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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 July 2005, 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK
Health cuts to meet 6m deficit
Hospital ward
The proposals could see a reduction in bed numbers
Hospital clinics could be closed and bed numbers cut in south Wales in a series of measures health chiefs hope will save nearly 6m.

The cutbacks are being considered for health services in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.

The plans include closing the minor injuries unit at Barry Hospital and limiting investment in critical care.

The Vale of Glamorgan Local Health Board has said difficult decisions have to be made.

Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan Local Health Boards (LHBs) who commission services for patients face a joint financial shortfall of 5.85m.

Cuts in the number of intensive care beds
Closure of an acute ward at the University Hospital of Wales
Closure of Barry Hospital minor injuries unit
Closure of the chronic pain service in Cardiff
Closing the smoking cessation programme in Cardiff
Restricting expenditure on high cost drugs

Plans to save money include cutting spending on drugs, restricting investment in critical care and closing a minor injuries unit at Barry Hospital.

The unit's 11,000 patients are likely to be referred to the casualty unit at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, instead.

The two local health boards are holding meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday to consider the plans further.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Vale of Glamorgan LHB confirmed it was "facing a tough financial climate" and it would "need to make some difficult decisions in respect of funding and prioritising".

It added: "Health organisations, such as the LHBs and trusts, therefore need to work together to manage this tighter funding and to ensure that patient care is not compromised."

'Financial deficit'

Cardiff LHB said it would ensure patient care was not compromised.

Chief Executive Sian Richards said: "The assembly has acknowledged that this is a much tighter financial year than previously.

"This is particularly exacerbated in this area by the LHB's inherited financial deficit and the fact that the Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust is also in financial recovery."

Health provider, Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust, has confirmed its been asked to respond to the proposed measures by the two local health boards whose budgets are in deficit by 5.85m.

Cardiff Community Health Council, which represents patients, said that while streamlining services would be acceptable, closing beds and clinics is not.

Responding to the possibility of cuts, a Welsh Assembly Government spokesperson said: "Cardiff Health Community are looking at a number of options as part of their commissioning plan which are still subject to internal consideration.

"The Welsh Assembly Government has not received any formal proposals from them to date."

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