Assembly Member Rhodri Glyn Thomas has expressed concern for stroke patients at West Wales General Hospital (Glangwili) after being contacted by a Doctor who said not enough physiotherapists are available at the acute stroke unit.
Speaking to the Plaid Cymru AM the doctor, who currently has a relative on the stroke ward, said physiotherapists are unable to provide the service recommended by NICE guidelines as they lack the staff to do so. The doctor was keen to stress that the physiotherapists in the hospital were doing "the best they can in very difficult circumstances", and that patients not receiving the appropriate care was a "consequence of a funding arrangement that is indefensible and plainly injurious to patient care."
Rhodri Glyn Thomas has this week made urgent representations to the Welsh Government's Health Minister and Chief Executive of Hywel Dda University Health Board expressing how vital physiotherapy is for those who have experienced stroke. Mr Thomas has asked for information on how this lack of physiotherapy cover has come about, and how it will be immediately resolved.
The Carmarthen East and Dinefwr AM said:
"Physiotherapy plays an absolutely vital role in the recovery and rehabilitation of stroke patients. I am deeply concerned by the information provided to me, but particularly concerned given this information was shared with me by a doctor with experience of working in a stroke unit.
"I am informed that the physiotherapists are doing excellent work, but are over-stretched, and there is no staff contingency to cover sickness or maternity leave.
"I have asked the Health Minister and health board Chief Executive why it is this situation has come about, and what can be done to immediately resolve these concerns. I have also sought answers as to why locum physiotherapists have not been engaged to cover the staff shortages.
"To have a doctor say the current situation at Glangwili stroke unit is injurious to patient care is very serious indeed. I want to see the health board better support the physiotherapy staff and patients as a matter of urgency."