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Stiff Opposition to Shifting Air Ambulance Base

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Campaigners opposing the closure of the Wales Air Ambulance base in Gwynedd gathered at the site near Caernarfon to demand that it remain open. A proposed re-organization would see the Gwynedd and Welshpool bases replaced by a more central location, thought to be Rhuddlan in Denbighshire. Several members of the parliament have written to the Wales Air Ambulance CEO expressing their concerns. They joined campaigners at Caernarfon Airport in Dinas Dinlle recently in solidarity with their cause urging that the service remains in the area.

The Community is Vehement in Its Opposition

Cian Williams of Porthmadog, who was saved by the air ambulance after a speed boat accident in Porthmadog about ten years ago, was among the campaigners. The Wales Air Ambulance Charity, which works in collaboration with the Welsh Government and EMRTS, recently announced a restructuring of its national operations that may result in the closure of both the Caernarfon and Welshpool sites in favor of a single centralized location. According to air ambulance officials, a reconfiguration of base locations and medical shift patterns could result in 500 more lifesaving missions across Wales each year, but campaigners question how the proposed new arrangement will strengthen safe emergency medical cover in Gwynedd’s rural areas, where people may live long distances from Ysbyty Gwynedd’s A&E department.

Possible Consequences

There are fears that a consolidated operation will cause delays in getting air ambulances to outlying areas in northwestern Wales, potentially putting people’s health at risk. According to air ambulance officials, research shows that shifting base locations and medical shift patterns could result in 500 more lifesaving missions across Wales each year, with every county benefiting. However, campaigners are skeptical that the proposed new arrangement will improve safe emergency medical coverage in Gwynedd’s rural areas, where people may live long distances from Ysbyty Gwynedd’s A&E department. There are fears that a centralized operation will cause delays in getting air ambulances to outlying areas in northwestern Wales, potentially affecting people’s access to healthcare.

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