Assembly Member Adam Price and Member of Parliament Jonathan Edwards have expressed concern at the centralisation of public services which, they say, puts local jobs at risk.
Their comments come in response to a consultation announced by the Wales Ambulance Service Trust which proposes moving its Clinical Contact Centre to Bridgend from its current Llangunnor home where around 160 staff are employed.
There are three Clinical Contact Centres across Wales, one located in each of the three regions of the Wales Ambulance Service Trust, namely Llangunnor, Llanfairfechan and Cwmbran.
The Wales Ambulance Service Trust (WAST) has consulting on three proposals:
- No chance to the current operation;
- Bi-service centre in Llangunnor with Dyfed Powys Police;
- Tri-service option in Bridgend with South Wales Police and South Wales and Mid & West Fire and Rescue Services.
The Plaid Cymru politicians who represent the Llangunnor area said the option to centralise services would impact local employment and the local economy, as well as potentially diminishing the geographic knowledge of those handling calls. Mr Price and Mr Edwards said they would be engaging positively with the unions and Ambulance Trust during the consultation period.
Plaid Cymru Leader, Leanne Wood AM also raised concerns on centralisation of jobs with the First Minister in the National Assembly for Wales today.
Assembly Member Adam Price said:
"I'm deeply concerned by the proposal to move jobs away from Carmarthenshire only to be centralised in Bridgend.
"With many employees travelling to Llangunnor from across Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion, such a move will very likely impact upon local employment and the local economy. Local jobs will be at risk if the move goes ahead.
"Correspondence I have received from the Ambulance Service Trust suggests it is very open to receiving ideas from staff about the way forward. This kind of positive attitude is absolutely vital to achieve a successful outcome to this consultation.
"We look forward to meeting with the Ambulance Trust and trade union representatives in the coming days to learn more about the proposals. We will, however, do whatever we can to safeguard local employment."
Member of Parliament Jonathan Edwards added:
"We're not aware of any clinical reasoning behind the decision to consider centralising jobs out of Carmarthenshire. On the face of it, it appears these considerations are based on financial savings only. We do, however, need further information from the Ambulance Trust on this.
"Relocating jobs from west Wales risks diminishing the local knowledge of clinical call handlers, which is of paramount importance with ambulance calls.
"Whilst we meet with the Ambulance Trust and union representatives, I would like to reassure employees at the Llangunnor site that they are welcome to contact Adam and I at any time if they need any support."