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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 November 2005, 12:02 GMT
Clinic closed at 'sick' village
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Two in five Croeserw adults have a long term illness
A health centre is being closed in a village named among the "sickest" in England and Wales by the 2001 census.

The last census found that two of five adults in Croeserw, near Port Talbot, had a long-term illness stopping them from working.

Health officials said they had closed the clinic in the village because it was not "used enough".

Brian Gibbons, Welsh health minister and Assembly Member for the area, said he was "disappointed" at the decision.

Access to car

The 2001 census identified Croeserw as among most unhealthy places in Wales and England with two in five of its 1,262 adults suffering from a limiting long-term illness.

Figures from the 2001 census also showed the village has one of the lowest rates of vehicle ownership in England and Wales with more than half of households without access to a car.

But Neath Port Talbot Local Health Board said that despite the closure, services were still available to villagers at a health centre in neighbouring village of Cymmer.

This was not a matter of money - the greatest cost is providing the services and they are still going on
Local health board spokesperson

Some villagers have said they have been "angered" by the Croeserw centre's closure, claiming it had been used regularly.

Mother-of-two Haley Shearan, 27, who ran a mother and toddler group at the centre, said: "It's not just the play group - we also go to baby health clinics at the centre.

"Now I have to traipse to the next village, which is hard when you've got two children."

Pearl Owen, 63, added: "They had a drug clinic their for the youngsters so they could pick up clean needles, and a baby support clinic as well.

"It seems pretty well-used to me. Now I have to travel two miles.

"I'm angry that it is probably just going to become another run-down building up here."

'Same road'

A Neath Port Talbot LHB spokeswoman said services were still available villagers in nearby centres.

"This was not a matter of money - the greatest cost is providing the services and they are still going on," she said.

"The drug and alcohol clinic and the healthy hearts clinic have moved over the road to the community centre.

"All the other clinics have been moved to the Health Centre in Cymmer - it is very, very near, along the same main road.

"It's just the building that's closed. It was not being used enough to justify keeping it open."

Dr Gibbons, whose Aberavon constituency covers Croeserw, said: "I am disappointed at the closure of the health centre at Croeserw.

"I've had representations from the people in the village and I am in discussions with the local health board. I will do what I can to help."

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07 May 03 |  Wales

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