THE fight to save Llangollen Cottage Hospital may be lost but the battle to retain high quality health services in the area has only just begun.
That is the message from members of a campaign group aiming to force the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB), which took the controversial decision to axe the hospital, to honour its commitment to provide a new purpose-built health centre in the town as quickly as possible.
Keep Llangollen Health Services is also planning to seek a judicial review of the process which led to the closure of the hospital after 137 years of serving the community.
The group needs hundreds of pounds to finance the legal challenge and is currently working on a number of fundraising ideas.
The hospital on Abbey Road closed its doors for the final time the weekend before last with all the services it had provided, including outpatient and dressing clinics, blood sampling and physiotherapy, being transferred to Llangollen Health Centre on nearby Regent Street.
But the campaigners doubt the already busy surgery’s long-term ability to cope with providing the extra services and want a firm commitment from BCUHB for a permanent replacement as it promised during last year’s closure consultation exercise.
Members of the group, which is affiliated to the campaign alliance set up recently to fight controversial health shake-up proposals across the region, met on Thursday night to discuss the next moves in their campaign.
These will include a public meeting at the Hand Hotel on Tuesday, March 26, when residents will be sounded out on precisely what health services they would like to see included in a new health centre.
Group spokesman Mabon Ap Gwynfor said: “The fight to prevent the closure of the hospital may have been lost but the message we want to get over as strongly as possible is that the battle to hold the health board to its promise to provide a new health centre has only just begun.
“Our main objective now is to get a new health centre in Llangollen as quickly as possible.
“These are vitally needed because there was always 98 per cent bed occupancy in the cottage hospital.
“We are also working towards a judicial review of the process leading to the closure of the hospital, which we believe was flawed.
“We are employing barrister but it will be expensive.
“We need at least £500 at this stage and we have, therefore, launched an appeal to raise as much money as we can.
“If anyone wishes to contribute I can supply further details if they email me at keepllanhealthservices @gmail.com.”