THOUSANDS of pounds is being wasted on buying fans and a new extraction system at Gwent’s flagship hospital to blow away fumes from ambulances queuing outside, an MP has revealed. 

Last month, David Davies wrote to the Labour-run Welsh Government after health bosses admitted they had installed fans at the entrance to The Grange University Hospital in Llanfrechfa to “disperse vehicle emissions from waiting ambulances”. 

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said it had made the decision alongside the ambulance service “to create a safer environment for staff”. 

It comes as poor handover times and lack of bed space means patients are left waiting in the back of ambulances before they are admitted to hospital, often for several hours – a situation Mr Davies has previously described as “clear evidence of a broken system”.

A letter of reply to the Monmouth MP’s query over costs from health minister Eluned Morgan confirms £2,640 has been spent on installing fans “to disperse the diesel fumes from the increased number of ambulances outside the A&E unit”.

The minister goes on to say the health board has submitted a business case seeking support for an extension to the emergency department at The Grange, which is currently being scrutinised by officials prior to submission to her for consideration.

This investment will also see an extraction system put in place “to ensure air changes and flow are managed” as part of proposals to “reconfigure and extend waiting space to provide additional capacity and an improved environment”.

Mr Davies visited The Grange on a random Friday in November following a meeting with the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust, where he found eight ambulances waiting outside the emergency department to transfer patients. Some had been waiting for up to three and a half hours.

“It is absolutely appalling that a health board is having to use thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money to buy fans to blow away diesel fumes from waiting ambulances,” he said.

“What I find even worse is the problem has not been solved.

“I dread to think how much additional money it is going to cost the taxpayer for an extension, which will also house an extraction system.

 “Our NHS needs more support, and I urge the Labour Welsh Government – which has been in charge of the health service in Wales since 1999 - to back down on its demand for health boards to make £65m of cuts because it will put sites such as The Grange under even more pressure.”