Monday, November 06, 2006

Labour Assembly Government Fears Embarrassment Over Hospital Closures

May I congratulate the hundreds of demonstrators who turned out in Llanidloes last week to protest against the down-grading and possible closure of the local hospital.

At the time of the rally we all thought, quite reasonably, that Powys Local Health Board would keep to its published timetable of considering the issue at their meeting of 29 November with a view to completing the consultation process between January and April 2007, i.e. before the Assembly elections of 3 May.

Now however it appears that, in order not to embarrass the Labour Assembly Government by going into that election with a string of hospital closures around its neck, the Chief Executive of NHS Wales has conspired to head off any threat by calling an "informal" meeting of the Powys Local Health Board on 15 November at which the timetable for consultation will be delayed until June or July 2007 i.e. after the Assembly elections of 3 May.

Plaid Cymru resents this kick in the teeth for the hard-working campaigners in Llanidloes and calls for the agenda of the informal meeting of 15 November to be published now and for the minutes to made public well before the date of the formal meeting of 29 November. Democracy must not be frustrated by back-room political fixers.

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