AN ACUTE hospital is set to close next year in a bid to save £2.5 million in repair work needed.
The HM Stanley Hospital in St Asaph will shut its doors in March 2011 and stroke and eye services will be transferred to other areas after it was declared 'no longer fit for purpose.'
The shake up comes as part of the 2007 secondary care review called Designed for North Wales which called for urgent improvements to many of the 1980s buildings.
The review said changes to HM Stanley would bring 'overall improvement of services in North Wales based on clinical safety and standards.'
It said the hospital site had £2.5 million backlog maintenance requirements to restore it to a ‘fit for purpose’ condition and functional suitability.
This includes work on the electrical systems, heating, structural repairs and theatre replacement.
It recommended the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, which is responsible for the operation of HM Stanley, transferred all its services at the site. The plans were agreed at the health board’s five year plan meeting.
Staff were told last Wednesday about the closures but the health board said no jobs will be axed.
Although the secondary care review recommended the ophthalmology services from HM Stanley be transferred to Glan Clwyd and the stroke rehabilitation elsewhere, the health board said this has not yet been decided and possible locations will form part of the work still to be done.
A spokeswoman for the health board said: "The Secondary Care Review Designed for North Wales undertaken in 2007 recommended that HM Stanley hospital was no longer fit for purpose and that services should be transferred.
"We are now spending a significant amount of money on keeping very poor quality buildings going.
“As part of the five-year plan, that was agreed by the board, it has been confirmed these plans should be put into action, and we have set a target date of March 2011 for vacating the site.
"The clinical services currently provided at HM Stanley are Ophthalmology, Stroke Services (20 Inpatient beds), and some outpatient services. These services will be reprovided in more efficient and effective facilities.
"We will also be working with other users of the site St Kentigern Hospice and the Wales Ambulance Service to ensure that their services are maintained.
"There is no risk to jobs as a result of this project."
St Asaph county councillor Bill Cowie said: "Although the plans have been on the cards for a while this announcement has come out of the blue.
"It's very sad because its been an absolutely wonderful facility in St Asaph but the building for a while now has not been fit for purpose, allowing rain water in when there's heavy downpour."
He added that it would be good for St Asaph if the hospital building could be turned into offices.
See full story in the Free Press