Sioned Williams MS calls to keep “provision and expertise we currently have in the south west of Wales”
Sioned Williams MS, Plaid Cymru Member of Senedd for South Wales West, has called on the Welsh Government to protect NHS fertility services in Wales following uncertainty around the future of the clinic at Neath Port Talbot Hospital.
Constituents first raised concerns following a meeting between staff and Swansea Bay Health Board on Thursday 16 November, when staff were told that the service was not currently sustainable.
During this meeting, one of three options was put forward: decommissioning, reduction of provision or outsourcing.
In a joint letter to the Health Minister, Ms Williams, along with fellow Plaid Cymru Member of Senedd for South Wales West, Luke Fletcher, asked for clarification on what assessment had been made on the impact to staff, the provision of services and patients, in light of these options.
Ms Williams and Mr Fletcher also asked whether there was a fourth option for Welsh Government to support the Wales Fertility Institute to continue its service.
In a question to the First Minister this week (Tuesday 28 November), Ms Williams noted that the Welsh Government had previously said in 2012 that they were committed to reducing the use of the private sector within fertility services in Wales, increasing capacity in the NHS.
While the First Minister indicated that this was a matter for the health board and the licencing and overseeing authorities, Ms Williams has called for “the principle that Welsh Government decided on and agreed on in 2012 to remain.”
The Wales Fertility Institute currently operates out of two locations: Neath Port Talbot Hospital and a clinic in Cardiff, and concerns have been raised about both facilities.
Sioned Williams MS, Plaid Cymru Member of Senedd for South Wales West, said:
“This is such an important yet emotive topic as fertility treatment is very much time sensitive, as well as a very difficult rollercoaster of emotion of hope, disappointment, grief and also of joy for patients.
“It’s vitally important to understand the impact on those currently receiving services, those who are on waiting lists, and those who are starting the process to meet the eligibility criteria that will enable them to be added to the waiting lists.
“This is not only a concern for patients, but for the provision and expertise we currently have in the south west of Wales. It’s important that Welsh Government provide clarity on what assessment they’ve made on the potential impact to staff, services and patients alike.
“What we’re asking for is reassurance from Welsh Government that this service will remain in Wales, given their previous assurances that they were committed to keeping this service within the NHS.”