Keep Llangollen Health Services campaigners have slammed Betsi Cadwaladr’s consultation process on closing Llangollen Hospital as “meaningless and designed to say what the Government and the board wants to hear”.
The consultation gathered thousands of responses from public meetings, petitions and questionnaires but it’s been criticised for favouring the findings of one group of questionnaires rather than another.
KHLS campaigners say open questionnaireresponses, which are far more hostile towards the planned closure of Llangollen Hospital, have been ignored.
Mabon ap Gwynfor, of KLHS said: “This consultation has been flawed from the start. We were given only one option – to close the existing community hospital and then wait for a new health centre to be built somewhere sometime in the future.
"People locally are rightly sceptical of these plans – a new health centre would cost more than £5 million and Betsi Cadwaladr health board admits it’s in financial trouble.
"The way the findings have been presented proves that the Government and their puppets at the health board have got what they wanted through this sham exercise to tick the boxes.
"Many of the questions were loaded and, where the opposing view is clear and concise, they choose to ignore it. This is very shoddy work.”
To support his claim, Mr ap Gwynfor noted that the survey states: “Significantly higher proportion of residents who live within 10 km of Llangollen Community Hospital disagree with proposal to move inpatient beds (74%).”
However, in its conclusions the report authors say: “Divided opinions on removing inpatient beds 35% for, 29% against (HS).”
Mr ap Gwynfor said: “They have based their conclusions on the household survey, of which there were no more than a dozen respondents, because the result suited their agenda.
"The Open Survey shows the polar opposite! So those dozen people carry more weight than the 1,200 people who signed our petition and the hundreds who sent representations in the post or on-line.
“The report cannot be trusted. They also say that there is an ‘Absolute majority support for primary care centre in Llangollen’ – of course there is!
"Who wouldn’t want to see local health services improved in Llangollen? That is why we formed our group because these proposals threaten to diminish health care in Llangollen.”
Mr ap Gwynfor said his group was also concerned about the way the report authors seemed to dismiss petitions out of hand.
The board will consider recommendations at a special meeting which will take place in the Optic Centre, St Asaph at 10am on Friday, January 18.
* The report can be found at http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sites3/docopen.cfm?orgid=836&id=204213.