READERS have had their say on the 'disgusting' news that the Countess of Chester Hospital (CoCH) will no longer take non-emergency Flintshire patients.

The hospital's Trust has said it will no longer take in patients living in Wales except for emergencies and maternity cases.

The change has been brought in with immediate effect and has been introduced because of a long-running financial dispute with the Welsh Government.

The decision has angered Welsh Government Helath Minister Vaughan Gething who said: "The action taken is unacceptable and not in line with the statement of values and principles agreed between the NHS in Wales and NHS in England that we will act in the best interest of patients at all times.

"Residents in Flintshire have a long history and relationship with the hospital.

"Funding from treating patients from Wales has always been and continues to be essential to the viability of CoCH.

Evan Moore, medical director at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “The chief executive officer of the Countess of Chester Hospital has written to us to advise that they will be unable to accept any elective referrals (planned care) in any speciality for Welsh patients until further notice.

“This decision does not affect non-elective patients, for example, those attending A&E.

“All cancer patients and urgent elective patients already referred to the COCH and on their waiting list will be treated by them in line with normal protocols.

“Any current or new maternity patients will not be affected and can continue to have their baby at COCH."

The Leader took to the streets of Connah's Quay to get reaction to the news from residents.

Craig Robinson, who works as an aircraft fitter on the A320 wings at Airbus said: “They (Countess of Chester) did me a big favour years ago but it doesn’t really bother me now because the waiting times in Chester are too long.

“If you have an emergency you go to the Maelor in Wrexham because you’ll be seen more quickly.”

Mark Richards, from Connah’s Quay, said: “I think it’s disgusting really, but not unexpected as the Welsh NHS is in such a mess anyway.

“It took me three weeks just to get a doctors’ appointment for a skin cancer check-up.

"Then I was told it would be five weeks for another appointment but I’ve been waiting two months.

"The Welsh NHS has been put in the hands of the Welsh Government and it’s gone wrong."

Graham Hinds, from Connah’s Quay, said: “It’s not good. I have been there (Countess of Chester) twice to have my eyes tested and I don’t know whether I'll be going back there.

"My main concerns is the uncertainty and a potential lack of continuation in my point of view.

"They have my records and that’s fine if their records can be transferred to another hospital I'm not overly fussed.

"If it is a financial problem they need to get themselves sorted out.”

Fellow Connah's Quay resident Anne Evans had to use the A&E over the weekend following an accident at home.

She said: “I broke my wrist falling over the cat of all things.

“I thought with all the problems going on in Chester I would go straight to A&E in Wrexham.

“I got their for 12.20pm and was seen pretty soon by the triage nurse. I had an X-ray and I was treated around 4.15pm.

“I was there for six hours all told but that was fine."