Minister urged to ‘come clean’ over care centre delay

THE future of Gwent’s flagship Specialist and Critical Care Centre project is in doubt, after the Welsh Government’s health minister told AMs that some NHS building projects announced earlier this year would be delayed.

Lesley Griffiths’ remarks to the Assembly’s health and social services committee yesterday place the £230 million project firmly in the firing line to become a victim of shrinking NHS spending.

And she is today being asked to “come clean” about exactly which projects are likely to be put on hold.

Former health minister Edwina Hart reaffirmed her commitment to the project – earmarked for the former Llanfrechfa Grange Hospital site near Cwmbran – only last March in a letter to AMs, stating that the hospital is key to improving hospital services in Gwent.

But her successor’s comments have sparked fears and fury.

Torfaen AM Lynne Neagle, a member of the health and social services committee, told the Argus she is “deeply worried” and has asked Mrs Griffiths and Aneurin Bevan Health Board for an urgent meeting to discuss the situation.

“Local people deserve clarity on the development of their hospital,” she said.

Welsh Liberal Democrats leader and fellow health and social services committee member Kirsty Williams meanwhile, has tabled a formal question demanding Mrs Griffiths provide detail on which projects will now be “shelved.”

“I am calling on her to come clean, so that people across Wales will knowwhat the impact will be on their services,” she said.