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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 September 2007, 05:54 GMT 06:54 UK
Tories call for more NHS 'choice'
Welsh Tories are set to highlight the future of neurosurgery services
The Welsh Conservatives are to use their first assembly opposition debate to call for NHS patients to have more choice over where they are treated.

They are expected to claim that a row over neurosurgery services for patients in north Wales shows local needs are being ignored.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan has said no decision has been made on the future of neurosurgery services in the north.

He has said an expert panel will conduct an independent review.

The Conservatives will use their opposition debate to argue that every effort should be made to ensure patients can be treated as close to their homes as possible and that patient needs should be paramount.

They are expected to say that any plans to transfer planned operations for north Wales neurosurgery patients from Liverpool to Cardiff or Swansea defies common sense.

Neurosurgery treats disorders of the nervous system, including diseases of the head, brain and spine.

In Wales, adult neurosurgery is performed in both Cardiff and Swansea.

'Pure scaremongering'

But patients from north Wales currently travel the relatively short distance across the English border to The Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Liverpool for treatment.

In 2006, plans to create a single service in Cardiff were announced after a Health Commission Wales report.

Nick Bourne AM, leader of the Official Opposition in the assembly, said: "While we accept that a modern NHS must reflect the increasing demands placed upon it, it is vital that wherever possible it also meets the needs of patients.

"The provision of local, effective, reliable healthcare is paramount and must be safeguarded.

"Clearly there will be some centralisation of specialist services, but the assembly government's plans for neurosurgery patients make no sense whatsoever."


When questioned in the Senedd on Monday, Mr Morgan moved to puncture the Tory motion by claiming no decision on neurosurgery services had been made and that any suggestion to the contrary was "pure scaremongering".

He went on to say the next move would be to appoint an expert panel which would begin the work of looking at future provision.

He told the Senedd: "Speculation on the future of neurosurgery is unhelpful as the plans have not yet been formulated and there will be full, open and transparent consultation."

GP Jonathan Richards explains how the system currently works.

Demo over city's health services
28 Apr 07 |  South West Wales
Neurosurgery rethink accusations
09 Nov 06 |  South West Wales
AMs' plea to keep Swansea surgery
13 Oct 06 |  South West Wales

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