The Welsh government has been told to provide 'complete clarity' over the impact that proposed air ambulance closures would have on rural areas.
The Welsh government has been questioned and criticised over the future of air ambulance service across the country, in particular in Welshpool and Caernarfon, North Wales.
The Wales Air Ambulance Charity provides an essential life-saving emergency medical service for the critically ill and injured across Wales, especially to those in rural areas.
Their team is capable of reaching a critically ill patient anywhere in Wales within 20 minutes of receiving a call.
Janet Finch-Saunders, Member of the Welsh Parliament for Aberconwy, has highlighted the damage that could be done by plans to centralise the service.
She highlighted the need for 'complete clarity' to be provided as to the impact of the proposed closures of the bases in Welshpool and Caernarfon.
Speaking in the Senedd, Ms Finch-Saunders said: “In the depths of a winter crisis in our NHS, with strikes continuing unresolved, this seems to me to be the worst possible time to start thinking about closing air ambulance operating bases.
“Unanswered questions still remain on the impact this would have on my constituents, and indeed residents across North Wales."
She said there must be more data from the Welsh government to establish the impact the proposals would have on farming communities and rural areas.
“And as many others have said, closing the bases at Welshpool and Caernarfon could not only put patients at risk, but have knock-on consequences for other areas," she added.
“Aberconwy is a constituency with a large rural population. There are areas which are more difficult for regular ambulances to reach in time, so I do not wish to see longer flight times.”
It follows the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) warning that the plans were a 'big shock' to farmers in these regions.
"We all know someone who has had their life saved by the Welshpool air ambulance," said Emyr Davies, FUW's Montgomeryshire county executive officer.
"[This is] often because of the critical minutes and seconds saved as a result of having a service based in the heart of Wales."
Mr Davies said that many farmers were among those whose lives had been saved, as well as others living in isolated communities in regions where accident and emergency centres had been closed.