Campaigners angry as Llangollen Hospital to close this weekend

Llangollen Hospital
Llangollen Hospital

LLANGOLLEN Hospital will close its doors for good this weekend after 138 years.

Campaigners have reacted with fury to the news that all remaining outpatient clinics, services and the minor injury unit will move from Llangollen Hospital to the town’s health centre, effective from Monday.

Alaian Kahan of Keep Llangollen Health Services labelled the closure a “scandal” and said health chiefs should “hang their heads in shame”.

The 18-bed community hospital was one of four across North Wales selected for the axe in January.

It was closed to inpatients last month and the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board confirmed on Friday it would now shut completely.

The board has pressed ahead with the Abbey Road site’s closure despite threats by campaigners to take them to the High Court for judicial review to have the decision overturned.

A health board spokesman said: “From Monday, March 11 all outpatient and dressings clinics, phlebotomy (blood sampling) and physiotherapy appointments that were previously based in the hospital will be held in the Llangollen Health Centre, adjacent to the GP Surgery. The Health Centre is located on Regent Street, part of A5 road to Chirk.

“A Minor Injuries Service will also be available at this location, initially running from 9:00am to 3:30pm, Monday to Thursday, the same hours as apply in the hospital at present.

“The Health Board and the GPsurgery are working closely together to ensure that these services continue to be available in the town, in line with the commitments given by the health board during the recent consultation, until the new primary care resource centre (at Rover Lodge) is available.”

Director of primary, community and mental health services Geoff Lang said: “The relocation of services to the health centre will help us to develop our collaboration with our partners in the Llangollen GP Practice, and we intend expanding some of these services over the coming months. This is an important step towards the integrated care we want to be able to provide for the town and we are very grateful for the support and help of the Llangollen GPs and Health Board colleagues as we develop health services for the area.”

Last week Prestatyn hospital shut, while Blaenau Ffestiniog and Flint are due to close over the coming months.

But campaigner Alaian Kahan said: “The health board have abdicated their responsibility towards the people of Llangollen and the Dee valley. They clearly don’t appreciate the difficulty of having to travel to Mold from Llangollen and the upper Dee valley. Public transport is difficult enough, especially now that Arriva have cut the X94 evening bus service from Wrexham. Then again, the Health Board’s management might not concern themselves about public transport when they have BMWs and Jaguars leased by the Health Board.

“The health board made noises around the possibility of building a new health centre; they said patients ‘may’ be treated in local nursing homes; but they only made one promise which was to shut our hospital, and now they’ve done it. However there are no signs of any new Health Centres, patients are being sent all across north east Wales, and all the while ambulances are queuing up outside Wrexham Maelor because the beds are full. In the mean time we find that they haven’t even done the basic work of checking whether or not there are beds available locally, resolving contractual issues, and haven’t got the staff in place.

“It’s a mess and a scandal, and it is clear for all that patients will suffer. The health board and their political masters should hang their heads in shame.”