A HEALTH board has rejected calls for hospital beds to be included in plans for a new health centre.
Last month the Free Press reported that Welsh Government Health Minister Mark Drakeford had announced a £5m funding boost for the facility to be built in Llangollen, based on the site of the former River Lodge hotel.
Mabon ap Gwynfor, of the Keep Llangollen Health Services campaign group, said while the investment was welcome, the centre should include hospital beds.
He said “They’ve (BCUHB) been dragging their feet for far too long. The hospital closed its doors a year and a half ago, and since then Llangollen and the Dee Valley has had to suffer a second class health service, with patients having to travel to Deeside or Mold for hospital beds.
“Of course a £5 million investment is to be welcomed, but this shouldn’t distract us from the fact that even with the new centre health services in the area will have been diminished.”
A spokesman for the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said the process is to enable more people to receive the health care they need at home.
“We recognise local people are keen to see the new primary care resource centre in Llangollen up-and-running and are delighted funding approval has been received from the Welsh Government .
“We expect this development will be completed in mid 2015, as proposed during the consultation on local health services.
“The development will provide a light, modern and spacious building to bring together a wide range of integrated services provided by the GP practice, the health board, Denbighshire Council social services and the voluntary sector, delivering as many services as close to patients’ homes as possible and with potential to expand in the future.
“The needs of many patients who were previously admitted to Llangollen Hospital will be met through the enhanced care at home service which has already started to support peo ple in the area.
“The patient’s GP practice will decide, with the patient and their family, whether they can be safely cared for at home with extra help from nurses, therapists, social workers and voluntary organisations.
“Being admitted to hospital is not always the best thing for patients unless hospital care is absolutely necessary. Caring for people in the familiar environment of their own home can help them to maintain their independence.
“Community hospital beds are however available in neighbouring hospitals for those who need them.”
Kathy Davies, of Llangollen, said: “I strongly agree that there is a need for hospital beds in Llangollen as there are many residents in Llangollen struggle to go to visit relatives in hospital especially when they are sent as far away as Deeside and also think there should be an accident and emergency unit here too, why should we have to travel all the way to Wrexham to be seen.”
Pat Jeffares, councillor for the nearby Llangollen Rural ward said: “Llangollen Hospital beds are a must, as it served my ward Llangollen rural for respite care down the years.
“It also reduced bed blocking at Wrexham hospital, which is now causing major problem at Wrexham hospital.”