CAMPAIGNERS fear the closure of Flint’s Minor Injuries Unit spells the end for the hospital.
But health bosses say the unit will remain open for outpatient services until a new medical centre is built.
Save Flint Cottage Hospital action group is gearing up to have its say at a public meeting at the town hall at 7pm tonight.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) has announced Flint’s MIU would close on Friday and patients will have to go to Holywell to be treated instead.
Protesters want to know why the department is being axed despite consultation on the hospitals’ shake-up not being concluded.
North Wales Community Health Council (CHC) could still decide to refer plans to Welsh Government Health Minister Lesley Griffiths.
Flint councillor Alex Aldridge called it “closure by stealth” and asked what services would be left once the Minor Injuries Unit had closed and no more inpatients were being accepted.
“If the current patients get well and go home and no further inpatients are being taken in, what residual services are going to be left?” he asked.
“Are they going to turn the hospital into a care and maintenance facility and move the staff somewhere else?
“Are there going to be any residual services left that people can access and if not how are they going to advise and direct the people of Flint and the surrounding areas where to go?”
A BCUHB spokesman said: “The health board has suspended new admissions into Flint Hospital while we await the decision of the community health council so that, if agreement is reached with the CHC that the closures should proceed, we save as many patients as possible from the disruption of a transfer to an alternative hospital.
“The Minor Injuries Unit at Flint Community Hospital will close at 8pm on Friday, February 15, in line with the timetable set out when the board agreed the proposals.
“From the following Monday members of the public will be able to access the Minor Injuries Unit at Holywell Community Hospital where the opening hours have been extended from 8am to 8pm, seven days per week.
“Staffing difficulties mean we have not always been able to offer a reliable minor injuries service at Flint over the past year and at times the unit has had to temporarily close.
“This change will ensure patients will have certainty over when the service is available and that they can confidently rely on it every day of the week.
“As a result of the opinions expressed during the public consultation it was been agreed the hospital will continue to provide outpatient services, including minor surgery and phlebotomy on an interim basis and that these services will continue to be provided in Flint until the town’s proposed new primary care resource centre is built.”
Jack Reece, chairman of Save Flint Cottage Hospital, said the action group is disappointed CHC representatives will not be there to answer questions. “They’ve backed out of coming and that’s very disappointing.”
He added: “Our AMs and Flintshire Council leader Aaron Shotton will be attending. We will be asking why this is being allowed to happen.”