There are concerns for the future of vascular services at Ysbyty Gwynedd after plans were approved for a new £2.76 million operating theatre at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.
Politicans in North West Wales fear that this will lead to vascular services being downgraded at the Bangor hospital and the spiralling effect this could have on other health provisions at the hospital.
Hywel Williams, MP for Arfon, said: “Vascular services are a key part of the care provided at Ysbyty Gwynedd and include surgery for people who have life-threatening bleeds and surgery to save limbs to which the blood supply is threatened.
“Bangor’s vascular unit has not only developed a local reputation, but also an international one for the excellence of its results. A threat to downgrade these services hugely undermines the health board’s commitment to the people of North West Wales.
“Starting from scratch at a separate site is fraught with problems in this current climate of recruitment issues and difficulties attracting high quality staff to North Wales. The present high quality service benefits the whole north Wales population and there is a very real possibility it may be lost completely.”
Arfon AM Siân Gwenllian said: “The vascular team in Bangor is well-established and recognised as the best in Wales for fistula work and treatment of kidney dialysis patients and amongst the best in the world for preventing leg amputations, particularly relevant to those with diabetes.
”Any attempt at removing services from Ysbyty Gwynedd would put the lives of those who live in more isolated communities and difficult geographical locations in unnecessary jeopardy.”
Secretary of the Gwynedd and Anglesey kidney patient association Ken Jones is also concerned.
”If all vascular emergencies such as someone bleeding to death as a result of an injury or a ruptured aneurysm were to be admitted to Glan Clwyd, there is a very real risk to life due to longer travelling distances for the people of Gwynedd and Anglesey.” he said.
However, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board chiefs have rejected the claims and said that they are not going to be moving the vascular services away from the Bangor hospital.
Executive medical director Evan Moore said: “We have no plans to move vascular services away from Ysbyty Gwynedd.
”We are creating a new specialist unit for complex vascular work where we will be able to ensure that we have better staffing, better equipment, the best chance of attracting the best staff thus providing the best quality of service to the patients of North Wales.
“We have no plans to move secondary care vascular services or renal support services away from Ysbyty Gwynedd. Dialysis services and vascular support for dialysis services will be unaffected by this investment in tertiary care.
“Given the excellent outcomes currently being achieved with lower limb patients at Ysbyty Gwynedd there is a need to protect this service and clinical outcomes.
“Only major arterial vascular surgery will be carried out at a new specialist unit at Glan Clwyd Hospital, accounting for around 20 per cent of all vascular activity.
”This is a model that is being successfully implemented across the whole of the UK including Wales, both in urban and rural areas, and was recommended by the Royal College of Surgeons, which is fully aware of the geography of North Wales.”