- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Joyce Watson AM has received assurances from the Welsh Government that Blaenau Ffestiniog will continue to have a day-to-day health service, following positive discussions with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.
With the looming retirement of the town’s two remaining GPs, at Assembly Question Time on Wednesday (5 November), the Labour AM for Mid and West Wales asked health minister Mark Drakeford about the future of frontline health care in the area. Mrs Watson said:
“Given the recent announcement that the two remaining GPs will be leaving in January, do you know whether the health board will be looking again at primary care facilities in the Blaenau Ffestiniog area?”
Mr Drakeford said the health board has assured patients that there will continue to be primary care services in the town.
The pledge comes as the Welsh Government considers its response to a comprehensive report on health services in Mid Wales. The Welsh Institute for Health and Social Care’s study, undertaken by Professor Marcus Longley, was publish on 23 October. It reveals that Betsi Cadwaladr is currently reviewing services at Ffestiniog Memorial Hospital.
Joyce Watson asked the minister whether he had discussed the review with the health board. He replied:
“Earlier in the summer, I met with the group that is responsible for designing the future of Canolfan Goffa Ffestiniog. It included local councillors, as well as clinicians, patients and others. I was very encouraged that they had been willing to come together. It has been a painful process, in some ways, trying to design the right services at Blaenau Ffestiniog.
“However, they came in a very united way and they were able to show advanced ideas for how services at that new facility will be provided. One of the things that they emphasised to me was that, by having a modern building with a range of facilities that are not possible in the current way that things are provided there, they feel that that will allow them to attract students who are studying to become GPs, and will make it more attractive for staff to come to work in that area.
“The health board is well aware of the challenge that it faces in providing those services. It has assured patients that there will continue to be a primary care service at the town. I expect it to continue to work with the local population to secure not just the service that it has had in the past, but a service that will go on serving it well into the future.”