NHS must consult across the border
The Welsh voice must be heard when changes are proposed in England that affect the availability of health services for Mid Wales residents.
Montgomeryshire AM, Russell George, said that between October and January NHS England consulted on the modernisation of radiotherapy services but did not consult enough with NHS commissioners in Wales or the public in Mid Wales who access radiotherapy services from across the border.
"It is clear that NHS England must do more to engage with Welsh communities and ensure that our needs and concerns are taken into account when considering changes to health services.
“The recent consultation by NHS England on changes to radiotherapy services is just one example where changes are proposed and there is insufficient consultation or engagement with the Mid Wales residents who access these services and should therefore have an equal say on any changes which affect them.
"These proposals could lead to some services being moved from Shrewsbury to other centres further to the east. This would lead to increased travel during such a debilitating treatment at an anxious time.
"It would also be devastating for people from Mid Wales who have done so much to raise money to bring these vital services to Shrewsbury firstly through the Cobalt Unit Trust Fund and then through the Lingen Davies charity.
"Details of these proposals were only shared with me and the health board shortly before consultation ended in January, and I am grateful to Powys Teaching Health Board for quickly arranging a response to the consultation to represent the interests and concerns of people in Montgomeryshire.
"However, I remain very disappointed that NHS England did not do more to raise awareness of their proposals and the impact this might have for people in Wales, so that Powys residents were given ample opportunity to respond themselves.
"We still await the go ahead for the consultation on NHS Future Fit, but this will be another key area where it is vital that the voice of Powys is heard.”