Hospi­tal unit may shut per­ma­nently

Glamorgan Gazette - - Your Views - MAR­CUS HUGHES mar­cus.hughes@waleson­line.co.uk

A HOSPI­TAL unit with a role in as­sess­ing the needs of el­derly pa­tients may be per­ma­nently closed.

Maesteg Day Hospi­tal – a day ser­vice at Maesteg Com­mu­nity Hospi­tal – was closed tem­po­rar­ily in 2017, with a re­open­ing in­tended in early 2018.

But Abertawe Bro Mor­gan­nwg Univer­sity Health Board (ABMU) said this has not been pos­si­ble due to “staffing is­sues be­yond our con­trol”.

A pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion into the pro­posed per­ma­nent clo­sure was launched by ABMU on Mon­day and will run un­til De­cem­ber 21.

Con­ser­va­tive AM for the South Wales West re­gion Suzy Davies has con­demned the pro­posal, call­ing the move “an­other clo­sure of a health fa­cil­ity by stealth”.

She is urg­ing ser­vice users to con­tact her with their views on the mat­ter.

“The board says that the unit was only op­er­at­ing at 50% ca­pac­ity and since its clo­sure new re­fer­rals are down to seven a month which are be­ing dealt with by Princess of Wales Hospi­tal at its own day care cen­tre,” Mrs Davies said.

“I don’t think it’s rocket sci­ence to work out that the de­cline in re­fer­rals since the Maesteg unit closed is prob­a­bly down to the fact that lo­cal peo­ple knew it was closed and that they would have to travel to Brid­gend.

“I am as­sum­ing that peo­ple were wait­ing for the unit to re-open in April, as was promised by the board at the time of clo­sure.”

The unit is known lo­cally as the day hospi­tal and is lo­cated within Maesteg Com­mu­nity Hospi­tal.

Mrs Davies added: “This is yet an­other clo­sure of a health fa­cil­ity by stealth – dressed up ini­tially as a tem­po­rary move be­cause of staffing short­ages on Llynfi Ward and then ex­tended be­cause of the dis­cov­ery of as­bestos in the unit and then when it was time to re-open, by the dis­cov­ery that it had lost its staff.

“This is a bla­tant ex­am­ple of how health ser­vices are op­er­at­ing in Wales, which has led to the widely held view that you can­not be­lieve any­thing you are told by health man­agers.”

Abertawe Bro Mor­gan­nwg as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of strat­egy Joanne Ab­bot­tDavies said: “A short­age of nurses meant Maesteg Day Hospi­tal – a day ser­vice lo­cated within Maesteg Com­mu­nity Hospi­tal – had to be closed on a tem­po­rary ba­sis in 2017, with the in­ten­tion of re­open­ing it in early 2018.

“How­ever, staffing is­sues be­yond our con­trol meant it was not pos­si­ble for us to re­open it as planned.

“Pa­tients from the Llynfi Val­ley have in­stead been cared for at Princess of Wales Hospi­tal’s (POWH) med­i­cal day unit.

“We have been con­sid­er­ing the best way to pro­vide day hospi­tal ser­vices which are of a high qual­ity and sus­tain­able for the peo­ple of the Llynfi Val­ley and Brid­gend as a whole.

“The health board has now agreed to carry out a pub­lic en­gage­ment on the pro­posed per­ma­nent clo­sure of the day hospi­tal, and mov­ing the ser­vice on a per­ma­nent ba­sis to POWH.”

A joint state­ment from Huw Ir­ranca-Davies AM and Chris Elmore MP says: “We be­lieve that the health boards must guar­an­tee the long-term fu­ture of this won­der­ful hospi­tal as part of the fab­ric of health pro­vi­sion in this area, and must con­sult widely with the lo­cal com­mu­nity be­fore fi­nal­is­ing any plans.

“We will also be seek­ing as­sur­ance that the new ser­vices to the hospi­tal, which ABMU have stated, will form part of se­cur­ing it’s long-term fu­ture. We also want to un­der­stand the in­volve­ment of our lo­cal GPs in the pro­posed re­con­fig­u­ra­tion of ser­vices, the im­pli­ca­tions for staff, and whether the pro­pos­als are sup­ported by clin­i­cians.

“Maesteg Hospi­tal only re­cently cel­e­brated its cen­te­nary in 2014. Whilst health ser­vices al­ways change and evolve to meet the de­mands of the pop­u­la­tion they serve: we firmly be­lieve that this hospi­tal, founded on con­tri­bu­tions from work­ing min­ers and their fam­i­lies, has a con­tin­u­ing and vi­tal role to play in the fu­ture health needs of res­i­dents in the Llynfi val­ley, Afan val­ley and the sur­round­ing ar­eas.

“We will be meet­ing the chair­man and of­fi­cers of the health board ur­gently to dis­cuss these pro­pos­als, and to seek as­sur­ances of the sup­port of ABMU - and of Cwm Taf Health Board - to the long-term fu­ture of this much-loved and much-needed fa­cil­ity. We will also be seek­ing con­fir­ma­tion that there will be the widest con­sul­ta­tion, in which we would strongly urge peo­ple to at­tend and make their views heard.”

The pub­lic en­gage­ment runs un­til De­cem­ber 21, and will in­clude a pub­lic meet­ing in Maesteg Town Hall on Wed­nes­day No­vem­ber 14, from 6pm to 8pm. There will also be drop-in events on Thurs­day, No­vem­ber 22, in Maesteg Com­mu­nity Cen­tre and on Tues­day, De­cem­ber 4, in Maesteg Leisure Cen­tre. Both will run from 9am to 5pm.

Peo­ple can also con­tact the health board di­rectly with their views.

The out­come will be con­sid­ered by the Com­mu­nity Health Coun­cil and health board in Jan­uary.

Maesteg Com­mu­nity Hospi­tal

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