Shrewsbury which is the safest for us or Telford which is twice the distance we know what the outcome would be,” he said.

However some called for an improvement in local services within Wales, so that changes to the NHS over the border in England don’t affect residents.

Cllr Steve Kaye said: “People want more clarity, and to know what's going on.

“We need another major hospital so that we don't have to bother with England.

“Newtown will suffer and the whole of Montgomeryshire,

“What winds me up is that we have a beautiful hospital here, why not have a proper A&E here?”

Cllr Heather Sherlock backed his comments adding; “What is the Welsh Government doing for us?

“It’s about time the Welsh Government took an interest. We need a hospital in Mid Wales.

“People in Cardiff need to know there is somewhere between the M4 and A55, not just agricultural land and sheep and nothing else, we need facilities.”

Email:

elgan.hearn@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the County Times

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