In August last year, we received news of proposals by the NHS Wales Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS Cymru) to restructure its services, which disappointedly included plans to close Welshpool’s Air Ambulance base for a new base to be located in north Wales, writes Craig Williams MP.

Since my last Politically Speaking column, we have received the news that Welshpool’s Air Ambulance base will now remain open until at least 2026.

Although this is good news in the interim, it’s future remains far from certain.

Whilst closing the Welshpool base was an option in the original proposals, to date we have seen no information or evidence that would support this move.

It is absolutely vital that Montgomeryshire and mid Wales retains its Air Ambulance given our rural landscape and road network, as well as the distances to major hospitals. I continue to work very closely with Russell George MS and local campaigners to secure its future.


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    EASC has now opened an engagement process into the plans, which will have a direct impact upon retaining our local base in the long-term. We have been informed that there are currently no formal decisions, and that further options will be presented following this initial round of engagement meetings. 

    This process therefore represents our best chance to influence the decision makers’ plans before they are finalised. I would urge everyone to attend a meeting or engage with EASC’s surveys, so that they are left in no doubt of the extremely strong support for retaining our Air Ambulance base.

    Public meetings were held in Newtown earlier this month, which were very well attended. The next two meetings will be held at Welshpool Town Hall on April 26th, at 5:30-6:30pm and 7-8pm.

    On a similar note for retaining our local services, leisure centres within England were given a huge boost in the Chancellor’s Budget last month with the announcement of a £60m UK Government Swimming Pool Support Fund, helping centres with energy-cost pressures.

    In Wales, leisure facilities are devolved. It is abundantly clear that Welsh leisure centres would benefit massively from similar support from the Welsh Government, especially after the shock Powys County Council proposals last year to temporarily close several centres across Montgomeryshire. 

    Having access to leisure facilities is a crucial part of any community for maintaining and improving our physical and mental well-being.

    As part of the Budget, Wales has been given a £180m funding uplift. Both Russell George and I have therefore called upon the Welsh Government to use this uplift and match the investment we have seen in England, to protect our future access to leisure facilities.

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