The future of Welshpool air ambulance base is in peril after it has been recommended that the base be closed.

The top two recommendations after last year’s public engagement would both see the Welshpool and Caernarfon bases closed and the crews redeployed from Rhuddlan in north Wales – despite other options showing as good or better medical outcomes.

The engagement which was run by Chief Ambulance Service Commissioner, Stephen Harrhy, took place in two parts. It saw hundreds of residents in Powys come out to take part in public meetings and give written and verbal feedback on what they wanted the future of the base to look like.

The preferred option picked by Mr Harrhy’s team was ‘option 3D’ which would see the bases merged near the A55 at Rhuddlan and work two shifts – one from 8am to 8pm and the other from 2pm to 2am – even though analysis showed it would only be the third best overall for improved medical outcomes.

The second on their list is ‘option 4C’ which would be the same but with an added car shift based in Wrexham from 8pm to 8am.


During the engagement Mr Harrhy said that he did not want to put forward an option which would disadvantage another area, but the analysis by optima shows both plans would see people in Gwynedd, Ceredigion and west Powys having longer response times and fewer people being served over the course of a year.

An option that was put forward by Plaid Cymru, which received cross-party support from Montgomeryshire’s Conservative representatives Craig Williams MP and Russell George MS, would have seen the bases stay open and a vehicle added to serve northern Wales.

Analysis showed this was the only plan which did not disadvantage any area of Wales and was shown to be the preferred option of the public.

Councillor Elwyn Vaughan, group leader for Plaid Cymru at Powys County Council, said overlooking this option was a “disgraceful development”.

“This is a disgraceful development and makes a mockery of considering the health benefits of the residents of Mid Wales,” said Cllr Vaughan.

“The analysis clearly shows that our proposal which focussed on keeping Welshpool and Caernarfon bases open with split shifts and an extra RRV in Wrecsam has the best health benefits. Why ignore that essential fact therefore?

“Surely the main priority for an air ambulance service should be the health benefits of its residents.

"To just give two main options as the way forward both focussing on centralisation at Rhuddlan makes a mockery of the democratic process, makes a mockery of the pretence of listening and is merely a money saving exercise. Again Mid Wales residents are expendable on the altar of money.

“We need to know the cost analysis and they need to realise the huge amount of funding raised in Powys for the WAA which will be inevitably lost with this proposed move. If there’s a need for extra funding then let us know and united I’m sure we can lobby and press for that to happen.

"But without honesty and trust – something which has been severely damaged then we can’t do much. I’ll be asking all residents to unite with us during the February consultation in calling for this service to be based locally for the health benefits of all our residents.”

A final public engagement will be available going into next month. You can make you views known by contacting Llais or writing, emailing or ringing The Emergency Ambulance Services Committee.

The final decision will still be made by the EASC, and could take into account other options, but the recommendations now point to the Welshpool base closing after the current lease expires in 2026.