North East Wales

Flint hospital beds poll wins huge backing

Voters queue at the Flint hospital beds referendum
Image caption People queuing to cast their vote in the Flint referendum on Thursday

A referendum on whether NHS hospital beds should be returned to a Flintshire town has been won by an overwhelmingly majority.

Almost 3,500 people agreed inpatient beds should be reinstated at Flint, where the community hospital was shut last year.

On a 37% turnout, 17 people disagreed with the idea and six were undecided.

Health officials do not have to act on the outcome, but campaigners hope it will force a rethink.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) closed the hospital, which also had a minor injuries unit, despite protests.

It said its £5m plans for purpose-built health centre in the town is designed to ensure "that care is local, tailored to individual patients needs, and meets clinical standards - now and for the future".

'Pitiful'

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Media captionCampaigner Mike Evans said he was still hopeful of a change of heart

Mike Evans, chair of the Flint Hospital campaign group, said the 99.3% referendum majority meant the health board had got it wrong and officials would be "morally wrong" to ignore the outcome.

He said: "What happened was a bad decision, it's actually costing them more to deliver the services than it did previously.

"What's happened, especially for older people, is that they've been pushed into the district general hospital which is 30 miles away.

"It's the wrong place for that sort of service to be delivered and it's pitiful to see our old people isolated at that hospital, it's the wrong place for them."

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