The Welsh Conservatives have called for more investment in the NHS and more money to help avoiding a ‘winter catastrophe’ in Pembrokeshire due to the Raac crisis.

The calls come after it was confirmed that Withybush Hospital has closed more than 60 per cent of its beds as well as six wards after the discovery of Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac).

Since the discovery of Raac 122 of Withybush’s 199 beds have closed. Hywel Dda Health Board says 83 of these have been moved to South Pembrokeshire Hospital.

A total of 5,000 Raac planks have so far been found in Withybush, Many in a critical or high risk condition.

The health board says that remedial work on the wards will continue into spring/summer 2024 while work to make the ground floor safe will run on into the 2024/2025 financial year.

Commenting on the news that parts of the hospital will remain closed for most of 2024, Welsh Conservative senedd member for Preseli Pembrokeshire, Paul Davies MS said:

“The fact that Withybush has had to close half of its wards and lose half of its beds due to Raac is regrettable enough as it is. Now that parts will have to remain closed through 2024, it is clear that the situation is not sustainable for the surrounding communities that rely on the hospital.

“This is particularly concerning given the anticipated winter pressures. The Labour Government need to step in to help speed up remedial work so that services continue at Withybush Hospital and we avoid a winter catastrophe.”

Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister, Russell George MS added: “With the Labour Government in control of all aspects of health here in Wales, it is vital that they take responsibility in this case and support Withybush Hospital through this difficult time.

“Labour need to park their obsession with spending £120 million on more politicians and £33 million on blanket 20mph limits – they need to invest in our Welsh NHS instead of cutting it again this year, for a third time.”

The health board says that it has received nearly £13M from the Welsh Government to make the hospital safe but that this will only fund a short term solution and more investment will be needed in the long term.