Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Hospital Closures

100s of people travelled from North, South ,East and West Wales to the Senedd at Cardiff yesterday in order to protest at the closures of their community hospitals - I joined them in their protest travelling from Flint to Cardiff. Flint hospital is one of many closures. Holywell Cottage hospital is closing on the 25th November. There has been NO consultation - unlike at Flint concerning the closure at Holywell. The Health Trust is indicating the closures will "pay for itself" - the costs of the move being put at £40,000. Is the truth that it will only pay for itself because of staff cuts? As the x ray facility is going to remain at the Cottage patients needing an x ray are going to have to be transported back to the old Cottage hospital will continue to be split between the two sites. People in Holywell are now aware that the Labour councillor sitting on the LHB did not represent their concerns that the Cottage should remain open until the new hospital was completed, and everyone in Holywell knows that Sandy Mewies may have listened to concerns about the closure of the inpatient facilities - but she has done absolutely nothing about it. Labour have sought to claim all the credit for the new hospital and ignored the fact this was a cross party effort, fought over many many years particularly by Dr Martin Parry.

The pattern of hpspital closures is taking place PRIOR to the new community services being in place. A team of Doctors from Powys Hospital had pushed a hospital bed for 52 miles to bring the point home to Dr Brian Gibbons that his healthcare reforms are badly thought out. The reforms promise to bring patient care closer to home - yet the policy of closing community hospitals runs directly counter to this argument. Was Dr Brian Gibbons there to face the protesters - no he suddenly found a reason to be away from the Assembly not even giving the protesters the courtesy of listening to what they had to say - typical Labour arrogance. And what of Sandy Mewies AM was she there to reflect the concerns of her constituents about the closure of Flint - NO - despite the fact this was a Wales wide protest......

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Holywell Hospital

The petition calling for Holywell Hospital to remain open until the new hospital is built was presented to North East Wales Health Trust. Meeting with chief executive Ms Hilary Kepler and Head of Planning Neil Bradshaw this week I was staggered to learn that prior to the launch of the petition the North East Wales Health Trust had not received any representations from Flintshire County Council officials or representatives calling for the inpatient facilities to remain opem until the new facilities were built. The chief executive Hilary Kepler told her that “Officials from Flintshire County Council were fully aware of the plans to move in patient facilities and the minor injuries unit to Lluesty. We have not received any objections”. Neil Bradshaw and Ms Kepler also confirmed at the meeting that no one had raised the lack of bus facilities to the Lluesty site and the problems this would cause Holywell residents, and those from further afield who did not have access to cars.

Holywell is loosing the inpatient facility at the heart of the community and easily accessible by locals – without anyone raising the concerns of the many people in Holywell who want to see the new site completed before the Cottage hospital in patients and minor injuries unit is closed and its facilities moved to Lluesty. It is a betrayal of the people of Holywell who have supported the Cottage Hospital for so many years that the closure of in patient facilities has been hidden from them. Local residents, who fear any delays in the building works may mean it is years before the new hospital is built

This is going to cause major disruption to staff and patients as well as costing £50,000 to prepare the ward in Lluesty. I am concerned that these plans have been pushed forward in order that the site can be sold. Labour policies appear to be designed to turn hospitals into residential building sites. Flint Cottage hospital is also threatend with closure. Labour policies are seeing bureaucrats rising at three times the rate of new doctors and nurses. Debts increasing and yet bed cuts. Whilst I welcome the new hospital for Holywell it is clear that if Flint Cottage hospital closes there will be a loss of beds overall in Flintshire a position which is being repeated the length and breadth of the UK.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Remembrance Day

Today I reflect upon the horrors of war - and the great sacrifices made by so many people - not just those who have died, but the injured and the families of those who suffer because war has destroyed their lives.