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13  July

Confirmed: Welshpool Air Ambulance base to close

23/04/2024 @ 11:34


The seven Welsh health boards have voted by majority in favour of closing Welshpool’s Air Ambulance base for a new one in north east Wales.

While Powys Teaching Health Board was quick to point out it did not vote for the proposals, the majority did which means both Welshpool and Caernarfon bases will be axed. It is believed Betsi Cadwallader University Health Board also voted against.

The location of the new base is still unclear, as is the situation over replacement Rapid Response Vehicles to compensate for the loss of aerial support, but already campaigners are believed to be considering a judicial review.

This is a costly option, but it would mean the whole process is legally reviewed with campaigners still confident of a different outcome.

But for now, the disappointment will sink in as the team led by Stephen Harrhy, the Chief Ambulance Service Commissioner, somehow convinced the south Wales health boards that his recommendations were best for rural Mid Wales.

One of the lead campaigners, Welshpool County Councillor, Graham Breeze, said he was “far from happy” by the way today’s meeting was led, adding it was “obvious that the voices of those speaking in opposition carried very little weight”.

“This is a very sad day for the people of the Welshpool area and indeed the whole of central Wales,” he said.

“Watching the meeting of the Health Boards it was clear that not all of the representatives were completely happy that the recommendations to approve the closures of Welshpool and Caernarfon bases gave assurance that Mid Wales and North West Wales would not be left with a poorer service.

“Additional Rapid Response Vehicles in the North was recommended but it was clear that the process had not yet been properly thought through or costed so it was good to see this questioned.

“Two of the Health Boards, including Powys, did not offer support but the proposals went through anyway.

“This decision will lead to real public confidence issues.”

The charity will start operating from its new base somtime after 2026.