HEALTH bosses were accused of “pulling the rug from underneath people” over a hospital’s X-ray service.
Buckley councillor Mike Peers expressed his disappointment that a full-time X-ray service is not currently being offered at Mold Community Hospital after campaigners raised more than £100,000 for a new machine.
Currently the X-ray operating hours at the hospital are 22.5 hours a week.
The comments came as councillors grilled health board bosses during a visit to a Flintshire Council scrutiny committee, where several councillors voiced concerns that a full time X-ray service was not currently taking place following the massive fundraising drive.
Cllr Peers said: “The community have ploughed hundreds of thousands of pounds into Mold Hospital in the expectation of full time service.
“The health board aren’t supporting that.
“They’re pulling the rug from people who put their hands into their pockets and supplied the equipment.”
But Ray Chesters, of the Mold Community Hospital League of Friends, said an increase in demand was needed before the service could be offered full time.
Speaking after the concerns were raised at the social and health care overview and scrutiny committee, Mr Chesters said: “It’s a question of slowly, slowly, catchy monkey.
“The unit had to be closed down for a couple of months while the new machine was installed and people had to travel elsewhere, and only now are they starting to build up a backlog again [in Mold].”
He said demand for the service would have to be built up over the coming months before they could justify the need for a full time service at the hospital.
At the committee meeting, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) bosses said they were looking at the demand and considering if and when they could provide more time slots using the new machine. They stopped short of giving a time frame for extending the service.
Following more than a year of relentless fundraising, an X-ray machine was installed at the hospital after campaigners raised more than £120,000.
The fundraising drive came after a healthcare review in 2012 in which Mold Community Hospital was picked out as one of the possible sites to be downgraded.
Like others within the BCUHB area, Mold’s Minor Injuries Unit and the X-ray facilities were earmarked for removal.
The decision caused anger and protest and the League of Friends pledged to raise enough money for the machine, which has played a major part in retaining health services for the town.
The health board’s decision to reverse the downgrading of Mold Hospital was conditional on funds being raised for the X-ray machine.
Buckley councillor Carol Ellis said fewer patients would have to go to Glan Clwyd Hospital if more X-rays were offered in Mold.
“It doesn’t make a lot of sense that they’re going to Bodelwyddan. The X-ray machine is there and staff are being directed to two different hospitals – think of the poor patients,” she said.
The machine, which in the end cost £91,080, was installed in March.
A spokesman for BCUHB said: “As part of the Healthcare in North Wales is Changing Consultation, it was agreed in January 2013 that the X-ray operating hours at Mold Community Hospital would be 22.5 hours. The radiology department worked with other departments to agree new opening times to best meet the needs of patients locally.
“There is an X-ray service each day, Monday to Friday at the hospital at various hours.”