A HOSPITAL will close to outpatients from today.
The news that outpatient services at Llangollen community hospital will close three weeks sooner than originally mooted has sparked anger among campaigners.
The hospital was closed to inpatient admissions last month, drawing criticism from opponents that changes were being rushed through.
The hospital will close altogether once the few remaining inpatients are discharged.
The hospital is due to close in April as part of a service shake-up by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB).
But a spokesman for BCUHB said: “From Monday all outpatient and dressings clinics, phlebotomy (blood sampling) and physiotherapy appointments that were previously based in the hospital will be held in the Llangollen Health Centre, adjacent to the GP surgery.
“A minor injuries service will also be available at this location, initially running from 9am to 3.30pm, Monday to Thursday, the same hours as apply in the hospital at present.
“The Health Board and the GP surgery are working closely together to ensure these services continue to be available in the town, in line with the commitments given by the health board during the recent consultation, until the new Primary Care Resource Centre is available.”
Alaian Kahan of Keep Llangollen Health Services said: “The health board made noises around the possibility of building a new health centre. They said patients ‘may’ be treated in local nursing homes. But they only made one promise which was to shut our hospital, and now they’ve done it.
“However, there are no signs of any new health centres, patients are being sent all across north east Wales, and all the while ambulances are queuing up outside Wrexham Maelor because the beds are full.
“It is clear that patients will suffer. The health board and their political masters should hang their heads in shame.”
Llangollen councillor Stuart Davies said he was “disappointed to say the least” but not surprised by the news.
Speaking last week he said: “The (BCUHB) project manager told me they were transferring services to the health centre and were going to have it up and running this week, but I’ve been there and it hasn’t happened yet.”
Director of primary, community and mental health services Geoff Lang said: “The relocation of services to the health centre will help us to develop our collaboration and joint working with our partners in the Llangollen GP practice, and we intend expanding some of these services over the coming months.
“This is an important step towards the integrated care we want to be able to provide for the town and we are very grateful for the support and help of the Llangollen GPs and Health Board colleagues as we develop health services for the area.”