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Flint Hospital facing closure

THE future of Flint Community Hospital hangs in the balance as health chiefs plan a major shake-up of services in North Wales.

The proposal to close the facility – along with the minor injuries unit at Mold Community Hospital – is being discussed by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board today (Thursday).

BCUHB must save £64.6m to balance its books.

The health board’s report states: “We are facing a number of significant financial challenges. The global economic situation and the state of UK public finances means there won’t be major investment in the NHS to help us respond to the service challenges over the next few years.

“The Wales Audit Office report states that the status quo is not affordable and how services are operated must change.”

A review of health care in North Wales began in 2009 and concerns that community hospitals could close have been growing.

The plans include the development of a new facility to replace the current premises in Flint and provide primary and community services.

Community hospital bed care and minor injuries services would be provided from Holywell.

Flint councillor Ian Roberts, who campaigned to keep Flint Hospital open when the then-Flintshire Local Health Board revealed plans to close it, said: “I am absolutely devastated by the news. For many years our hospital has provided a very good service to the people of Flint and for the most vulnerable sections of our town and the wider area.   “However, Betsi Cadwaladr is disregarding these local ties and is merely continuing the work started by the Flintshire Local Health Board. It is now up to the people of Flint to make their views known in the consultation.   “I believe the decisions which Betsi Cadwaladr is now making are being forced upon the health service in Wales by cuts to the Welsh Government by the Government in Westminster.” Flint resident Melanie Buckley said the loss of the hospital would be a major blow for the town.

She added: “It will make for a more difficult life for a lot of elderly people, who may now have to travel out of town for the services that should be provided here in Flint.”

Delyn MP David Hanson said he was ‘extremely concerned’ about the proposals for Mold and Flint.

He added: “There is a very strong attachment to the community hospital in Flint and I hope people will respond over the next few weeks.

“The hospitals have given a great service to local residents over the years and I want to make sure that these services continue to be provided to people in Mold and Flint.”

More to follow.