South Wales NHS shake-up decision delay for second time

Royal Glamorgan Hospital
Image caption The Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant could lose specialist services under the plans

Decisions on how hospital services are delivered in south Wales have been delayed again.

Hospitals in Cardiff, Swansea, Newport, the south-east Wales valleys and parts of Powys are affected by the proposals across five health boards.

The boards were due to decide on Thursday whether to back the plans, called the South Wales Programme.

A similar decision in August was delayed after NHS bosses received 53,000 public responses.

The shake-up could see a number of specialist accident and emergency units cut and fewer hospitals offering specialist services.

It would see services such as care for new-born babies centralised at fewer large hospitals.

Health officials and ministers say change is needed to ensure the Welsh NHS meets UK standards.

But the plans have provoked concern, including protests about how they could affect the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant.

Announcing the postponement on Wednesday, NHS managers said final details still need to be worked-through.

'Difficult to forgive'

Conservative Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar AM said: "This is an extremely disappointing postponement that only serves to prolong the uncertainty for communities and NHS staff right across south Wales.

"Not only is that unhelpful for all, it will also undermine recruitment in the health service in this region.

"While I appreciate details must be finalised, this board has been working towards this for many months and a late postponement is very difficult to forgive."

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said she made it clear "it was wrong to schedule this announcement after the last assembly session of the year".

In September, doctors' group BMA Cymru Wales criticised the planned shake-up for lacking detail.

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