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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 January 2020

Fight the closure of Royal Glamorgan A&E

Save our NHS, photo Mary Finch

Save our NHS, photo Mary Finch   (Click to enlarge)

Health board bosses have announced the closure of the A&E at Royal Glamorgan hospital in Wales. It serves the people of Rhondda Cynon Taff (RCT).

Emergency cases in all these valleys face a long journey to Merthyr or Cardiff, by an already overstretched ambulance service. People in the Rhondda will have especially long journeys.

Waiting times at Welsh A&Es are at an all-time high. For the first time this is not just a winter crisis. All the under-resourced A&E departments are struggling to cope, all year round.

The Cwm Taf health bosses claim that the closure of Royal Glamorgan A&E has nothing to do with the cuts. They claim the closure is caused by the impending retirement of the sole A&E consultant at the hospital.

Long-planned cut

The truth is this cut has been long-planned by the health bosses.

It was first threatened in 2013 in the South Wales Programme of cuts presented by then Welsh health minister Mark Drakeford, now first minister of Wales. That report was authored by Marcus Longley, current chair of the Cwm Taf health board.

The programme planned to reduce the number of A&Es in south Wales to just five. (See 'No cuts at Royal Glamorgan Hospital - United campaign against the South Wales Programme needed' atsocialistparty.org.uk).

There was a very strong reaction against the programme, and a series of marches in RCT. While other cuts were carried through, the closure of the A&E was put on the back-burner.

The health board had seven years to find new consultants for the A&E but did nothing. Instead it has run down the service until announcing its closure now.

Welsh Labour has been in charge of the NHS in Wales for over 20 years. They have had ample time to train new doctors and other health professionals.

It is hardly the case that there is a shortage of young people who wish to be trained as doctors. The cuts to the Welsh health budget - instigated by the Tories and implemented by Welsh Labour - are the biggest reason for the shortage.

But working people in RCT will not take these cuts lying down. The fight goes on.

Dave Reid, Socialist Party Wales

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In The Socialist 29 January 2020:


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