A health board has launched a public consultation exercise into a shake up of healthcare services in North Wales.
Members of the public are being invited to have their say on controversial proposals announced by the Betsi Cadwaldr University Health Board at a special meeting in St Asaph last month, with the board required to make a £64.6m saving during the current financial year.
Whilst Wrexham Maelor Hospital’s special baby care unit appears to have been saved, neo-natal intensive care would move to Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral.
North Wales Assembly Member Llyr Gruffydd argued that the move would increase dangers for newborn children rather than reduce it.
Other proposals that will affect local healthcare include the decision to shut Llangollen Community Hospital completely and to close the Minor Injuries Unit at Chirk Community Hospital.
Wrexham Maelor would become a “hospital hub” offering extended services e.g. MIU and X-ray.
Betsi Cadwaldr launched the 10 week consultation yesterday with the release of a document titled “Healthcare in North Wales is Changing“.
Chief Executive Mary Burrows said: “The Health Board is clear that we cannot afford to stand still. The status quo is not an option. The proposals we are now making are intended to change the way in which services are provided and where they are provided to meet quality standards.
“Our aim is to improve health, not just extend life. We believe that services should be close to where people live whenever it is safe and appropriate. When more specialist care is needed, hospitals must be centres of excellence so the best possible care is available when needed and from the right people.
“The proposals will allow us to attract and retain the professional clinical staff we need and control our costs when public finances are decreasing.”
The consultation exercise runs until 28th October and the board will also take account of the views of the Community Health Council and any views they have heard. Any changes approved will start in early 2013 with the aim of finishing the changes by 2015.
Have your say
To make your views known you can contact the Community Health Council by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 01248 679284.
Betsi Cadwaldr will also be holding a series of public meetings during the consultation period offering an opportunity for you to join the debate in person. To book a place please call 0800 678 5297.
Sessions are scheduled to start at 2pm, 4pm and at 6pm to give more people chance to get involved. Dates and times of meetings in Wrexham can be seen below:
Wednesday 12 September – Chirk – Parish Hall
Wednesday 26 September – Llangollen – Town Hall
Monday 1 October – Wrexham- Catrin Finch Centre, Glyndŵr University