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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 November, 2003, 15:56 GMT
Patients turned away by hospital
Machynlleth hospital
A hospital ward at the hospital has been closed for six weeks
A 90-year-old's family have hit out after she and another woman was refused admission at Machynlleth hospital because there were no beds available.

The nephew of one of the women - 90-year-old Margaret Owen - said what had happened to his aunt was a disgrace.

Only 20 of the 34 beds at the hospital have been in use for the last six weeks because not enough nurses have the necessary medical skills.

Mrs Owen was rushed to the hospital this month after falling at her home in the town and lying on the floor for four hours.

But her nephew Gareth Evans said she was told by a doctor there were no beds available at the hospital - or at Bronglais District General Hospital in Aberystwyth, 18 miles away.

The pensioner was admitted to hospital in Aberystwyth two days later on 4 November.

Although my aunt was not seriously hurt she has suffered a lot of stress and trauma as a result of this experience
Gareth Evans
"I don't put any blame on the medical staff because they did a great job and the doctor did try to get her a bed on the Sunday night," said Mr Evans.

"But she was told there wasn't a bed at Machynlleth or Bronglais available for her."

Mr Evans cared for Mrs Owen until she was taken to Bronglais for an X-ray and kept in overnight.

"Although my aunt was not seriously hurt she has suffered a lot of stress and trauma as a result of this experience and she is still in the hospital."

Another 95-year-old woman living in a sheltered complex in the town who was diagnosed with a chest infection could not be admitted to Machynlleth hospital either.

The woman was seen by a doctor on Monday 3 November.

'Temporary difficulties'

But her health later deteriorated and she was diagnosed with heart failure and pneumonia and taken to Bronglais hospital.

Powys Local Health Board which runs the hospital said it was hoped the closed ward would reopen this weekend.

A crisis meeting next Tuesday is to discuss the staffing problems.

"The recent temporary difficulties with medical cover at Machynlleth resulted in some rehabilitation patients being moved to other parts of the hospital or to Bronglais," said a spokesman.

"This meant that Machynlleth has been working to full capacity from time to time.

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