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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 October 2006, 17:24 GMT 18:24 UK
Doctors' fears at hospital plans
Bronllys Hospital near Brecon
Bronllys is among hospitals which will see service cuts
GPs have criticised health chiefs over plans to cut services at four community hospitals in Powys.

Doctors in Builth Wells and Llanidloes said there was a "lack of confidence" in Powys Local Health Board's (LHB) ability to deliver "effective change".

The LHB plans to axe beds, shut a maternity unit and cut other services at Llanidloes, Knighton, Bronllys, near Brecon, and Builth Wells hospitals.

The LHB said it was committed to working closely with GPs.

Last week, 12 of Powys' 17 doctors' surgeries held a meeting to discuss the LHB's plans.

With no district general hospital in Powys, many of the county's GPs also work at community hospitals, but they have accused the LHB of having nothing in place to replace services once they are removed.

'Effective change'

Robbie Gibbins of Builth Wells and Llanwrtyd medical practice, who was at the meeting, said there was a "general level of dissatisfaction" among GPs to the LHB's proposals.

In light of the meeting, doctors have written to health chiefs about their concerns.

Dr Gibbins said: "There's a lack of confidence in their (the LHB's) ability to deliver effective change."

Peter Howard of Talgarth medical practice said there "wasn't a clear pathway ahead" in the near future for community hospitals.

"Powys LHB is not in a position to reduce services when there appears to be nothing in their place once they disappear," Dr Howard added.

Andy Raynsford, a GP in Llanidloes, said he agreed with the other doctors' fears.

"There's been a lack of negotiation and communication from them (the LHB)," he said.

"We don't feel it's been to an adequate level."

A Powys LHB spokesman said more than 100 consultation events had been held involving communities, GPs and LHB staff.

He added: "An important clinical conference to agree the shape of future clinical services has been arranged to which all GPs in Powys have been invited."

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