Clwyd West MS Darren Millar has criticised the Labour Welsh Government for neglecting patients in North Wales when once again challenging the Health Minister over the delay in the delivery of the promised new North Denbighshire Community Hospital.
The Welsh Government announced back in 2013 that a new hospital would be built in Rhyl to serve North Denbighshire, however there has still not been a spade in the ground, despite initial assurances from the Welsh Government that it would be up and running by 2016.
With Ysbyty Glan Clwyd struggling to cope with demand, responding to yesterday’s Statement by the Health Minister on NHS Winter Pressures, Darren condemned the Welsh Government for not investing in North Wales.
“When will North Denbighshire get its promised community hospital? We saw beds axed in Rhyl, in Prestatyn, in St Asaph and in nearby Denbigh - scores of beds. And, as a result of losses, there is now extra pressure on Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. That is a fact.
“You say that you don't have the capital to be able to invest and that there have been rising costs on the North Denbighshire project. Now, I've checked the figures. Within the period that you announced that you would deliver our new hospital, which was back in 2013, you did build a hospital, but you built one in south Wales, the Grange Hospital, the cost of which was £360 million. It's original budget was £172 million. So, a massive additional cost of £188 million.
“Now, I do not begrudge the delivery of that hospital for the people that it serves in Gwent; it's an important investment. But where is the investment in North Wales? You've closed hospital after hospital after hospital, and we still haven't seen our hospital. It's current estimated cost is £64 million - that's a fraction of the investment that you've spent in the south. When will we see our hospital in order that we can deliver the sorts of improvements in access to care that people in North Denbighshire require?”
In her response the Minister failed to answer Darren’s question.
Speaking afterwards, Darren added:
“The people of North Wales are sick of waiting. They are sick of not receiving the service they should be because Ysbyty Glan Clwyd is so overstretched. And they are sick of hearing of money being invested in south Wales when they are unable to access the services they need here.
“I’ve said it time and time again, this hospital is desperately needed in North Denbighshire and I will continue pushing until the promises made by the Welsh Government almost 10 years ago are fulfilled.”