A DECISION by Denbighshire County Council not to push for a feasibility study to reinstate beds at Rhyl’s Alexander Hospital has been criticised by an outspoken councillor.
Last week Cllr Brian Jones put forward a motion proposing the council ask the health board to consider using the Royal Alexander to relieve bed blocking.
The Conservative councillor put forward the motion, arguing using the Rhyl hospital to treat ‘frail’ patients could free up beds at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.
The council agreed to talk to a group of retired professionals known as the Alex Angels about the future of the Rhyl hospital; however, they rejected talk of attempting to persuade Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to reinstate beds at the Marine Drive hospital.
Instead, councillors voted to pledge their support to the full business case for the redevelopment of the Royal Alexander Hospital, a project that has been awaiting a decision from Welsh Government for years.
Cllr Jones is angry his motion was not backed and has accused the Labour-led council of protecting the Welsh Government from criticism over the lack of forthcoming funds for the redevelopment of Rhyl’s Victorian hospital.
“The new North Denbighshire Hospital has been promised for over 10 years, and it is still not there today, and there is no indication whatsoever when that will happen, which is why my motion went on the table in the short to medium term, to put some bed capacity back in the Alex,” said Cllr Jones.
“The hospital was proposed to go on the site of the Alex. They wouldn’t knock the Alex down. It would be built on the rear of the existing building. But it hasn’t happened because the funding hasn’t come from Welsh Government, so all the feasibility studies, the plans, actually what it would be as a hospital, all that was done and dusted, but the funding never came forward. It (the cost) was roughly around £20m over ten years ago.
“There is no sign that that funding is coming forward any time soon. My belief is they (the council) don’t want bed capacity there (at the Royal Alexander) because it shows the Welsh Government in a bad light.
“They should have built the hospital over ten years ago. There is still no direction today on the funding and when it is going to happen, and meanwhile, we are talking about life and death here. People are probably dying because of the problems they’ve got in the region with bed capacity and bed blocking.”
Cllr Jones added: “So a short to medium-term feasibility study to see if this is feasible was the bones of the motion, and that was rejected, and they (the council) have muffled through some hotchpotch amendment that will throw the Alex Angels off the main purpose of my motion.”
The Welsh Government and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board were contacted for a comment.