Montgomeryshire MS Russell George has called on the Health Minister to urgently intervene over plans to close Air Ambulance bases in mid and north Wales that “could put lives at risk”.

The closure of Caernarfon and Welshpool Air Ambulance bases is being actively considered by an ongoing review into the future delivery of the emergency service, with plans to move to a single new home in Denbighshire.

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.”

Air Ambulance Russell George
Russell George raised the point in the Senedd this week (Wales Air Ambulance)

The charity said that modelling showed the changes would allow it to potentially attend 583 more missions a year.

Last month, following previous engagement phases, a previously unexpected appraisal had taken place. Six options were outlined, with two options being presented as higher scoring options. Both options would see the closure of the Welshpool base. Montgomeryshire MS Russell George this week raised the need for the Welshpool base to remain with the Minister for Health and Social Services in the Senedd, calling for the Minister to intervene.

Commenting following his exchange with Labour’s Health Minister on potential air ambulance base closures in Mid and North Wales, Mr George said: “Keeping the air ambulance bases open in both Welshpool and Caernarfon will be vital to ensure specialised medical care arrives quickly to incidents in rural Mid and North Wales.

‘’It's not only the public that have got concerns, but also clinicians as well.

“They fear lives will be put at risk should these two bases close.

“Some of them may leave the service - these are experienced people in Welshpool and in Caernarfon that may leave the service.

“I made it clear to the Minister that she does have the ability to intervene, to influence, and to decide what happens.

“I asked whether she was prepared to take on board the significant concerns that have been presented from communities in north and mid Wales, to ensure that both sites, in Welshpool and Caernarfon, remain open, so that we have an ambulance service that reaches all parts of Wales, and one that takes into account the very specific nature of some of the most rural parts of Wales”. Stephen Harrhy, the Chief Ambulance Services Commissioner tasked with leading the independent review, said: “This review is focusing on improving what is already a brilliant and highly valued service.

“No decision has yet been made on this issue and this final phase gives me a chance to share what has been heard in Phase 2 engagement and show how the shortlisted options have been arrived at.”

The final engagement stage on the future of air ambulance bases and operations has begun and will run until 29 February.