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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Health chiefs to discuss big shake-up on January 18

* Issues surrounding Llangollen Cottage Hospital will be discussed by the health board on January 18. 

Results of a test of public opinion are said to reveal that an “absolute majority” supports plans for new primary care centre in Llangollen.  

But there were said to be “divided opinions” on removing in-patient beds from the town’s closure-threatened Cottage Hospital. 

These results will be considered when the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) discusses a major shake-up in health services across north east Wales at a special meeting on January 18. 

News that, as part of the major changes it is proposing, the board intends to close the Cottage Hospital and replace it with a new health centre – possibly on the site of the derelict River Lodge off the A539 – and move its in-patient beds either into the community or to Chirk Hospital caused a storm of protest last summer. 

This led to the staging of two packed public meetings in the Hand Hotel.

Ahead of any decision being made, the health board carried out a comprehensive public consultation on its plans over the autumn.   

To allow board members to make up their minds on the entire change package, consultants have produced an exhaustive interpretation document. 

Running to 127 pages, this reveals that a total of 1,899 people across the region filled in an open questionnaire on various aspects of the package. 

A total of 683 people (14%) took part in a household survey on the issues involved. 

Denbighshire had the largest number of people in the region - 42% - taking part in the questionnaire, while 14% of people from the county took part in the household survey. 

In their interpretation document the consultants, Dale Hall and Kester Holmes, say that there was “absolute majority support” for primary care centre in Llangollen in the household survey and open questionnaire, while there were “divided opinions” on removing inpatient beds – 35% for and 29% against in the household survey.  

Full results were: 

Question: Do you agree or disagree that an extended primary care centre be developed in Llangollen? 

Household survey: 57% agree, 30% neither, 12% disagree

(38% of respondents answered this question) 

Open questionnaire: 52% agree, 24% neither, 23% disagree

(35% of respondents answered this question) 

Question: Community inpatient beds should be moved from Llangollen Community Hospital to local care homes or Chirk Community Hospital? 

Household survey: 35% agree, 35% neither, 29% disagree

(37% of respondents answered this question) 

Open questionnaire: 27% agree, 23% neither, 50% disagree

(35% of respondents answered this question)  

The consultation document also reports that a petition containing 1,240 signatures was sent into the board about Llangollen Cottage Hospital.
This called on the board to ‘draw up several alternatives for discussion’ rather than only status quo or closure.
A total of 89 people turned up at the three public consultation sessions held on the board’s proposals at Llangollen Town Hall in September and October, which was amongst the highest number recorded in the region.
Concerns were voiced over:
·       Transport

Distances to travel, the cost of transport and overall access

·       Transition

Current services would cease before new services in place

·       Remaining Llangollen service

Will they cope with future demand increases?

·       Funding

Is funding for the new service secure?
BCUHB chief executive Mary Burrows said: “We were very pleased and encouraged that so many people took the time and trouble to give their views.  

“The consultation feedback will be a significant element alongside other evidence that the board will consider on how best we can provide safe, effective services for the people of North Wales as a whole.” 

The board will consider the recommendations at a special meeting which will take place in the Optic Centre in St Asaph at 10am on Friday, January 18.  

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