Health campaigners furious with plans to centralise hospital services in west Wales vowed today to take their fight to the courts.
The announcement of controversial changes by managers of the Hywel Dda Health Board, which serves 370,000 people, sparked a huge political row at First Minister's Questions on Tuesday.
Under the plans Llanelli's Prince Phillip Hospital will lose its A&E facility and Tenby and South Pembrokeshire will lose minor injury units.
A special baby-care unit at Withybush hospital will also be moved and a community hospital in Tumble will close alltogether.
Health Minister Lesley Griffiths says expert opinion supports her belief that services across Wales must be modernised.
And Hywel Dda area managers insist many patients could be better treated in their homes and at six new community health centres.
But Tony Flatley, who handed a 33,000-strong petition against the changes to the National Assembly last year, said campaigners would try to force a judicial review of the plans because the consultation was "flawed."
"We will continue to fight, we will continue to gather evidence and we're calling a meeting next week," he told the Star.
"We will also try and force the health minister, who has been absolutely useless so far, into looking into everything and making a decision but we're not too hopeful about that."
Hywel Dda Community Health Council chairman Tony Wales said "scant regard" had been shown to widespread concerns about what he insisted were the "downgrading" of important health services.
Mr Wales said the patient's watchdog would use its powers as a statuory public body to force the Labour minister to re-examine their case against the reconfiguration.
Unison head of health Dawn Bowden said Ms Griffiths would then have to "decide whether or not the health board's plans are acceptable."
But she added: "We should be critical of the health minister if she makes the wrong decision but at the moment she hasn't made any decision."
Ms Bowden stressed that the union believed the status quo for Welsh health services was not an option and that no compulsory redundancies were expected as a result of the changes.
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