Posted: Mon 26th Feb 2024

Award-winning rural GP practice ‘deserves the very best of modern facilities’, says Plaid Cymru MS for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Monday, Feb 26th, 2024

A North Wales politician has called for a long-running dispute between an award-winning GP surgery and Betsi Cadwaladr health board to be settled once and for all.

Plaid Cymru’s Llyr Gruffydd MS made his comments after a meeting between BCUHB chair Dyfed Edwards at the Hanmer surgery, which is run by Dr Kieran Redman.

The current surgery, on Sandy Lane, is operating from an overcrowded and dilapidated building – with all parties agreeing that the building is not fit for purpose.

There has been a decade-long campaign by staff and patients for a new building that would be able to offer an expanded service for patients in Hanmer and surrounding rural area.

The meeting was facilitated by Llais, the patients’ voice, and Llyr Gruffydd said he hoped that the meeting would settle the long-running dispute.

“I first visited Dr Redman at the surgery back in 2020 and it’s incredibly frustrating for him, his staff and patients to see that – despite endless meetings, several plans and promises by a variety of health board managers, nothing has materialised,” said Mr Gruffydd.

“The latest offer by the health board was for a new GP surgery with a footprint of 298 square metres.

“This is totally inadequate to enable the practice to offer sufficient space for two doctors, training for students, private consultation rooms and adequate storage and staff facilities.

“The health board has been given several opportunities to meet these requirements and we should remember that Dr Redman and his staff have had to put up with inadequate and frankly outdated facilities for more than a decade as this dispute rumbled on.

“That was why I was so glad to be able to join this important meeting with the new chair of BCUHB, Dyfed Edwards.

“He has shown a new willingness to engage with communities that feel they are losing health facilities, something that’s felt very acutely in rural areas.

“We recently had a public meeting with him in Betws-y-Coed with a very positive outcome and I’m optimistic that, having seen the situation first hand, he will want to ensure that the good work being done in Hanmer can continue in a fit-for-purpose building.

“Such a building would enable the practice to take on students from the North Wales Medical School and ensure a new stream of GPs who can replace those who are looking to retire or reduce their hours.

“This is an exemplar practice that has won awards for its pioneering work in the past and it deserves the very best of modern facilities to enhance that work in the future.

“The health board has a new chief executive and I’m hoping that this fresh leadership team will see a new emphasis put on these important primary health services.”

Dr Kieran Redman, who has led the campaign for more than a decade, said: “We were delighted that Mr Edwards and Mr Gruffydd took the time to visit Hanmer Surgery to see for themselves the primitive conditions from which we provide a service to our patients. We are also indebted to Mr Ryall-Harvey and his colleagues at Llais for arranging this meeting.

“We have been campaigning for new premises for twelve years now; this is far too long.

“Our patients are no less important than those who are registered at other surgeries which have newer, more spacious and better-equipped premises.

“Yet the constant pressure from Health Board managers to restrict the size of our new project, to something so small that it would be overcrowded as soon as it opened, is very frustrating.

“We have to hope that 2024 will finally be the year in which we reach a successful conclusion to our long campaign and our patients will be able to receive medical care in premises fit for the 2020s rather than the 1960s.”

Geoff Ryall-Harvey, Regional Director of Llais North Wales, added: “We felt that it was necessary to progress this long-standing matter and were pleased that the BCUHB Chair and Llyr Gruffydd agreed to a meeting with Dr Redman and representatives of the Hanmer Surgery Patient Action Group.

“The patients and staff of the Hanmer Surgery deserve a modern surgery that meets today’s needs.”

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