CAMPAIGNERS have called for assurances that major changes at the top of the health board will not see investment in new surgeries sidelined.

Clwyd South MS Ken Skates has written to Dr Gill Harris, interim chief executive of under-pressure Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB), to ensure that plans for a new health centre in Cefn Mawr and GP surgery in Hanmer will not ‘drop off the radar’.

It comes following the decision to place the health board back into special measures due to "serious concerns about performance, leadership and culture".

The board at Betsi also stepped aside following the decision from the Health Minister, who is also under pressure from Welsh Conservatives. 

Mr Skates said: “These are massively important campaigns for their communities, and we cannot afford for them to drop off the radar because of the situation at Betsi Cadwaladr. These facilities have been needed for a long, long time and over the past few years a lot of hard work has gone into getting the plans to the stages they’re at now.”

Mr Skates launched the campaign for a new health centre in Cefn Mawr in 2015 with county councillor Derek Wright and the late Ken Bathers, the former chair of Cefn Community Council.

The Leader: Ken Skates.Ken Skates.

Cllr Wright said: “I feel like we’ve done about as much as we can now, and we need that commitment from the health board that they want it to happen as much as we do. We’ve petitioned them, we’ve found sites and we’ve negotiated with the community council over land use. Also, we remind BCUHB that they are in the process of a £150,000 feasibility study for Cefn which started several months ago and which should not be affected.”

Cllr Wright and Mr Skates are due to meet with BCUHB for an update on the plans for Cefn.


Cllr Wright added: “Ken and I have put in a lot of effort to this over the years, and we’ve suffered setbacks and false dawns along the way. We remain determined to help deliver this health centre for Cefn. Caritas Surgery is falling apart, and the staff and patients deserve better.”

Mr Skates praised Cllr Wright’s ‘dogged’ campaigning and also paid tribute to the Hanmer Surgery Patient Action Group (HSPAG), which is supporting GP Dr Kieran Redman’s plans for a new facility.

“I will continue to support Dr Redman and HSPAG as best I can,” said Mr Skates. “The dedication of the patients involved in the campaign should be applauded – and ultimately rewarded.”

He added: “Like every health board in Britain, BCUHB is facing a number of challenges at the moment and there are no easy solutions. However, we do need assurances that these long-awaited projects will not be sidelined as a result – and I hope we will get them.”

Betsi Cadwaladr was approached for a comment.