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MP Hain voices waiting times concerns.

CONCERNS have been raised over hospital waiting times at a Welsh health board.

Neath MP Peter Hain said Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University (ABMU) Health Board waiting times were "disturbing".

In July, Mr Hain questioned whether Morriston, Singleton and Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend were in a position to take the extra workload created by Neath Port Talbot Hospital losing its acute medicine status.

In a subsequent letter to the board Mr Hain said: "I'm extremely worried by reports regarding the impact Neath Port Talbot Hospital losing its acute medical status is having on Morriston Accident and Emergency. From what constituents have told me of their experiences, Morriston is struggling with the increased workload which is putting a tremendous strain on the staff and it is also impacting on other services like the ambulance service."

An ABMU Health Board spokeswoman said: "The urgent change to the Acute Medicine service at Neath Port Talbot Hospital was driven by a shortage of doctors, meaning it would have been unsafe for the service to continue.

"This was the view of senior doctors. It would have been irresponsible to have ignored it.

"There are many factors influencing waiting times in our departments. For example, an increasing number of people arriving with chronic illnesses who need a lot of medical attention. Increased cases of sickness and diarrhoea reducing the number of beds available.

"And patients arriving not seriously ill or injured and could use more appropriate services such as the Minor Injury Units. Also, expansion work at A&E in Morriston Hospital has unavoidably caused some disruption but when finished will provide more space for patients.

With the Welsh Ambulance Service, we have recently introduced a mobile team of Advanced Paramedic Practitioners. "These are trained with advanced skills to provide specialist treatment at a scene or at a patient's home and help reduce the number of people going into hospital.

Also, in its first three months, the GP Acute Unit at Singleton Hospital, which takes referrals from Swansea and Neath Port Talbot GPs, has reduced unnecessary admissions to the hospital's assessment unit by 34%."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 8, 2012
Words:348
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