Elin Jones presses for ambulance service improvements

Ceredigion's AM Elin Jones is pressing for improvements to the local ambulance service. Ceredigion currently has one of the worst ambulance response times in Wales, with the tendency for crews to be drawn out of the area to deal with emergencies in other areas after transferring patients to larger hospitals partly to blame.

Ambulance outside Bronglais A&E

In a recent Assembly session, the local AM questioned ambulance chiefs and union representatives on the results of a trial in the southern valleys, where ambulances based there are ‘ring-fenced’, with crews returning to base after transferring patients to larger hospitals outside the area.

In Ceredigion, and in the valleys prior to the trial, there has been criticism that crews are tied up dealing with emergencies in the major urban centres after transferring patients to specialist hospitals such as Morriston, leaving their home areas short of cover. The current system in Ceredigion also means that crews face tiring shifts with few breaks, and long journeys home at the end.

Elin Jones asked the Chief Ambulance Services Commissioner for Wales, Stephen Harrhy, to consider introducing the new model to Ceredigion to ensure sufficient ambulance cover for local residents.

Elin Jones, Plaid Cymru AM for Ceredigion, said;

“This was a very useful evidence-gathering session, in which AMs were able to question ambulance service leaders on some of the problems in the current system, as well as getting the perspective of unions who represent paramedics and other staff.

“It was admitted that the service in Ceredigion and elsewhere is sometimes stretched due to staff shortages, which means a greater burden on the paramedics on duty.

“It’s also vital that the ambulance service evaluates the results of the trial underway in the Cwm Taf health board of returning crews and vehicles to base after transferring patients to larger hospitals. The results seem encouraging so far, both in terms of response times in the southern valleys, and relieving some of the workload pressures on crews.

“I believe this model could well benefit Ceredigion. Too often at the moment, crews from Lampeter, New Quay, Aberystwyth and Cardigan are spending most of their shifts outside their areas. This is draining on the staff, and crucially leaves our area short of ambulance cover when we need it most.”

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