North Wales hospital closures to spark protests


Lois Hough

A CONTROVERSIAL shake-up of health services in North Wales has prompted a wave of concern.

The plan to overhaul hospitals was revealed at a meeting of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB), which is under pressure to make savings of
£64.6 million in this financial year.

As the Leader reported on Friday, in Flintshire, Flint Community Hospital looks set to be axed and replaced with a Primary Care Resource Centre, while Mold Community Hospital could lose its Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) and X-ray service.

In Wrexham, Llangollen Community Hospital is also facing the axe, as is the MIU at Chirk Community Hospital.

The Special Care Baby Unit at Wrexham Maelor will be saved, but a neo-natal intensive care unit could be set up at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral – which could mean axing the facility in Wrexham.

Health chiefs are proposing to create ‘hospital hubs’ at Holywell Community Hospital, Deeside Community Hospital and Wrexham Maelor, where extended hospital services, such as MIU and X-ray will be provided.

Flintshire Council leader Aaron Shotton is seeking “urgent discussions” with BCUHB.

Cllr Shotton said: “Flintshire residents will no doubt be deeply concerned at the potential loss of beds and health services across our county.

“With an increasingly ageing population, there is an overwhelming need to ensure that adequate bed space is available to those residents in need of round the clock health care, in an appropriate hospital setting.

“The fear arising from these proposals is the possible shift of responsibility onto the council’s social services department, the financial implications on our council could be significant.”

Delyn MP David Hanson said he was “extremely disappointed” at proposals affecting Flint and Mold.

He said: “The proposal to consult over the closure of Flint hospital, which provides the town with a very valuable service and the minor injuries unit in Mold will be a cause of deep concern for local people.

“I would urge residents to engage with the forthcoming consultation and make their views known.”

Brian and Nicola Valentine, of Shotton, whose son Dylan, now three, spent four weeks in Wrexham’s neo-natal intensive baby care unit, say they are “devastated” by plans to move the unit to the Wirral.

Their five-month-old son Haydn also spent two weeks in the unit after he was born six weeks early.

Brian, 37, said: “The commute to Wirral is long and expensive and I don’t envy the parents who will have to do it.

“It was a struggle for us just travelling from Shotton to Wrexham five times a week.”

On the closure of Llangollen Community Hospital, Denbigh councillor Raymond
Bartey said: “People must send in their objections to Betsi Cadwaladr.

“It’s no use crying over spilt milk afterwards, the time to air your views is now.”

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