MP meets Health Board to discuss Amman Valley GP Surgery Concerns

Super Practice Speculation Confirmed

Plaid Cymru Member of Parliament, Jonathan Edwards, this week met with senior officials of Abertwae Bro Morgannwg University Health Board to discuss concerns about primary healthcare provision in the upper Amman and Swansea Valleys.

Mr Edwards thanked the Health Board for their open approach to the meeting and for answering many queries. Mr Edwards said he continued to be concerned about patient to GP ratios and how primary health care services will be delivered in the area.

Mr Edwards said that the Health Board confirmed that if neighbouring Hywel Dda Health Board decided to award a contract to the same providers to serve the old Amman Valley Practice area, as recently commissioned by Abertawe Bro Morgannwg to serve an area stretching from Cwmllynfell to Pontardawe – the practice to all intent and purposes would be a super practice (which is commissioned by two Health Boards).

The urgent reconfiguration of GP services in the upper Amman and Swansea Valleys has come following the decision of partners in the old Meddygfa’r Cwm practice serving Ystalyfera, Cwmtwrch, Ystradowen, Cwmllynfell & Cefnbrynbrain to cease practicing. Amman Valley Practice serving Garnant, Gwanun Cae Gurwen and Brynaman has also lost three GPs in the last year.

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg has decided to award a contract covering patients of the old Meddygfa’r Cwm and a single GP practice in Pontardawe made up of the two remaining partners from Amman Valley Practice and the Pontardawe GP. The same three GPs are understood to be bidding for the old AVP area with the aim of creating one single practice area named Aman Tawe.

Jonathan Edwards MP said:

“I am grateful to Abertawe Bro Morgannwg UHB for agreeing at short notice to meet with me and for their candour. The meeting lasted for an hour and a half and I was able to get a sound understanding of how my constituents will be affected by these changes.

“The situation in terms of public service delivery in the upper Amman and Swansea valleys is extremely complicated. Essentially we are dealing with three Local Authority areas and three Health Board Areas, only two of which are currently responsible for actually commissioning services. These services are also commissioned on a cross border basis by both Health Boards.

“Abertawe Bro Morgannwg last week awarded a contract for services in the Ystalyfera, Cwmtwrch, Ystradowen, Cwmllynfell & Cefnbrynbrain to newly formed Meddygfa Aman Tawe, which is made up of, as I understand matters, the two remaining partners of the old Amman Valley Practice and a single practitioner based in Pontardawe.

“Should neighbouring Hywel Dda Health Board, as expected, decide to award the revised Amman Valley Practice area to the same Aman Tawe Practice, then we would in effect be talking about a super practice covering the whole area – a total of circa 14,000 patients.

“Patients that I represent in Carmarthenshire are naturally concerned about the loss of GPs who used to serve the old Amman Valley Practice. They are also concerned about the GP to patient ratio in future. My mathematics indicates that if Hywel Dda Health Board awards it new contract to Amman Valley Practice, there will be less than half the number of GPs that used to serve the area but the same number of patients.

“At the end of the day both Health Boards and those GPs commissioned need to understand that they are public servants and are ultimately answerable to the people. They will need to explain to patients how services will be delivered, how many additional GPs they will be recruiting, when they will be recruited, what the patient-GP ratio will be, where exactly GP services will be available and how long patients can expect to wait for an appointment.

“As an elected member, it’s my duty to ask these questions and I will continue to do so until my constituents get the answers and reassurance they need.”

ENDS

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