Mynydd Isa residents voice fear of 'tumbleweed' effect


Owen Evans

FEARS have been raised that a large village could end up losing another vital service.

The chairman of Argoed Community Council has spoken of the frustration of residents in Mynydd Isa after the loss of the village’s post office and the potential closure of the doctors’ surgery.

Cllr Roy Marsh’s fears came after more than 50 letters objecting to plans to close Roseneath Medical Practice’s Mynydd Isa surgery were handed in to the council.

The Mercia Drive surgery is earmarked to be shut when Roseneath Medical Practice in Buckley is moved to new premises in 2015 as part of the new Buckley Health Centre development.

Cllr Marsh said that following the recent closure of Mynydd Isa Post Office and the Spar shop, there were worries of “tumbleweeds floating through Mynydd Isa”.

“A lot of people are obviously very concerned about this,” he said.

“It’s hard to say what effect this will have if it closes. A lot of elderly people use it but it is not just about the elderly. It is people who aren’t fit and can’t travel further or young mothers with babies.

“It’s been there for a long time and if it goes I think people will miss it.”

Earlier this year practice manager Mike Wallace said leaks in the roof and failing lights and electricity supplies were making treating patients at the Mercia Square clinic more difficult than it should be.

He had written to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) to formally request the surgery be closed.

The health board advised the request would not be considered until an “appropriate level of engagement” had been undertaken.

Cllr Marsh said he was still hopeful the surgery could continue to run – even if it was on a part-time basis.

He said: “We’ve got to hold on to the hope that we can keep it open. I would like to see it permanently kept.

“We have got to try to do something and that’s exactly what myself and the council are trying to do. Hopefully we will succeed.”

Cllr Marsh said coupled with the closure of the post office earlier this year, there was a sense of frustration in the community.

“We couldn’t do much about the post office with the Spar closing. We have been speaking to the Post Office quite a lot and trying to find a new location for it to be reopened.”

Flintshire Council member for Mynydd Isa, Cllr Hilary McGuill, said the surgery closure could end up costing taxpayers more.

She said: “If people can’t get to the surgery they’re going to have to call the doctor out to them or they are going to go to A&E and that is going to cost money.

“It will make it very difficult for the older people and we have got a large population that can sustain a surgery like this.

“There is a real sense of frustration. This could have a knock-on effect within the community and we wouldn’t want to see that.”

Cllr McGuill added she felt the reasons given for the planned closure were a “lame excuse”.

In a letter to patients, Mr Wallace previously listed a range of issues with regard to the building, including a lack of wheelchair access and IT support.

He said: “The reason for the proposal is there are long-standing problems associated with the operation of the branch surgery which is not equipped to the same level as the main surgery.

“There is no on-site IT support so problems take longer to resolve.”

He also said there was a lack of baby changing facilities.

A BCUHB spokesman said: “I can confirm the practice has submitted an initial application to close the branch facility.

“The practice has been advised that there is a formal process to be followed and before the health board can consider the application, the practice must engage with its patients.

“The practice has been advised to discuss the matter with North Wales Community Health Council (CHC) to get advice on the appropriate level of engagement for the proposed change.

“Once the engagement exercise has been undertaken, the health board will consider the application, taking into account the outcome of the engagement process, the views of the CHC and the evidence provided by the practice to support the application.”

See full story in the Leader

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