The new £350m Grange University Hospital has opened with much fanfare, but questions remain over its public transport links.
The 470-bed hospital, located in Cwmbran, houses the main Accident and Emergency department for the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board area, which includes Caerphilly County Borough.
Construction work on the hospital began in July 2017 and it has opened four months earlier than planned because of the coronavirus pandemic.
While concerns have been raised over public transport access to the new hospital, the health board claims most patients will be taken to the hospital by ambulance.
Currently, residents in Caerphilly County Borough may need to take multiple buses to get to the Grange.
For example, according to Google Maps, it could take up to one hour 40 minutes to get to the hospital from Blackwood by bus – depending on the time of day. The shortest journey from Blackwood is around an hour.
From Caerphilly town, it could take up to 90 minutes to get there.
According to its website, the health board says it is working on a travel plan with local transport providers.
Bus company Stagecoach told Caerphilly Observer it will be looking at its services in relation to the hospital in the coming weeks.
Asked why services were not planned during the hospital’s construction, the company said said it was because the hospital had opened earlier than first planned.
Caerphilly’s Senedd Member Hefin David has raised the issue of public transport with Welsh Government ministers.
He said: “Just as I did with the 50a service to the Gwent and the 25 to the Heath, I will take this up with Stagecoach in our upcoming meetings.”
Blackwood councillor Kevin Etheridge also expressed concern and said: “The health board seems to be speaking with providers but there doesn’t seem to be anything in place.
“There needs to be something in place targeting individuals who can’t drive.
“Ambulances are at a premium – mainly for people who dial 999.”
Cllr Etheridge called for a “firm commitment” to resolving the isuse.
There are 1,000 car parking spaces at the hospital, split between staff and patients, with 18 electric vehicle charging points on site.
Which hospital should I go to?
The Grange University Hospital will be used to treat seriously ill patients and those with significant injuries.
These services have been provided at the Royal Gwent Hospital, as well as Nevill Hall – but these will now only operate as minor injury units.
Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr will remain as a minor injury unit.
Complaints dealt with at minor injury units include:
- Broken or fractured limbs.
- Broken ribs.
- Wounds, grazes and minor burns.
- Eye, ear and nose injuries.
- Insect, animal or human bites.
- Head injuries, providing there’s no loss of consciousness or the patient is taking blood thinning drugs.
- Face injuries, providing there’s no loss of consciousness.
- Neck and back injuries, if the patient is mobile, doesn’t have pins and needles in limbs or has fallen from a distance of less than one metre.
Anyone with a life-threatening illness or injury, or issues such as severe breathing difficulties, chest pain, stroke or heavy bleeding, should call 999 or go straight to the Grange Hospital.
Babies under the age of 12 months should be seen to at the Grange Hospital, regardless of whether they have a minor or serious injury or illness.
Children over the age of 12 months can be seen to at minor injury units, but must go to the Grange for emergencies.
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The new hospital is located on Caerleon Road, Llanyravon, Cwmbran, NP44 2XJ
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