CAMPAIGNERS pressing for an accident and emergency at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr are now working with nurses as they draw up alternative proposals for medical provisions at the site.

Mariam Kamish has led the drive and said the enthusiasm for it has surprised her, with hundreds of people signing a petition in Blackwood and shopkeepers putting up posters.

Around 100 people from all over Caerphilly county marched through Caerphilly town earlier this year, while a similar amount are expected at a public meeting at Blackwood Miners’ Institute on April 2, where they will voice their disapproval with arrangements there.

The state-of-the-art Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr, Ystrad Mynach, cost £172 million, but does not have a doctor-led accident and emergency.

This means the local authority does not have a provision and locals have to travel to hospitals in Cardiff, Newport, Abergavenny or Merthyr Tydfil in emergencies.

What has angered locals more is the fact that the old Caerphilly Miners’ Hospital that was replaced by a so-called better facility had a nine to five A&E before it closed to make way for Ystrad Fawr.

Dai Davies of Blackwood said:"There’s nothing wrong with the building. It’s what they’re doing with it that’s the problem. And the nurses are great – but what’s the point of a hospital, if it doesn’t have an A&E?"

Councillors are backing the call, including Blackwood’s Patricia Cook who took her husband, Parkinson’s sufferer Gareth to Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr after he badly cut his ear three months ago.

But, they were sent to Newport’s Royal Gwent Hospital and in total it took six hours for him to receive 10 stitches in the wound.

She said: "The area has been sold short. There was a perfectly good A&E at the Miners, but they close it for a £172 million facility, with no doctors there.

"It took us six hours to get treatment for Gareth, but we had a car. Some people would be waiting even longer if they needed an ambulance to take them between the two hospitals."

Campaigners are calling for a referendum on the issue.

A public meeting takes place downstairs in the main hall at Blackwood Miners’ Institute on Tuesday, April 2, 7.30pm.