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Monday, July 22, 2013

AM re-opens hospital closure argument

North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood is concerned that the Health Minister has overlooked “very serious reservations”  expressed by the North Wales Community Health Council regarding community hospital closures.  
 
The Labour Health Minister Mark Drakeford’s Written Statement to Assembly Members ‘Changes to Health Services in North Wales’ on 17 July failed to refer to the “very serious reservations” expressed by the North Wales Community Health Council about the transition and implementation plans in the communities affected by hospital closures and related service withdrawal - Flint, Llangollen, Prestatyn and Blaenau Ffestiniog.   
 
Concerned by the omission, Mr Isherwood has written to the Minister asking him to “detail the agreed transition and implementation plans in the communities affected by hospital closures and related service withdrawal.”
 
His letter states:  “In your Statement, you state that you are ‘very pleased to report that I have now received a joint letter from the CHC and Health Board which confirms agreement has been reached on the outstanding issues’. 
 
“You further state that the elements of the Health Board’s proposals which the CHC referred to the former Minister for Health and Social Services for determination on 4 March related to:  minor injury services in South Gwynedd;  the removal of X-Ray services from Tywyn Hospital and older people’s mental health service for people living in Gwynedd.
 
“However, specific reference is not made to other elements of the Health Board’s proposals referred to by the North Wales Community Health Council in their letter to the former Minister for Health and Social Services.
 
“This includes the statement that “The CHC has already confirmed that it will not be referring the changes to four of the nineteen community hospitals in North Wales to the Minister. However, the CHC’s letter also says that it has ‘very serious reservations’ about the transition and implementation plans for these community hospitals…….”.
 
“Serious concern about this remains in the communities affected by withdrawal of local services. If these are not addressed, it is of little comfort to them if “the CHC is now content, subject to the outcome of the agreed monitoring and review."

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