Events will take place in Machynlleth and Pwllheli in October as part of the second phase of consultations over a review into Wales Air Ambulance bases in Powys and Gwynedd.
Plans hatched last year to replace Wales Air Ambulance bases in Powys and Gwynedd with a single new home in Denbighshire came under fire from politicians and residents, with a decision and final recommendation due to be taken following a series of consultations.
Wales currently has four air ambulance bases – in Welshpool, Caernarfon, Llanelli and Cardiff – but a suggested reorganisation would see the bases in Welshpool and Caernarfon replaced by a former North Wales Police helicopter base in Rhuddlan.
NHS Wales said “the second phase of the Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS) Review about how to further improve the air ambulance service in Wales will take place between 9 October and 5 November for public feedback”.
Public engagement sessions will run from Thursday, 12 October until Friday, 20 October through a combination of informal drop-in sessions, in-person public meetings – in Welshpool, Newtown, Machynlleth, Bangor and Pwllheli – and virtual sessions using Microsoft Teams.
Stephen Harrhy, the Chief Ambulance Services Commissioner said: “Following the feedback we gathered through a range of methods during Phase One, my team has been working on developing options, and complementary data modelling has also been underway, that I now want to test with the public and stakeholders in Phase Two.
“We have had to focus the in-person engagement events on the areas where there has been the highest level of interest an attendance in Phase One, which is why we are hosting in-person engagement sessions in Powys and Betsi Cadwaladr health board areas, as well as offering online sessions for those who may prefer online or be unable to attend in-person sessions.
“There is also a telephone answer service and online feedback form to give people as much opportunity as possible to comment on what is being shared.
“I stressed at the end of Phase One that no decision had previously been made on this issue and this second phase gives me an opportunity to share what has been heard in Phase One and demonstrate how this has been applied to the options developed.”
“I’m hopeful that Phase Two will be equally as helpful to me in arriving at a preferred option that I will then be able to recommend formally to the Emergency Ambulance Services Committee for their decision.”
Wales Air Ambulance said the potential closure of the bases in Welshpool and Caernarfon would allow the services to be consolidated in a new “central north-Wales location close to the A55 (Denbighshire or Conwy)”.
The charity said that modelling showed the changes would allow it to potentially attend 583 more missions a year and go from meeting 72 per cent of demand to 88 per cent of demand.
Wales Air Ambulance
Welshpool Town Hall - Thursday, 12 October 12pm to 3pm
Theatr Hafren, Newtown - Friday, 13 October 12pm to 3pm
Machynlleth Rugby Club - Monday, 16 October 12pm to 3pm
Bangor City Council Offices - Tuesday, 17 October 12pm to 3pm
Plas Heli, Pwllheli Wednesday, 18 October - 12pm to 3pm
Welshpool Town Hall - Thursday, 12 October 6.30pm to 7.30pm
Newtown High School - Friday, 13 October 6.30pm to 7.30pm
Ysgol Bro Hyddgen, Machynlleth- Monday, 16 October 6.30pm to 7.30pm
Bangor City Council Offices - Tuesday, 17 October 6.30pm to 7.30pm
Ysgol Glan y Mor, Pwllheli - Wednesday, 18 October - 6.30pm to 7.30pm
Virtual public meetings
Via Microsoft Teams Live Event
Thursday, 19 October, 6.30pm to 7.30pm
Friday, 20 October, 1pm to 2pm