People power wins reprieve for threatened Barry hospital ward

Photo credit: Tracey Paddison

Healthcare workers at Barry Hospital are ecstatic after learning their campaigning efforts have won a reprieve for the threatened Sam Davies Ward.

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board wanted to close the 23-bed ward for older people which offers rehabilitation assistance for those who have had strokes and respite care for dementia patients.

UNISON Cymru Wales accused the health board of a complete failure to properly engage with staff and the local community about its plans. Many Barry hospital healthcare workers live locally and don’t drive so redeployment would have been difficult. The board did not promise that job losses will be avoided

Healthcare workers have now been told the Board is to consider a revised proposal at its meeting on 28 November.

A concerted UNISON campaign united the Barry community as 13,000 people signed the trade union’s petition calling for the award-winning Sam Davies Ward to remain open. Many joined UNISON’s march and rally from Barry hospital to King Square along with patients’ families. Aneira Thomas, the first person born after the NHS was founded and Belinda Loveluck-Edwards, Labour Parliamentary candidate for the Vale of Glamorgan addressed the rally.

Andrew Woodman, UNISON regional organiser said,

“This is a tremendous victory and we have demonstrated people cherish their local hospital services and they recognise the valuable work staff do to support the elderly in the community.

“UNISON marched, leafleted, petitioned and we have shown when people bandy together the powerful are forced to listen. It’s a great advert for trade union solidarity and a community united in defending their local public services.

“We must remain vigilant and protect health services for local people but it’s clear without UNISON’s campaign, the Sam Davies Ward would have been closed by now.

“The Sam Davies ward was praised by Carers Trust South East Wales as a “shining example” and it was peculiar the health board wanted to close it.

“Thank you to the people of Barry, your magnificent response to our campaign energised healthcare workers and made them even more determined to defend the hospital.”

Notes for editors

  • A total of 12,991 people signed UNISON’s petition. 1,858 people signed the UNISON petition online and 11,133 people signed paper copies of the petition. It was presented by healthcare workers to the Senedd on 9 October
  • The text of the petition is as follows:
e-Petition: Save Sam Davies Ward at Barry Hospital
We the undersigned call on the Welsh Government, being the ultimate body responsible for the provision of health care in Wales, to stop the proposal of the Cardiff & Vale UHB to close the Sam Davies Ward, a 23 bedded older persons acute rehabilitation ward at the Barry Hospital, and to ensure that the Barry Hospital continues to provide Health Services to the public of Barry the largest Town in Wales.
The Sam Davies Ward is a 23 bedded older persons acute rehabilitation ward. The services include stroke rehabilitation, orthopaedic rehabilitation, and medical rehabilitation amongst other key health services. The ward also has two respite beds
  • The Sam Davies ward recently won a Carer Friendly Silver Award. The ward has been praised by Carers Trust South East Wales as a “shining example of great person-centred care, for both patients and their carers. They really go the extra mile…”
  • UNISON held a march and rally 5 October. Speakers included, Aneira Thomas, the first person born in the NHS; Tanya Palmer, UNISON regional secretary and Belinda Loveluck-Edwards, Labour Parliamentary candidate for the Vale of Glamorgan.
  • Watch the video UNISON created about the campaign #SaveSamDaviesWard

Alastair Gittins, UNISON press officer 07816 53 83 97