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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Llan campaigners join regional health fight

Campaigners from Llangollen joined their counterparts from across North Wales last night (Monday) to oppose plans to downgrade and centralise health services across the region.

Groups representing campaigns in the town along with those from Blaenau Ffestiniog, Flint, Prestatyn and Llandudno were present at the emergency meeting in St Asaph at which they came up with the idea of launching a legal challenge to plans for a major shake-up of the NHS in the region.
This includes the closure of Llangollen Cottage Hospital. 
They joined forces to call themselves the North Wales Health Alliance and issued the following statement: "We have come together because there is strength in unity.

"We are considering a legal challenge to the entire process. The advice we have received suggests Betsi Cadwaladr health board is vulnerable to a challenge."

The meeting, attended by more than 30 activists including county councillors, unanimously backed a vote of no confidence in Betsi Cadwaladr's health board for failing to consult adequately over community hospital closures and proposals to move neonatal intensive care to Arrowe Park on the Wirral.

The statement added: "We understand the Community Health Council executive board is meeting on Wednesday. We have had a good engagement with some local CHC representatives but have reservations about the executive board. We hope that the executive will start to represent the community's views."

In view of the possibility of a Judicial Review, the newly formed alliance also called on Health Minister Lesley Griffiths to immediately halt what they described as "the closure by stealth" of community facilities across the north "without adequate replacements".

Mabon ap Gwynfor, of the Keep Llangollen Health Services Campaign and now chairman of the newly formed North Wales Health Alliance, representing campaign groups from across north Wales, said: “The clear message from last night’s meeting is that we are not alone, we are part of a pan north Wales campaign with tens of thousands of people on our side.

“Some people in and around Llangollen may have given up the fight because the Health Board have started to move services away before the process has even finished. But the fight is far from over. We have been treated with complete contempt and the process is flawed. We believe that the Health board is vulnerable to a legal challenge.
“We decided to look at various options including seeking legal advice. We are also calling on the Health Minister Lesley Griffiths to step in urgently to stop the closure by stealth that we are seeing carried out by the Health Board.
“This is no longer just a fight for Llangollen but a fight for our health services across north Wales, including Llangollen and the negative knock on affect that the closure will have on our friends and families across the region. If we are to go down the route of a Judicial Review we will be looking for financial contributions. All assistance would be gratefully accepted.
“If you want to join the campaign contact us or phone me on 07811358407.

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