COMMUNITY leaders have launched a stinging attack on the region’s health board over the removal of services in a town awaiting a new medical centre.
Buckley councillors slammed Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) at a town council meeting.
They are making a formal complaint after the chiropody service was pulled from the town and relocated to Mold, in a move branded “disgraceful” by councillors.
Angry members claimed they were not consulted on the shift, saying it is a money-saving ploy by the board.
The loss of the town’s chiropody service follows the removal of skin specialist and ear syringing facilities from Buckley, councillors said.
Cllr Mike Peers said: “They have walked this service out Buckley without any consultation with councillors and it is absolutely disgraceful.”
The chiropody service closed before Christmas and was moved to Mold’s Glanrafon Practice, after BCUHB decided there were health and safety issues at Buckley’s current Roseheath health centre.
A spokesman for the health board said the temporarily relocation of the service to Mold was because the practice area in Buckley was “unfit for carrying out the service”, saying patients informed about the move by phone.
But Cllr Dennis Hutchinson said there was a facility which could have housed the service in Buckley.
He said: “There is a health facility here in Buckley looking to rent space so why didn't they use that instead.”
His words were echoed by Cllr Richard Jones, who said: “If we offer them that space and they don’t take it then the writing is on the wall.
“All of the patients I have spoken to are not happy. This is another crucial service that has been removed and if we do without it for more than 12 months, then it may not return.
“When I asked at the health centre I was told the chiropody room had been closed because of asbestos issues with broken tiles, but other parts of the centre are still in use.
“The health board has moved things away in the past and it is concerning. I think it is a ploy to save money.”
Work started on Buckley's new £6m health centre in December.
Some members said they fear if the town is forced to do without services until the new centre is up and running, they may never return.
Cllr John Thornton said: “Our residents don’t deserve this treatment.”
A BCUHB spokesman said: “A robust health and safety review of the facilities used at Buckley deemed the practice area unfit for carrying out the service and the decision was taken to temporary relocate to Glanrafon Mold and Mynydd Isa clinic in January.
“A robust estate is very important for delivering the complex podiatry services we now offer. Mold and Mynydd Isa provide this less than two miles away from the Buckley practice. Feedback from patients receiving treatment at Glanrafon has been very positive towards the environment in which they are cared for.
“As work starts on the new Buckley Health Centre we are very keen to look at options for moving the service into the new building when finished.
As this was a decision made on health and safety grounds, patients were contacted by telephone to inform them of the relocation as new appointments were offered via the central booking system.”