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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 November 2006, 12:27 GMT
Hospital unit shuts temporarily
Builth Wells hospital
Builth Wells hospital is one of four under threat in Powys
Health managers have closed a minor injuries unit at a Powys hospital because of a shortage of staff.

Powys Local Health Board (LHB) said the closure was temporary and it would reopen it as "quickly as possible".

But the move has been branded "cynical" by one group of GPs, who objected and claimed staff and patients were not informed about the LHB's intentions.

A number of hospital units in Powys have closed temporarily over the last few years due to staffing levels.

But the latest comes at a time when feelings are running high about the future of four hospitals.

In September, the LHB announced plans to cut services at Bronllys, Llanidloes, Knighton and Builth Wells. It said a 3.5m deficit had forced it to consider making changes.

Patients or staff

Of the closure of the minor injuries unit, an LHB spokesman said: "The LHB can confirm that Builth minor injuries unit is closed on a temporary basis due to staff shortages."

But doctors at Builth and Llanwrtyd medical practice, who work at the hospital, said the LHB failed to inform patients or staff before it shut the unit on Friday afternoon.

They added: "The practice has written to the LHB objecting to this closure, and have called it a cynical and deceitful act."

Earlier this month, it emerged that plans for a public consultation into the future of the four community hospitals could be delayed.

The three-month process, between January and March, could be postponed because of an assembly government announcement about hospitals next month and election next May.

Meanwhile, about 250 people met in Welshpool to discuss the financial problems facing the Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Primary Care Trust, which serves about 50,000 people living in north Powys.

The meeting was hosted on Friday night by the Montgomeryshire Conservatives. The trust has to save more than 30m.

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