Campaigners anger at lack of beds in planned Llangollen health unit


Thomas Morton

A CAMPAIGN group says plans for a new £5.5m health centre lacks one key element – hospital beds.

Plans for a new Llangollen health centre combining GP, clinic and outpatient services were revealed last week.

But while welcoming the centre, campaigners say it does not replace the hospital beds lost with the controversial closure of Llangollen Community Hospital in March.

The hospital closed as part of a shake-up of services by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB).

Keep Llangollen Health Services spokesman Mabon ap Gwynfor said: “The site under consideration is difficult to access for pedestrians from the town centre, especially for people with pushchairs, the elderly and disabled, precisely the people who need to use a health centre.

“It also lacks the one key element, which is hospital beds, which as we know is needed for this area”.

The plans for the former River Lodge site on the A539 to Trevor, were presented at Llangollen Town Hall last week.

Services to be housed there include a pharmacy, a dentist, mental health and social services, community nursing and midwifery, outpatient clinics and therapeutic units.

Once built, it will replace the current health centre on Regent Street. But Mr Gwynfor added: “It’s been nearly five months since they closed the hospital.

“Before closing they promised all sorts of things including a home enhanced care scheme and beds at local care homes, none of which have materialised.

“It’s not surprising local people are sceptical about other promises being made by the health board.”

A spokesman for BCUHB said there were few sites large enough in Llangollen to accommodate the new centre.

“The River Lodge site is within half a mile of the town centre, on a bus route and will provide ample space for car parking.

“This addresses one of the major limitations of the town’s current health centre and will make life significantly easier for people of limited mobility. Pedestrian access between the site and the town centre will also be reviewed, in conjunction with the county council, as part of the planning application process,” he said.

“The needs of many patients who were previously admitted to Llangollen Hospital will be met through the new enhanced care at home service which will start in the next few weeks.

“We are working hard with social services partners to develop the service and have recruited the community nurses and health and social care generic workers who are now undergoing training.

“We have also been in contact with all local GP practices who will be working with the new community staff to care for patients in their own homes who previously would have had to be admitted to hospital.

“Those patients from the area who still require an inpatient bed in a community hospital now receive this care in Chirk Community Hospital,” he added.

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