THE future of a hospital remains in the balance.

But town councillors have been assured there will be a “conversation” between them and health chiefs before any decision is taken about the future of Flint Community Hospital.

For several years councillors campaigned to prevent the closure of the hospital, which was proposed by the former Flintshire Local Health Board.

But they were given hope of a reprieve when that organisation was replaced by the new Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board last October.

Two senior members of the  board’s management accepted an invitation to brief town councillors on the situation at a meeting in Flint Town Hall on Monday.

Geoff Lang, director of primary care, community and mental health, said the board was currently implementing a new Welsh Assembly government strategy for the provision of health care across the country, which provided a fresh opportunity to look at the challenges in Flint.

He said: “We will be looking at how all health services are provided in the area so we can design a system that works for all the people of Flint.”

Cllr Ian Roberts, who played a key role in the campaign to fight the hospital closure plan, said: “To return to the situation which existed between this town and the previous health board would serve no purpose whatsoever.

“I support the integration of all types of healthcare but there has to be provision of an alternative service before any closure.”

He asked for assurances that there would be full consultation before any decision about the hospital was taken by the new board, as the consultation undertaken by the previous board had been “so badly flawed”.

He told the two officers: “I hope you listen to the people of Flint and try to find a solution..”

Mr Lang replied: “The need to build up community services is very important but it is a journey and there is no quick fix.

“We will have to see what we can do by working smarter.”

“It is about a conversation. We want to work with you as town councillors and the people of Flint to provide services of which you can be proud.”

Mr Lang said that although a definite timeline has not yet been worked out, the board would write to the council by the end of June at the latest to let members know where the process was up to.