The final report into the future of Air Ambulance services in mid and north Wales has recommended that Powys' beloved base at Welshpool airport be closed.

The final report today (Wednesday, March 13) recommended that the Wales Air Ambulance base at Welshpool Airport close along with another in Caernarfon, with a new merged base at Rhuddlan replacing it.

The report, which will be voted on next week by heads of Wales' health boards on Tuesday (March 19), has sparked outrage among politicians and campaigners who had called for the base to be saved after its potential closure was first revealed by the County Times in August 2022.

Montgomeryshire MS Russell George labelling the verdict “appalling”, while Plaid Cymru councillor Elwyn Vaughan called for a legal challenge to the potential closure.

"While this report claims to have been an ‘extensive’ look at the situation, I don’t think they have listened to the needs of people in the area. It is widely accepted that parts of Montgomeryshire will be worse off without that base," Mr Vaughan said.

“They have yet to say exactly how they will alleviate the problems created by closing the base. There’s no commitment to delivering a service that will work across the area.

“Personally, I think a judicial review into this report is needed because it simply is not satisfactory.”

Mr George added: "Given we don’t have a District General Hospital in Powys, it is all the more important that we continue to have an air ambulance base in Mid Wales.

"I am calling on individual regions like Powys Teaching Health Board, who will have the final to reject the recommendation which clearly does not have the support of the of the public in Mid Wales.

READ MORE: Follow live as Welshpool air ambulance base recommended for closure

"In the latest round of engagement, 66% of responses came from Powys. That is an impassioned cry from Mid Wales about the importance of this service."

The report follows an extensive review, while campaigners in the area have fought hard to prevent the closure of the base since it was first reported in August 2022.

Montgomeryshire MP Craig Williams said: “Local campaigning has been very strong and I am extremely proud of the way that our communities have united to support this vital lifeline for our area.

"The people of Mid Wales have donated and fundraised for the air ambulance for many years precisely because they know how important it is."

County Times:

The report recommends consolidating of Welshpool and Caernarfon bases into a single site in North Wales - which has previously been cited as being at Rhuddlan near Rhyl - a joint plan to maintain services across Wales during the transition to a new base and the development of a proposal for a road based critical care service for remote areas.

The report states that the review process has “clarified the need for the service to develop and enhance the access, effectiveness and efficiency of the service across Wales”.

It argues that this is particularly relevant to night hours, reporting that approximately 530,000 of the North Wales population do not have access to an aircraft within 60 minutes after 8pm.

The report also acknowledges that the feedback process received multiple statements that no change in the service bases would be optimal.

However, in response the report states: “It is important to understand that the current high levels of unmet need, unequal and low levels of utilisation, lack of night time capacity and poor population coverage at night, mean that doing nothing is not an acceptable option.”

While the base will not close until 2026 as the contract on the base has been extended until 2026, the decision to close the Welshpool facility which first opened in 2006 looks likely as the recommendation goes before the Emergency Ambulance Services Committee.