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Saturday, July 21, 2012

AM gives his views on Llan Hospital closure proposal

Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates says “some misinformation” has been spread about what the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board plans to do with Llangollen Hospital.
In response to concern from llanblogger readers, we asked Mr Skates for his view on the closure proposal which was widely reported in the media on Thursday.
He replied: “I’m afraid there’s some misinformation being spread about what Betsi are planning.
“Essentially, they are looking at replacing the existing service with an enhanced service, using the former River Lodge Hotel site for a new health centre.
“It will be far larger and encompass more services than the current building.
“GPs in Llangollen have been engaged in this project for quite some time and it will utilise an existing site owned by the taxpayer.
“ Of course, decisions are subject to a consultation, which will last 10 weeks.”
Mr Skates has supplied us with a letter, dated July 19,  on the proposals he has  received from the Health Board’s chief executive, Mary Burrows, which we bring you below:

Dear Colleague,


The University Health Board has been working to improve patient safety in a number of

key service areas. This programme of work is called

Healthcare in North Wales is Changing

I know that as partners, many of you have made valuable contributions to the

debate and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your input and update you on

the next steps

The work has focussed on the following service areas:
Localities and Community services


Paediatric services


Maternity, Gynaecology and Neonatal services


Non-elective General Surgery


Trauma and Orthopaedics


Older People with Mental Health Needs


Vascular Services

Potential solutions have been developed by clinicians over many months.

They have now been considered by the Health Board at its meeting today (19

th July 2012).

Our Triple Aim is to:

Improve population health

Provide an excellent patient experience

Contain or reduce cost

Why is change needed?

We need to change because this triple aim is currently out of balance. There are stark

differences in the health and life expectancy between people living in the least and most

deprived areas of North Wales.
Working harder or spreading ourselves too thinly is not good enough. We have pockets of

good practice, but patient experience and outcomes vary, and we do not always meet

quality standards.

We face challenges of recruiting and retaining medical and other clinical staff resulting in

gaps and variation in service provision, with increasing costs because we rely upon

expensive temporary staff.

Proposals from the Welsh deanery will affect doctor training numbers and junior doctor

rotas will either have to be shared across sites or between specialties or both.

Issues that have been decided and will not be subject to consultation

We will develop services which will improve children’s health in the early years


We will help people stay fitter for longer


We will develop capacity in primary and community services, including developing

community services for older people with mental health needs, delivering more care

in, or close to home, thereby reducing reliance upon hospital care.

We will commission major trauma services for seriously injured patients from the

University Hospital of North Staffordshire in Stoke

We will continue to regionalise certain sub-specialities in accordance with accepted

professional standards such as specialist cancer services and some orthopaedic


There will be three main acute hospitals in North Wales (Ysybty Gwynedd, Ysbyty

Glan Clwyd and Wrexham Maelor Hospital) each with an Emergency Department, a

midwifery-led unit alongside a consultant-led obstetric service and paediatric

emergency and inpatient services, as well as non-elective general surgical and

trauma and orthopaedic services.

The Health Board recognises that there are risks in relation to the workforce, skills

and financial resources needed to deliver these services across the three sites and

will closely monitor the situation. Services will continue to evolve as they work

towards the sustainable delivery of quality standards.

Appropriate contingency arrangements will also be developed to ensure the safety

of patients and staff.

Matters that have not yet been decided and will be subject to consultation

1. Locality and community services
The role of the traditional community hospital will need to change. Some hospitals will be

developed as ‘hubs’ to deliver a wide range of services for a wider population. These

hospitals will be the base for urgent care such as GP out of hours and minor injuries

services. They will provide a range of other services such as x-ray and ultra sound,

therapies and inpatient beds

The location of these hospitals will be a matter for consultation and the following sites have

been proposed:

- Ysbyty Penrhos Stanley

- Ysbyty Gwynedd

- Ysbyty Alltwen

- Dolgellau Community Hospital

- Llandudno Hospital

- Ysbyty Glan Clwyd

- Denbigh Infirmary

- Holywell Community Hospital

- Deeside Community Hospital

- Wrexham Maelor Hospital

These hospitals will be supported by a network of more local community services and

premises, including other community hospitals. This will then have an impact on the range

of services offered by other community hospitals, such as Minor Injuries Units and X Ray.

In addition, there will be a range of specific proposals in:


– Changes to services provided from Ffestiniog Memorial Hospital. We will

work with Gwynedd Council to develop services within Blaenau Ffestiniog.

This will include refurbishment of the current hospital to provide enhanced community

services, health promotion, a base for community staff and potentially the expansion of

primary care services.

We are proposing that community hospital bed care and minor injuries services for the

local population would be provided from Ysbyty Alltwen.

North Denbighshire

–Replacement of services provided from the Royal Alexandra

Hospital, Rhyl, and Prestatyn Community Hospital. They will be replaced a new integrated

facility offering health, social and third sector care.

Central & South Denbighshire

–Replacement of services currently provided from

Llangollen Community Hospital. We will develop an extended primary care resource centre

with a wide range of facilities and integrated health, social and third sector care.

Community bed health care will be provided through the roll out of the enhanced care

service and through commissioning care home beds and the use of beds at Chirk hospital.

North West Flintshire

– Changes to services currently provided from Flint Hospital.

Further work will be undertaken jointly with Flintshire County Council on developing a

masterplan for the town. This will include a new facility to replace the current premises and

provide primary and community services. Community hospital bed care and minor injuries

services will be provided from Holywell.

Older People’s Mental Health

We propose to develop more community based services for older people with mental

health needs and reduce dependence on a hospital based institutionalised model of care.

There will need to be changes to our inpatient beds to enable this to happen.

We propose to provide a greater level of community support, together with providing

enhanced residential care in partnership with the local authority to support people within

the community in south Gwynedd; to do this we would propose confirming the closure of

the older people’s mental health units at Dolgellau (Uned Meirion) and Bryn Beryl (Uned


There are proposals to provide more community based support on Ynys Môn and this will

enable a reduction in the number of beds at Ysbyty Cefni.

There are proposals to replace the inpatient and day services provided at Glan Traeth,

Rhyl, using facilities at the Ablett unit at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd until a new facility in North

Denbighshire is developed.

Neonatal Services

Proposals to develop a single neonatal intensive care service for North Wales babies

which would be provided in the North West of England. This would be for the highest level

of care (needed by around 36 babies per year) and could be commissioned from Arrowe

Park Hospital on the Wirral. Special Care Baby Units will continue to be provided at the

main acute hospitals in North Wales.

Vascular Services

Emergency and major arterial surgery to be consolidated at one acute hospital in North


Next Steps

We have discussed our proposals with the Betsi Cadwaladr Community Health Council.

They have agreed that there is a need to hold a period of formal public consultation.

There will be many opportunities to get involved in the consultation process. Please join

the debate.

The formal period of consultation will commence on 20

th August for a period of 10 weeks.

Visit the BCUHB website:

The full board papers are available on the website:

Email your views to:



Write to us at:

Join the Debate

c/o Communications Unit

Ysbyty Gwynedd


LL57 2PW

Yours sincerely



1 comment:

  1. Ken Skates used to earn a living as a spin doctor for a Labour MP. No surprises there as he's still spinning! The key part of the letter from Mary Burrows states:
    Community bed health care will be provided through the roll out of the enhanced care service and through commissioning care home beds and the use of beds at Chirk hospital.

    This means that there will be no community beds available in Llangollen, even after the new health centre is built. They talk about using care homes - at additional cost to the NHS. I wonder who will vet the care homes for standards of care. Chirk is a long way to travel for community care if you don't have a car.

    So to claim the changes will mean an enhanced service is disingenuous to say the least.