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Officials move to reassure public over west Wales ambulance shortage

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  • St John’s Ambulance to assist with workload

  • Ambulance officials say they can cope

  • Welsh Government moves to assure the public

 

EMERGENCY services in west Wales have been told to be mindful when requesting ambulances this weekend due to “a potential of significant shortfall” in ambulance response and availability.

ITV Wales reported on Friday (Jan 22) that they have seen a document that says Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Neath and Port Talbot could all be affected until Sunday.

It has been reported that the police and fire service were informed of the potential problems at a meeting earlier this week.

Any short fall will put more pressure on other emergency services, including Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue who now have co-responder teams in place to deal with medical emergencies when there is insufficient ambulance cover.

The Welsh health minister has been urged to intervene. Plaid Cymru AM, Elin Jones said on Friday that she has written to Mark Drakeford, wanting immediate action to ensure that there is sufficient cover to keep the public safe.

The Welsh Ambulance Trust have issued a statement to media response to the concerns raised.

The statement said: “Resourcing is a dynamic process and we would like to reassure the public that ambulance cover across West Wales is at safe levels this weekend, with sufficient ambulance and rapid response vehicle cover in place.”

The Welsh Government has said there is ‘sufficient’ ambulance cover. A spokesman said : “A further review of weekend cover has been undertaken and officials have received assurance directly from the Ambulance Trust that there is sufficient emergency ambulance service coverage.”

Rob Jeffery, Head of Operations for The Welsh Ambulance Service’s Hywel Dda region said: “We’d like to reassure the public that we make every effort to ensure we use all our available resources effectively to respond to the varying levels of demand across the Hywel Dda and ABMU areas, and indeed across the whole of Wales, and deliver safe and high quality care to the population.

“We are optimising the resources we have available over the coming weekend in the Hywel Dda University Health Board area, this is being supported by increasing our Rapid Response Vehicles and Unscheduled Care Service vehicles which are being made available as well as some St John Ambulance vehicles in support of our operations.

“In the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board area there is a minimal shortfall of Emergency Ambulances this weekend which is also being bolstered by an increase in our Rapid Response Vehicles.”

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