Betsi Cadwaladr to shut minor injury units in two weeks

Flint protesters
Image caption A number of protests have already taken place against the reorganisation

Health managers have denied claims they are rushing through controversial changes in services in north Wales.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said some minor injury units will close within two weeks but added a reliable service has not been offered for months because of staffing difficulties.

Some campaigners voiced their fury about the plans.

Meanwhile, Denbighshire council have postponed a no confidence vote in the health board.

Last month the health board announced community hospitals at Blaenau Ffestiniog, Flint, Llangollen and Prestatyn would see services switched to 10 other locations.

The board also said it would move specialist intensive care for babies to England.

'Reliable service'

And on Tuesday, however, the board confirmed the minor injury units at Llangollen, Chirk, Flint, Ruthin, Colwyn Bay and Blaenau Ffestiniog will close within the next two weeks.

The services will be consolidated in a seven day per week service in the hospital hubs with support from services at Bryn Beryl and Tywyn Hospitals.

"Staffing difficulties mean that we have not been able to offer a reliable service for many months, with units periodically having to close on a temporary basis," it said in a statement.

"We want to ensure that we are able to deliver a dependable service that patients can be sure they can rely on seven days per week.

"At this stage we are not closing any hospital beds or transferring any current inpatients to other hospitals.

'Shabby manoeuvres'

"We are suspending admissions to these hospitals so that, if agreement is reached with the community health council that the closures should proceed, we save as many patients as possible from the disruption of a transfer to an alternative hospital."

But a spokesman for the Save Flint Hospital Campaign said it was the "latest in a long line of shabby manoeuvres" by the board.

"Much has been said about the need to change in recent week, however there is one thing that has not changed - and that is the health board's arrogance and disconnect from the people that they should serve."

Postponing its no confidence vote, Denbighshire council said it would seek an urgent meeting with health board management this week

It said it was concerned about plans to close facilities without guarantees of funding for replacements, transport for patients who will have to travel further for care and funding for services which transferring to social services.

Sparked protests

Conwy council also postponed its no confidence vote last week but will now take place on 21 February following a meeting between the two sides.

First Minister Carwyn Jones has warned health services will "collapse" without hospital reorganisation.

He told BBC Wales' Sunday Politics programme that changes to the NHS in Wales were necessary but the government would look at proposals in detail if they are referred by CHCs.

Wales' seven health boards are in the process of finalising reorganisation plans, many of which have sparked protests by opponents.

A cross-party group of assembly members, including a Labour AM, have also called for Health Minister Lesley Griffiths to intervene.

The plans could be referred to ministers by the local patient watchdog, the community health council, which has still to make a decision.

Plaid Cymru AM, Llyr Huws Griffiths, accused health managers of "ploughing on regardless" with the proposals.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites