Further Reviews Of Health Changes In Mid & North Wales

A series of reviews and new public consultations on plans to change NHS services in mid and north Wales have been announced by the health minister.

Edwina Hart said a public consultation had begun on Llandudno Hospital’s future and patients would be consulted on services for Builth Wells.

Ms Hart said north Wales community NHS services and “clinical governance” issues also would be examined.

The reviews were generally welcomed by Assembly Members from all parties.

Previous consultations failed to persuade patients that health care could be provided in their community rather than district hospitals.

Ms Hart said a key reason secondary care proposals had run into difficulty was that plans for primary and community services were “under-developed” and “under-described”.

She said she would meet campaigners fighting the proposed closure of Abergele Hospital, but warned that she could not ignore concerns about clinical governance, or the quality and safety of services, expressed by clinicians.

Ms Hart said there would be a review to see if a major building at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd was safe enough for future developments.

“Taken together, the four different reports which I have outlined this afternoon will provide vital pieces in the jigsaw of service development which I want to see taking place in north Wales,” she said.

“By January of next year I shall be in a position to take a view on the results of the work I have commissioned and I shall provide members with a further statement at that time”.

Ms Hart told AMs the local council and health board wanted to consult people in Builth Wells on ways of integrating health and social care services.

She said there were “encouraging signs of a new partnership” between the local council, health bodies and patient representatives.

“If, as I hope, the Builth experience continues to develop positively, then it seems to me that a blueprint may emerge which could be followed in relation to other community schemes in Powys,” she added.

The Conservatives agreed with much of the minister’s statement, but North Wales AM Mark Isherwood warned that “the proof of the pudding all these reviews will be in the eating”.

Liberal Democrat Kirsty Williams praised Ms Hart for “keeping the assembly informed on the steps you are taking”.

Ms Williams said the rules and regulations on consultations needed to be improved “so that we don’t fall foul of what happened before”.

She said she hoped that in future health ministers would not “have to go through all these reviews again to get the kind of confidence that people feel they need in the consultation process”.