Shropshire Star

Campaigners must 'keep the pressure up' in bid to save air ambulance base

Campaigners and politicians must keep the pressure up in the efforts to retain Mid Wales' air ambulance base, an MP has said.

Last updated
Craig Williams MP and Russell George, Member of the Senedd, have been campaigning over the Mid Wales air ambulance base.

Craig Williams, Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire, was speaking after Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB) decided it was unable to back proposals that would see the closure of the Welshpool air ambulance base.

The NHS Wales Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service has recommended the closure of the Powys base, as well as the Caernarfon site, with a new base being created in North Wales to replace them.

A recommendation was added to provide Mid Wales with a special emergency road service providing critical care – but members of the the board on PTHB decided at an extraordinary meeting yesterday that they needed more information about the critical car plan before they were prepared to support the overall proposals.

A final decision is expected at the next meeting of the NHS Wales Joint Commissioning Committee on April 23, but it has emerged that the Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board was also not prepared to support the plans.

Now Mr Williams said it is vital campaigners keep the pressure up ahead of the final decision.

Writing on social media he said: "Bravo Bwrdd Iechyd Addysgu Powys / Powys Teaching Health Board who met today to discuss and consider updated recommendations from the NHS Wales Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS) Review re the Air Ambulance changes.

"The Board agreed that further detail was needed in relation to Recommendation 4 and that they were not currently in a position to support the recommendations. Which means they are currently against the removal of the helicopter from Welshpool.

"This alongside Betsi Cadwaladr means two health boards are against the closures at the next meeting in public of the NHS Wales Joint Commissioning Committee on 23 April 2024.

"Alongside Russell George MS , Elwyn Vaughan and the SAVE Wales Air Ambulance –Welshpool Base campaigners we must keep the pressure up."

Powys County Council's Plaid Cymru group leader, Councillor Elwyn Vaughan, said they would continue to press for the plans to be dropped.

He said: "I'm pleased to see that Bwrdd Iechyd Addysgu Powys / Powys Teaching Health Board want further clarification especially with Recommendation 4.

"Likewise Betsi Cadwallader have voiced similar concerns. They have thanked Llais for its support and advice.

"They have decided that they are not convinced that the proposals put forward by EMRTS represent that best that can be achieved and they want to await the work of the task group and they also want to see further work on engagement and reassuring rural communities.

"They do not think the road based services would be sufficient for the challenges that rurality and isolation will present in North Wales.

"We must continue to work together to ensure our voices are heard and that common sense prevails."