North East Wales

Denbigh hospital beds closed after fire safety review

Community Hospital, Denbigh Image copyright Google
Image caption The beds have been closed on a ward at Denbigh Community Hospital

Ten beds at a Denbighshire hospital have been closed following a fire safety review carried out in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Betsi Cadwaladr health board has closed the beds on Lleweni Ward at Denbigh Community Hospital.

The review found the first-floor ward was the only one supported by wooden joists in the health board's estate.

Chief executive Gary Doherty said there were plans to open five beds at other sites.

Over 70 people died when fire engulfed Grenfell Tower, a west London residential tower block, in the early hours in June.

It has prompted fire safety reviews of buildings across the country.

The findings of the health board review and the closure of the beds was confirmed in a letter to Plaid Cymru's north Wales AM, Llyr Gruffydd.

The first floor houses 17 beds above the kitchen, outpatients and X-ray departments.

In the letter, Mr Doherty said the remaining seven beds on the ward would be "subject to a policy of patient selection".

This means only patients classified as "mobile" will be housed there "in order to reduce the time required to safely evacuate patients".

Image caption The health board has closed the 10 beds on Lleweni Ward, which are above the kitchen area

Mr Doherty said it was a "challenging time of year" but that the health board was planning to increase capacity in other community hospitals.

He added that improvement work to fire panelling and fire zoning at the hospital would be completed by the end of December.

In response, Mr Gruffydd said: "I'm glad that the health board is responding to the issues raised by the Grenfell disaster and putting patient safety first in Denbigh Community Hospital.

"But I do have concerns about the loss of 10 beds at a time when every bed in the community is important."

Denbigh county councillor Rhys Thomas said: "I hope that the health board has considered all other options such as relocating day services to the ward in question and putting the 10 beds in another part of the hospital."

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