Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor’s world class vascular care crucial to north Wales

01/12/2016

Plaid Cymru Councillor for Pentir, Bangor, John Wyn Williams says Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board plans to move a world class vascular care service from Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor makes no sense whatsoever.

Ysbyty Gwynedd’s vascular team is leading the way worldwide in terms of diabetic patients limb salvage and has the best service throughout Wales in providing circulation access to renal dialysis patients.

The vascular team look after people with conditions affecting the circulation of the blood, patients suffering with diseases that affect the arteries, veins and lymphatic vessels.

“This move by the Health Board makes no sense whatsoever,” explains Councillor Williams who represents Pentir, the Council Ward in which Ysbyty Gwynedd is located. “Why change a world class leading service, bringing in an urban vascular ‘hub’ concept to a rural area like north Wales? These ideas might work in highly populated cities, but in a large rural geographical area like north Wales, we face different challenges.

“The integrated vascular service at Ysbyty Gwynedd consists of a small dedicated team of staff with specialists who are getting things right. The service is having a huge beneficial impact on patient care. Consultants are telling me that the close integration between the nursing and medical staff is what is making this a success story at Bangor. Why on earth would you want to risk changing that?

“A large majority of north Wales patients can reach Bangor within an hour, moving that service from Bangor to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd has major impact on patients living in areas like Pwllheli, Aberdaron, Porthmadog and Holyhead.

“We all know that when our loved ones are unwell, we want to take them to whichever location where the best people are on hand to assist, advice and care for them. Having a world class team of staff at Bangor’s vascular unit is the right option for the vast majority of patients living in north Wales.

“It is infuriating to think that the Health Board management are considering changing this quality vascular service at a time when so many other departments and services are failing within the health service. I question the validity of such a decision and challenge them to look at those departments that really are struggling and failing to offer quality services to patients.

“We already know how difficult it is to attract and recruit consultants and medical professionals specialising in different fields to north Wales, a problem faced on a regular basis at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in particular. Changing a quality vascular service unit’s location from Bangor to Bodelwyddan adds a real element of risk to that service.”

Over 3000 people have already signed an online petition opposing the move and Pentir Community Council has sent a letter citing their concerns to the Chief Executive of the Health Board.

Plaid Cymru’s Arfon Assembly Member, Siân Gwenllian together with Plaid Cymru’s health spokesman, Rhun ap Iorwerth, Anglesey AM and Plaid Cymru Leader, Leanne Wood are also campaigning on this issue and are supporting the local Councillor’s calls for the plans to be axed.

Siân Gwenllian AM said: “I have called on Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board to hold a new, full and transparent consultation about the future of vascular services in north Wales. I am yet to be convinced about the argument for moving away from the present model of vascular services delivery especially as the service at Ysbyty Gwynedd is of international acclaim.

“A lot of water has gone under the bridge since the 2013 consultation which was general in nature, not specifically around vascular services. Since then, the Health Board was put into special measures in 2015. The Board will not regain the public’s trust until it is willing to have full and open discussions about changes to services and is willing to explain in full the need and benefits of such changes.”