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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 October 2006, 18:02 GMT 19:02 UK
Action group stages hospital demo
Protesters at Llanidloes hospital
The protestors encircled the hospital to make their point
Campaigners have staged a protest outside a hospital against plans to make "drastic" cuts to services there.

Up to 1,000 people took part and formed a human ring in the "hands around Llanidloes hospital" demonstration.

Last month, Powys Local Health Board (LHB) announced that it wanted to make cuts at Llanidloes, Knighton, Bronllys and Builth Wells hospitals.

The LHB has said it is facing a 3.5m deficit and has to make changes but was consulting widely.

The plans involve closing all 18 hospital beds, a X-ray service and a maternity unit at Llanidloes.

The proposals have angered some local people who have formed the Save Llanidloes Hospital Action Group in response.

Action group spokesman Alan Crisp said: "These drastic cuts will effectively close the hospital and we want to keep it open," he added.

Campaigner Margot Jones said: "We're committed to fight to the end. We live in a rural area and there's no reason why we can't expect the same level of service as everywhere else."

Protest meeting at Llanidloes community centre
Protesters at a public meeting in Llanidloes on 4 September

After being addressed by various speakers, the protesters marched through the centre of the town to the site of the local hospital.

Last month Andy Williams, chief executive of Powys LHB, said he understood people's attachment to their hospital.

He added: "We must not allow ourselves to measure the effectiveness of health services by the number of hospital beds and by bricks and mortar.

"Some of our current buildings are outdated and we believe that the people of Powys deserve better."

Earlier this week, GPs criticised the LHB over plans to cut services at the four community hospitals.

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 said it was committed to working closely with GPs.


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"The details are worse than the campaigners feared"



SEE ALSO
Doctors' fears at hospital plans
24 Oct 06 |  Mid Wales
Health chiefs opt to cut services
27 Sep 06 |  Mid Wales
Hundreds fight 'hospital closure'
05 Sep 06 |  Mid Wales
Hospital fears over cash crisis
13 Oct 05 |  Mid Wales
Powys patients in funding crisis
31 May 05 |  Mid Wales

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