A CRUCIAL petition concerning Withybush Hospital has been put forward for debate at the Senedd.

In the latest Petitions Committee meeting held today, Monday, May 23, members agreed to put forward the petition ‘Withybush General Hospital must retain 24 hour, 7 days a week, Consultant Led urgent care’, for debate in the Senedd.

During the meeting members noted the sheer number of people who signed the petition – it officially tallied 11,168 when the petition was closed.

During the meeting one member could not understand why something as important as this needed to be discussed for debate.

He said: “It is worrying to see that people find it necessary to do this.

“Common sense would see this as a vital asset for the community and seeing it closed is particularly worrying.”

After the landmark decision, the Save Withybush campaign released a statement saying: “On behalf of the people of Pembrokeshire, and to protect the people of Pembrokeshire, Save Withybush Campaign now urges all members of the Senedd to speak out at the upcoming Senedd debate.

“Those in the Senedd concerned for climate change might note the huge increase in journey mileage created by our services being out of county, which would only get worse if A&E is also removed.

“Those concerned with our healthcare, as we assume they all are, need to speak out about healthcare for all, including those without personal transport, plus those whose income and circumstances preclude travelling long distances, particularly in the light of fuel price increases, and also affording accommodation to stay close to loved ones in hospital. Petitions committee itself, referred to debate widening to discuss accessible healthcare for all.

“Pembrokeshire expressed many major concerns during the consultation by Hywel Dda in July 2018, but those concerns appear to have been dismissed. Now is the time to speak up and fight for the people of Pembrokeshire.”

Concerns continue to grow after the Hywel Dda Health Board published plans in November 2018 which set out a new Urgent and Planned Care Hospital, somewhere between Narberth and St Clears, providing both planned and urgent care, with the new hospital functioning as the health board’s trauma unit and main emergency department.