- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Assembly member Joyce Watson has called on the Welsh Government to protect community health services in north Wales.
The Mid and West Wales AM’s intervention came in response to the decision by Betsi Cadwaladr health board to temporarily close the Minor Injuries Unit at Ffestiniog Memorial Hospital and reduce the number of inpatient beds by two – from 12 to ten.
Speaking in the Assembly chamber this afternoon, Mrs Watson urged the First Minister to “monitor the situation in Blaenau Ffestiniog.” She said:
“You will be aware that last week Betsi Cadwaladr health board took the decision to temporarily close the Minor Injuries Unit at Ffestiniog Memorial Hospital.
“Staffing issues mean that, as well as closing the MIU for 4 weeks, the decision has also been taken to temporarily reduce the number of inpatient beds, from 12 to 10.
“Can you assure me that the Welsh Government will monitor the situation in Blaenau Ffestiniog?
“The Health Board says that patients can contact either their local GP or visit the Minor Injuries Unit at nearby Ysbyty Alltwen at this time, but anyone who understands the geography of this area will appreciate the strategic importance of Ffestiniog Memorial Hospital. It is crucial that community health services are protected.”
Responding, First Minister Carwyn Jones assured Mrs Watson that the Welsh Government would keep an eye on developments at Blaenau hospital. He said:
“Our understanding is that it is a four-week closure due to staff sickness. The advice has been given, as you rightly said, to local people either to visit their GPs, who are able to carry out the same level of service as the minor injuries unit, or, if they are unavailable, to travel to Ysbyty Alltwen, which is between Porthmadog and Penrhyndeudraeth—I think that that is the best description of it. When the staff sickness situation is resolved, it will be possible for the trust to reopen the unit.”