The launch of the second phase of engagement into Wales Air Ambulance’s future, which runs until November 5th, saw the release of a number of new supporting documents which I think clearly show the case for keeping open Welshpool’s existing base.
From the start of this process, myself and Russell George MS' biggest concern has always been that closing Welshpool and Caernarfon’s bases would lead to a poorer service for Mid Wales patients. This has now been proven by modelling data from Optima, which has clearly found that merging the bases into one North Wales site would lead to slower overall response duration times in Mid Wales. Furthermore, the data states that keeping both bases open would only lead to three fewer callouts a year across Wales, well within the margin of error. For such a limited and questionable benefit, is it really worth closing our much loved and essential Welshpool base?
The data shows that the benefits of closing both bases are extremely marginal. This goes against Wales Air Ambulance’s main justification for pursuing these controversial plans. They asserted that merging both bases into a new North Wales site would lead to far more responses and with quicker response times across the whole of Wales - now proven to be inaccurate.
It is clear that the preferred option for phase 2 of the consultation will be closing Welshpool and Caernarfon’s bases to open a new base in North Wales at Rhuddlan and adding an extra support road vehicle.
However, their stated second-best option is keeping both existing bases, changing shift patterns, and adding a road vehicle. The modelling even describes this as a “good option”.
Please take part in this consultation to make sure our voice is heard and that Mid Wales patients are not disadvantaged by the removal of this lifeline. The modelling makes clear that this is nothing more than a cost saving exercise which will hurt Mid Wales communities. Details of how to engage with the consultation can be found at https://easc.nhs.wales/engagement/sdp/