A FLINTSHIRE councillor has blasted the decision making of senior Betsi Cadwaladr officials and says greater importance needs to be placed on transport and accessibility.

Councillor Carolyn Thomas’ comments have come after a representative from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) claimed the process of transferring patients from Bromfield Medical Practice has “worked out very well.”

But Councillor Thomas, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for streetscene and countryside, voiced her dismay at those beliefs when they were made at a recent scrutiny meeting.

Rather, she believes that many patients have been left ‘stranded’ by the executive decisions to transfer them to practices with little to no public transport links.

At the scrutiny meeting, where BCUHB representatives attempted to defend themselves amid growing criticism of the region’s health board, east area director, Rob Smith, said: “The majority of the patients from Bromfield Medical Centre have been absorbed by the Buckley practice, and that has worked out very well.

“We have no plans to replace the practice in its old form as it was an independent GP operated at Bromfield, and we’ve had limited interest from new independent GP’s.”

The Leader:

However, following those comments, it was pointed out by Councillor Geoff Collect in the public gallery that Pentre Surgery in Mold took on around 600 patients.

Afterwards, Councillor Thomas said: “The (BCUHB) representative said that when the Bromfield Medical centre closed, the patients were absorbed by one other. However, as Cllr Collect said, that was not true as Pentre surgery in Mold took on 600 patients.

“I know that a resident from my ward in Treuddyn – who does not drive and has mobility issues - was asked to transfer to another surgery that was not accessible by public transport.

“Eventually he was permitted to go to another health facility in Mold which is accessible by bus transport.

“It is really important when making decisions that accessibility is considered wherever possible. Many people needing health appointments are elderly or unable to work, they do not drive because of health or affordability issues, and rely on a public bus service.

“Mold is a transport hub for the surrounding outlying villages totalling approximately 60,000 residents.

“It was raised as an important factor that had not been considered by health officials when we fought to keep Mold Community hospital open seven years ago and thank goodness it was left as a facility otherwise there would be further pressure on Wrexham Maelor.

“At the many community meetings I attend, public transport and access to health appointments is one of the biggest issues raised.”