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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Health Minister urged to take swift action over hospital

The chair of a community group has demanded an early response from Health Minister Lesley Griffiths to plans for the closure of Llangollen Cottage Hospital. 

Mike Edwards, who heads Keep Llangollen Special (KLS), recently wrote to Ms Griffiths urging her to call in proposals by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) to axe the 137-year-old hospital as part of a general health shake-up in the region. 
* Lesley Griffiths AM.
But he was angry to receive an email from an official informing it could take up to 17 working days for the Minister to reply. 

Earlier today (Tuesday) he fired off a furious reply to Cardiff, in which he says: “Seventeen working days is totally unacceptable mainly because I've been to Llangollen Hospital this morning and was told by staff that the hospital will be closed by the end of this month ie. 16 days time. 

“This matter therefore needs the Minister's urgent attention because BCUHB have and are implementing their proposals and little or no information is being provided to patients as to when the changes take place - I wonder why? 

“The Health Board are running circles around and disrespecting the Minister and of course the patients.”
In his original letter to Ms Griffiths, Mr Edwards said: “I would appeal to you to intervene in the decision taken by BCUHB to close Llangollen Hospital which has served the community well and to which residents have contributed to funding over many years.
 
“The Board's decision which has ignored residents’ objections who are dismayed that the community hospital should be closed without adequate replacement of services in place. This concern is exasperated, by them finding out that a Notice has been posted at Chirk Hospital withdrawing " Minor Injuries Treatment" from the 18th February, 2013. This will mean residents being forced to travel to and back to Wrexham Maelor Hospital a distance of some 14 miles. How do patients who have no personal transport cope reaching this destination?
 
“These changes breach your Government's policies on sustainability in that they increase vehicle journeys and force people to travel a distance such as this with a consequent sever detrimental effect on the environment in an Area of Outstanding National Beauty.
 
“Please investigate the Hospital Board's decision and "call the proposals in."

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