WORK could start on a new health centre next month after a £5 million funding boost was announced.
Welsh Government health minister Mark Drakeford announced the multi-million pound investment for the new centre in Llangollen, which will provide health and social care services.
Work on the site of the former River Lodge hotel is expected to begin next month, with completion due by June 2015.
Patients will have access to services including pain management, community-based heart failure services and diabetic retinopathy. Community mental health and social services teams will also be based at the new centre.
Prof Drakeford said: “The new primary care centre will provide an expanded and enhanced service for the people of Llangollen. It will bring a number of services together in one place and will be a base for social services.
“Importantly, it will also support the development of an enhanced care at home service, helping more people to be cared for at home and avoiding unnecessary admissions to hospital.
“This is an exciting development for Llangollen and will mean more services available on the community’s doorstep. It will result in an enhanced local health service and I look forward to seeing the start of work on the centre.
“This scheme, and investment by the Welsh Government, demonstrates our determination to deliver on the pledges made as part of the process of changing healthcare in North Wales.”
Dr Peter Higson, chairman of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “We are delighted this important scheme has been given the green light. Our plans for Llangollen will increase the range of services we can offer in the town, and provide a base for our teams who are delivering more and more care to patients in their own homes.
“The extra space and improved facilities will enhance the experience of patients attending the new health centre.”
The site has been at the heart of controversy. Proposals were in place for the site to be used as a centre for tourism and the community, involving the hotel being leased back to the Powys Fadog social group to run it as a martial arts and cultural centre.
The building was bought, at a cost of £1.6 million, by the Welsh Government with this intention in 2007. After long delays, the project was eventually dropped and the Welsh Government was accused of wasting money.