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1,000 protesters rally against plans to axe Flint Community Hospital

MORE than 1,000 people took to the streets of Flint last night to march in protest against plans to axe the town’s community hospital.

‘Hands off’ was the rallying cry from demonstrators, furious at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s proposal to shut the facility.

Police closed off Church Street as the crowd, bearing banners and chanting loudly, made their way to the town hall, where a series of consultation meetings were being held at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm with NHS bosses.

Among the marchers was Jack Reece, chairman of the Save Flint Cottage Hospital action group. He said: “Nobody comes into our town and takes our hospital. We’re standing up and we’re fighting.”

Earlier in the day, Jill Galvani, an executive director at BCUHB, had told locals at a consultation meeting that Flint Community Hospital was past its sell-by date.

She said: “Flint, for me, needs a lot of work to bring it up to modern standards.

“The facility is long past what it’s used for. I have no problem with the staff, I have to make that clear. I think we could do much better for the people of Flint than that.”

The health board is proposing to shut the facility at Flint and move services, such as the minor injury unit to Holywell.

The board also wants to build a new £100,000 primary care resource centre.

MP David Hanson, who joined the protest march, said: “This just shows the strength of feeling in the town.”

Flintshire County Council leader Aaron Shotton said: “We will do all we can to ensure that we save Flint hospital. That campaign starts here.”