GWYNEDD and Anglesey's Plaid Cymru politicians have called on the Welsh Government to consider the impact that moving vascular services could have on patients living in rural areas.

Arfon's Sian Gwenllian AM and Hywel Williams MP and Anglesey's Rhun Ap Iorwerth AM are urging the Government to undertake an "urgent and comprehensive" impact assessment.

The calls come a month after Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board reneged on a pledge to keep the emergency vascular service at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor and performed a u-turn on a promise to safeguard the in-patient and limb salvage service.

The Plaid Cymru representatives who have been at the forefront of a campaign opposing the downgrading of vascular services are now calling for an urgent review into the effects the move will have on patients living in the farthest corners of the counties.

In a joint statement, Siân Gwenllian AM and Hywel Williams MP said: "We’ve now had written confirmation from the Labour minister for health saying they have no plans to keep emergency vascular services at Ysbyty Gwynedd, despite earlier assurances that the service would be safeguarded.

"Local GPs in our constituency were given a guarantee that vascular surgery and emergency admissions would be maintained at Bangor, providing full support for emergency patients and in-patients.

"This latest announcement is a complete reversal of policy and BCUHB and the Welsh Government have simultaneously broken their promise to local people whilst pushing ahead with cumulative attempts at downgrading services at Ysbyty Gwynedd.

"If the Welsh Government persist with plans to remove emergency provisions from Ysbyty Gwynedd then they must publish a comprehensive impact assessment of the effects of withdrawing these services on patients living in rural parts of the county.

"Those living in isolated communities who already face significant challenges in accessing healthcare will bear the brunt of moving this service further away from their reach, putting patients at risk if this agenda of shifting vital services eastwards persists."

Plaid Cymru AM for Ynys Môn Rhun ap Iorwerth added: "My constituents continue to have concerns that changes to services will have a serious impact on vascular patients–not only for the extra distance that they should need to travel but also because they trust in the exceptional service that is currently offered at Bangor."

Responding to the claims and defending plans to move services, Evan Moore, executive medical director for Betsi Cadwaladr said: "Under the current service model, patients who live in rural locations in Anglesey and Gwynedd travel to Wrexham for emergency vascular surgery for half of the week.

"By locating a fit-for-purpose service at Glan Clwyd Hospital, we are able to both safeguard the future of this service in North Wales and ensure equity of access to high quality vascular services for all of our population, regardless of where they live.

"At present emergency arterial vascular surgery is spread too thinly across two of our hospital sites and neither Ysbyty Gwynedd nor Wrexham Maelor Hospital is able to offer a 24 hour a day, seven day a week service. We have placed significant investment into vascular services with a £3.5m state of the art hybrid theatre opening next year.

"In cases where it is in the patients’ interest to be treated for an emergency in either Ysbyty Gwynedd or Wrexham Maelor, the new robust service will allow an on call vascular specialist to provide that care at those hospitals.

Mr Moore added that the health board's plans have already "helped attract more surgeons, consultants and doctors", resulting in the board potentially having one of the best staffed and equipped arterial centres in the UK.

"The specialist arterial centre will offer the highest quality care and outcomes for patients from across North Wales," he added.

"The arterial centre at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd will handle around 300 complex cases per year, representing about 20 per cent of all vascular activity across North Wales.

"Therefore 80 per cent of activity will remain at our local sites. Ysbyty Gwynedd and Wrexham Maelor Hospital will continue to provide the following local vascular services: vascular clinics; diagnostics; interventions such as renal access and varicose vein procedures; review of in-patient vascular referrals; and rehabilitation."