REGIONAL AM Suzy Davies has challenged ABMu health board about the supply of family doctors to man the Out-of-Hours GP service in the Bridgend area.

She said: “I was shocked to see in the Gazette that the service, which is located at the Princess of Wales Hospital, was closed for a total of 16 hours over a recent weekend because of a lack of available GP’s to man it.

“ABMu has been using its own GP’s to run the service which has been a strength until now both in terms of continuity and cost. However, like the rest of Wales, we are seeing a growing shortage of GP’s in the area as a result of retirements and difficulties in recruiting family doctors. At the same time as trying to get a grip on the bigger picture, ABMu cannot overlook the immediate need to plan for out-of-hours cover.

“Fortunately, nobody had to find their way to the alternative out-of-hours GP service at Morriston but four people were referred to the A&E department in Princess of Wales Hospital instead.

“Yet all our A&E departments are already under huge pressure and the out-of-hours GP service is meant to take some of the strain by dealing with patients who do not need hospital care.

“I have written to ABMu chairman Andrew Davies to ask what steps are being taken to make the system more robust as we go into the winter when demand for all medical services is much higher.”