* People in Llangollen at a public meeting last Monday held
to protect local health service.
"THE lack of a guarantee of funding for the £70 million needed to build or revamp five community hospitals could leave thousands of patients in “limbo”.
That claim was made by North Wales AM Llyr Gruffydd who hit out at health chiefs for failing to get an assurance the Welsh Government will stump up cash to build a new £21m hospital on the site of Rhyl’s Royal Alexandra; £40m to overhaul Llandudno; £5.5m for a site at River Lodge to replace Llangollen and £4m to upgrade Holywell.
The Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has put forward these projects as part of a consultation to overhaul the way health care is delivered. It is “confident” it will get the money from the Welsh Government’s capital building programme.
But the Plaid Cymru AM questions that assumption.
“The proposal to downgrade and close community hospitals across the North involves building new health facilities. But it is becoming apparent that, in some cases, this will take years to achieve, in the meantime, people needing localised care would be left high and dry.
“The capital to build new health facilities would come from the Welsh Government, which is facing drastic cuts in the block grant from central government. Does Betsi Cadwaladr have an assurance the money it needs is available? We need a guarantee Llangollen and other communities will not be left in limbo with no hospital and no health centre.”
Mr Gruffydd said the board’s proposal to place patients in private nursing homes “doesn’t really hold water”.
“Even as an interim move this won’t work because the capacity isn’t there locally,” he said.
The consultation, which ends on October 28, was revealing “many unanswered questions” on this and proposed cuts and downgrading of local hospitals such as Blaenau Ffestiniog, Ruthin and Chirk.
A health board spokeswoman said, as it was unable to “pre-determine the outcome of the public consultation”, it had not entered into detailed discussions with local nursing homes regarding placements should Llangollen Hospital close.
“However, if the scheme goes ahead, we will be in a position to utilise inpatient beds at Chirk Hospital, and as an interim measure, look at transferring the vast majority of services to the current health centre.
“Following the consultation each approved project will require a business case for funding from the All Wales Capital Programme: we are confident funding will be made available.
“The health board has already submitted a business case to Welsh Government for £5.7million to move primary care and the health clinic into Tywyn Hospital, Gwynedd: we are awaiting their response.”