Llan councillors will not be taking part in any public meeting to hear about the shake-up of local services being proposed by health chiefs.
Instead they have decided to join members of the public at one of three briefing sessions on the proposals being held by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board at the Town Hall on September 26.
Members of the Llangollen Protest group, who are campaigning against the planned closure of the Cottage Hospital as part of the overall plan for service changes, staged their own well-attended public meeting at the Hand Hotel a few weeks ago.
The majority of those present voted in favour of a local referendum being held on the closure plan and a formal request on this has now gone in to Denbighshire County Council. It has just less than two weeks to decide if the poll will be allowed.
There have been accusations from Llangollen Protest that the town council refused to hold its own public meeting.
But when the issue came up for discussion at the monthly Llan Town Council meeting on Tuesday evening, town clerk J Gareth Thomas said: “We did not say we would not hold a meeting, we just pointed out the legal facts of the legislation.”
The mayor, Cllr Jon Haddy, said the health board’s intention in Llangollen was to create a new health and primary care centre.
This, he said, would hopefully encompass all the services currently available at the Cottage Hospital in one building.
The proposed site for the new centre, he explained, was that of the derelict River Lodge, or Woodlands, and he understood negotiations were going on over this between the health board and the site’s owners, the Welsh Government.
Cllr Haddy added that the health board had said it intended to maintain the current level of services in the town with the exception of in-patient beds, which it proposed to cover by what he described as a “sort of beefed-up district nurse service”.
The mayor said he had deliberately not attended the public meeting at the Hand because he believed the referendum element of it was “inappropriate”.
However, he added that as the meeting had now “pre-empted the need to hold at town meeting” it was now up to councillors to consider how they should become involved in the official public consultation exercise on the proposals for change, which began on August 21 and runs until October 28.
He suggested that as the board was holding three briefing sessions on the proposals on Wednesday, September 26 – at 2, 4 and 6pm – all councillors should attended one of these.
“I feel it appropriate you should do this because you might as well get it from the horse’s mouth rather than supposition,” he said.
He went on: “We have to make sure the service we end up with is not worse than we had before,” adding: “there has been a lot of disinformation floating around.”
Members agreed with the proposition to have them attend the September 26 sessions which, they felt, would still give them time to report back to their October full council meeting.
· Martin Crumpton, leader of Llangollen Protest, is due to meet the producer and presenter of ITV’s Sharp End at 2pm today (Wednesday) for a filmed interview close to the Cottage Hospital.
To book a place at one of the September 26 sessions, call Freephone 0800 678 5297.
More information and the Consultation document is available:
· online at www.bcuhbjointhedebate.wales.nhs.uk
· by emailing email@example.com
· by calling Freephone 0800 678 5297.
A large print version or other formats or languages are available on request from Freephone 0800 678 5297 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also give your comments to the Community Health Council, your independent NHS Watchdog. You can give your views in confidence at email@example.com or by telephone on 01248 679284.