Fresh concerns over a lack of GPs in one Anglesey town has seen the health board urged to publish a “clear timetable” on plans to improve primary care.
With Holyhead’s Cambria and Longford Road surgeries having been taken over by the health board due to a collapse in their services, the local MS claims that a shortage of GPs and other key staff are also causing problems at the town’s remaining surgery.
In a letter to the chair of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Rhun ap Iorwerth says that the Victoria Surgery is now facing staff shortages in crucial roles, highlighting the departure of a number of GPs and dispensing staff at the practice.
He wrote to Mark Polin: “I have been calling for solutions to be delivered to solve the primary care crisis facing the area for some time now, and whilst I appreciate that the current pandemic makes quick fixes even more difficult to find, I am concerned to hear from medical professionals and patients in the town and surrounding areas that the situation facing primary care there appears to be getting worse, and not better.”
Mr ap Iowerth went on to say: “I am aware from previous conversations with the health board that discussions have been taking place to resolve the issues facing primary care in Holyhead, and you will know that I have asked for consideration to be given to developing the old Woolworths site as a new, fit for purpose, town-centre medical centre.
“I also understand that it is planned to formally merge the Cambria and Longford Road surgeries in the near future, with services spread over the two sites.
“However, I feel that urgent work is required to ensure the situation doesn’t deteriorate further and that the services are restored to acceptable levels as quickly as possible.”
The Plaid Cymru MS has long proposed the former Woolworths store on Market Street for a multidisciplinary health centre, citing the additional prospect of boosting footfall in the town centre.
He said: “We need a clear timetable from the health board detailing what steps they’re taking to restore full primary care provision in Holyhead, and we need it urgently.”
Ffion Johnsone, West Area Director for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “We’ve been in regular conversation with Rhun over recent months to keep him updated on our work to continue to support Primary Care services in Holyhead, which includes merging the two practices and retain services from both locations.
“We have worked hard to ensure services remain open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and have increased the number of advanced nurses, pharmacists and allied health professions working in Holyhead.”