Glan Clwyd Hospital operating theatre plans approved

Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in Bodelwyddan

Plans for a new £2.7m operating theatre at a north Wales hospital have moved a step closer.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board approved a business plan to make Glan Clwyd, in Denbighshire, the main centre for vascular surgery in north Wales.

But there are concerns Gwynedd patients could be put at risk if services are centralised in north east Wales.

The scheme was approved in principle in 2013 and the business plan will now be submitted to the Welsh government

It has the backing of the Vascular Society of Great Britain and Ireland.

The Royal College of Surgeons, which carried out a review of vascular surgical services across the region in 2015, said in calling for them to be retained at Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor, surgeons and consultants were putting their own rivalries ahead of patients' care.

The study found poor communications and on-call systems for emergency patients "not safe", with staff not knowing who to call in a crisis.

It warned if progress was not made it was possible the services could be merged into a larger network of hospitals in England and south Wales.

Image caption Vascular surgery would be centralised at Glan Clwyd hospital

But Arfon AM Sian Gwenllian argued last year that centralising the service would put vascular patients and others at risk.

"If the vascular service goes elsewhere the expertise goes with it, meaning a compromised service for north west Wales," she said.

About 300 complex vascular surgery operations are carried out in north Wales each year - about 20% of the total vascular procedures - and the remainder will continue to be carried out at the patient's nearest acute hospitals under the plans.

Evan Moore, the board's medical director, said: "Units such as these, which provide a hub for major vascular arterial operations, are being created across the UK and there is strong evidence that such sites improve clinical outcomes and patient safety, while attracting the best staff and helping to develop the best infrastructure."

The board is seeking funding from the all-Wales Capital Programme and there could also be a contribution from a health-related charity.

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