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Patients vow to fight Mold Community Hospital proposals

ALMOST 200 angry protesters made their voices heard as they vowed to fight plans to close two units of Mold Community Hospital.

Mold mayor Geoff Collett said he was ‘delighted’ with the turnout after calling a public meeting to form a battle plan against health bosses who want to close the town’s minor injuries unit and X-ray department.

Community leaders and patients have now formed an action group to fight Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s proposals, which were drawn up as part of a major shake-up of the NHS in the region in a bid to save £64.6m.

Under the controversial proposals people in south Flintshire would need to go to Deeside – where there is no bus service to – or Holywell.

“This doesn’t just affect Mold, it’s about Buckley, Hope, Penyffordd, all the areas in the south of the county,” said Buckley councillor Richard Jones.

Cllr Chris Bithell said: “It’s a community hospital and it serves all of our communities.”

Cllr Jones added: “It doesn’t make any sense, no-one’s put any thought into it.

“And if they’re moving the hospital they should provide the transport to get us to Deeside or Holywell. It’s a tax on the residents.”

Buckley councillor Carol Ellis, who chairs the county council’s health and social care committee, said residents could incur crippling costs if they’re forced to travel further afield regularly.

She told the meeting: “I have got a resident who’s travelling to Mold on a daily basis. He gets a taxi for a couple of pounds. If he had to go to Deeside it will cost him so much more.

“To Betsi Cadwaladr this may only be a little issue, but to Joe Public it’s a very important one.”

One speaker said extra pressure could be put on Wrexham Maelor Hospital because people needing treatment would just go there instead.

She added: “They don’t care how long they have to wait, they’ll get food, a drink and a paper to read. Deeside is just too awkward to get to.”

The meeting at the Daniel Owen Centre on Monday heard from Dr Sara Bodey, a local GP and the vice-chairwoman of the North Wales Local Medical Committee, who said the plans would see a 9% reduction in beds across the region.

“We know how hard it is to get people a bed already – we can only imagine how hard it will be after a reduction,” she said.

And Dr Bodey said professionals feared more services could be taken away from Mold if the plans go ahead.

She added: “For those of us who work on the ground we can see the knock-on effect, and we have suspicions as to what the long term will be.”

A former Mold Community Hospital nurse told the meeting: “The staff have worked 10-hour shifts to keep that department running. There’s a huge amount of loyalty to the community and I think that’s reciprocated.

“We have such strength and expertise here and we really shouldn’t lose it.”