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Friday, August 24, 2012

Readers have their say on health issues


* The recent Hand public meeting is the subject of our second letter, below.

We have received two readers' letters on the subject of the future of health services in Llan, which we bring you here:

A Bird In The Hand?
 
I read, with considerable interest, both Ken Skates’ and Mike Edwards’ statements this morning. Mike, Chair of Keep Llangollen Special Community Group, made extremely valid points, which Mr Skates hasn’t addressed.
It is an established fact that Betsi Cadwaladr’s plan is to close our Cottage Hospital in 2013. It is true that this hospital has suffered underinvestment for years, and is barely fit for purpose because of this long-term neglect by Betsi Cadwaladr.
They have already suffered death by a thousand cuts and many previous attempts to close it. It is a tribute to the dedicated staff that they’ve kept on going regardless, and it’s about time their praises were sung.
It’s very enticing to say we want a 21st Century facility, but in what way will that differ from a 20th Century facility?
Nurses remain nurses, beds remain beds, so will the proposed new Health Centre be furnished with an MRI scanner, a path lab, or anything else currently only available at the Maelor and elsewhere?
Stating that we need the best” doesn’t mean it will be delivered. We need to read the specification for the new Health Centre, not vague promises.
The cold, clinical fact is that after the hospital closes in 2013, we only have politicians’ promises that there will be a replacement multi-million-pound health centre at the River Lodge. Perhaps I’ve grown cynical in my old age, but I’ve heard politicians’ promises all my life. Remember Labour’s manifesto pledge to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty?
Between 2013 and 2015, we will have no local hospital services at all. Mr Skates should be arguing on our behalf that the hospital must not close until the new facility his open, if it ever happens. If he did that, he wouldn’t be torn between his government’s policy and serving the community. I think we deserve to come first, and I’m sure he would agree with that statement.
As Mike made clear, Betsi Cadwaladr have several hurdles to jump: They must prepare a business case acceptable to the Welsh Government, have it approved, apply for Planning Permission and have that approved – far from easy – and then purchase the property. Everyone seems to be assuming that the Powys Fadog project is dead, but it isn’t – it’s something which would bring great benefit, including thirty jobs, and their fight is by no means over.
Come 2015, there’s every possibility that Betsi Cadwaladr may shelve their plans for a new Health Centre. The economy may have nosedived; they may decide that we’ve got along without local services very well and no longer deem it worthwhile.
I challenge Mr Skates to extract a binding contract with Betsi Cadwaladr to keep the hospital open until the proposed Health Centre is ready to receive patients. I challenge him to ensure we retain beds and the minor injury unit here.
Over to you, Mr Skates. Don’t let us down – and please respond to this.
 
Martin Crumpton, Llangollen Protest

PUBLIC MEETING OVER HOSPITAL CLOSURE PLAN
 
It was good meeting and everyone I spoke to said the same. There were 51 votes for a referendum and nobody opposed it – 7 abstained – So for once WE will be listened to and that would never have happened if we left it to the town council. Things like this are already budgeted for so if anybody complains about the cost tell them it’s our money and it’s well spent if it makes them listen to our views for once. Let’s hope it will become a habit or we’ll have to have more meetings like this. Everybody had a chance to speak and that’s how it should be. It’s called democracy and the majority said “Keep Our Hospital” If/when our Cottage/Community Hospital is closed, I want/need to know that it will NOT be closed prior to the new Health Centre OPENS and the opinions of the local residents will be listened to i.e. LLangollen WANTS TO KEEP BEDS in our community.
I would also like to point out that I held a copy of the Register of Electors at the meeting but as a local (born and bred here) I knew the majority of the people attending the meeting.
Jude Williams

* We welcome your letters on this or any other suspect of interest in Llan or wider.
All we ask is that you let us have your name for oublication.

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