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Backing for Welshpool's under-threat dialysis nurses

Created on 22/05/2018 @ 10:58

Independent Welshpool County Councillor Graham Breeze and Plaid Cymru have joined forces to strongly oppose plans to privatise nursing jobs at the town’s dialysis unit.

Nurses based in Welshpool, along with those at Wrexham, Bangor, and Porthmadog, face being transferred from the NHS to a private company under a tendering process by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, which runs health care in North Wales.
Now the nursing staff at Welshpool have challenged First Minister Carwyn Jones to comment about plans to privatise their jobs, backed by their local councillor and Plaid.

The Betsi Cadwaladr health board is under the direct control of the Labour-run Welsh Government and has been in special measures for the past three years due to a series of failings.

“This is totally unacceptable,” said Councillor Breeze. “Along with the staff and patients at Welshpool’s highly impressive renal satellite unit I am totally opposed to this proposal and disappointed that everyone is being kept in the dark. I have written to the First Minister and the health board saying so.”

Fears were raised earlier this year that the unit could be privatised as the health board is consulting on how best to provide the life-saving service. A decision was expected to be made by now, but Betsi Cadwaladr says that this has not been made yet.

“When Carwyn Jones was quizzed on the subject in the Welsh Assembly he said he was totally opposed to privatisation of any kind of the Welsh NHS so it is time he explained just what is going on,” said Councillor Breeze.

“The renal unit at Welshpool Victoria Memorial Hospital was built with massive support from the community and provides a remarkable service for patients. We need assurances about its future.”

Plaid Cymru has vowed to support the Welshpool nursing staff. “Plaid Cymru will continue to stand alongside the nurses and their unions to ensure that this back-door privatisation does not take place,” said Assembly Member Llyr Gruffydd.

 "The hypocrisy of Labour attacking the Tories for privatising the NHS in England while doing precisely the same in Wales is breath-taking.”

Montgomeryshire’s Conservative MP Glyn Davies, who is the North Powys Kidney Patients Association co-treasurer is known to have written to Gary Docherty, Betsi Cadwaladr chief executive, seeking clarification on the situation.

The letter to the First Minister signed by “All staff of the Welshpool Renal Dialysis Unit” says:

“We feel this process has not been handled in accordance with policy, which has left staff feeling let down and disappointed by the management. While we appreciate the financial situation of the Health Board, the staff in Welshpool feel they are being sacrificed in an effort to cut the Health Board's deficit.  

“All staff and Unison are completely opposed to the privatisation of the Welshpool Renal Satellite Unit and we would be the first staff within renal services to be outsourced in Wales.  

“As you have previously stated in the Welsh Assembly you are opposed to privatisation of any kind of the Welsh NHS, we would appreciate any help and advice you can provide to us at this extremely distressing and worrying time.”

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