Page last updated at 11:34 GMT, Tuesday, 27 October 2009

'Burden' fear after ward closures

The Royal Alexandra
The hospital currently has over 50 beds in two wards

A councillor has called for assurances after the closure of in-patient facilities at a Denbighshire hospital.

John Bellis has tabled a motion amid concerns the closures at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Rhyl will place a "financial burden" on the council.

He wants assurances "adequate arrangements are in place to treat residents in the community".

Two wards will close because fire safety procedures at the Victorian hospital do not meet modern standards.

Previously, the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has said out-patient facilities will stay at the Royal Alexandra, while in-patients will move to other hospitals, including Holywell, Colwyn Bay, Prestatyn and Glan Clwyd Hospital.

In a notice of motion to be discussed by the full council on Tuesday, Cllr Bellis says: "Denbighshire Council request assurance from the Betsi Cadwalader University Health Board that adequate arrangements are in place to treat residents in the community following the closure of wards at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

"I am concerned that the loss of beds will place a financial burden on the authority.

"I am requesting that the social services and housing scrutiny committee invite the health board to a future meeting to outline their plans and a report be brought back to the council outlining the implications for the authority."

Risk

In a statement on its website, the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said the risk to patients could not be eliminated following a fire safety report, even if an estimated £1.3m in upgrading work was carried out.

Patients were initially moved to one remaining ward before alternative services are available in December, and then that ward can also close.

Half of patients come from Rhyl, and the rest from surrounding towns including St Asaph, Prestatyn and Colwyn Bay.

The health board added: "The trust board wished to act quickly and decided to close the in-patient beds as soon as alternative services could be put in place.

"The trust remains committed to providing more modern facilities in the Rhyl area but also acknowledges this will take some years to achieve."

The hospital, which dates back to 1872, currently has 53 beds in two wards and has X-ray, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and dental facilities.

It specialises in slow-stream rehabilitation as well as palliative and continuing care.

Trust chairman Michael Williams said: "Our first priority is the safety of patients and staff at the hospital, and the trust would be failing in its statutory duties if it did not address the safety issues contained in the report.

"Therefore it was decided to close the in-patient wards and to step up the work looking at the best way of providing services to the people of Rhyl and the surrounding area."



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