North East Wales

New £22m Rhyl hospital plan passes first hurdle

Royal Alexandra Hospital, Rhyl
Image caption The new facility will be built on the site of the Royal Alexandra Hospital

Initial proposals for a £22m hospital to replace two community hospitals in Denbighshire have been approved by the health minister.

Mark Drakeford agreed £750,000 funding for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) to progress plans to replace Rhyl's Alexandra Hospital and Prestatyn Community Hospital.

If approved, the new hospital would be developed on the Rhyl site.

Mr Drakeford said he looked forward to seeing the new building in 2016.

The BCUHB wants the new hospital to serve Rhyl, Prestatyn, Rhuddlan, Dyserth and surrounding areas.

As well as replacing the Rhyl and Prestatyn hospitals, the new integrated community hospital will replace other services including, dental clinics and the child and adolescent mental health service.

It will also include 30 in-patient beds and 18 in-patient beds for older people with mental health problems as well as younger people with early on-set dementia.

The hospital will also have x-rays, ultrasound, a pharmacy and other facilities.

Friends' fundraising

Mr Drakeford has now approved the strategic outline case for the development - the first of three business case stages to obtain capital investment.

He said he hoped the new hospital would provide services "in a way that we hope will be replicated across Wales in the coming years".

He added: "I and colleagues within the health sector have made it clear over the past 12 months that we cannot continue to provide health services in Wales in their current format. It is untenable.

"We must aim for an integration of services and enable better access to services for patients closer to home or at home so that we can free up the rest of the service and allow it to do what is fit for purpose."

He said he hoped the next stage - submission of an outline business case - would come in July 2014, and he looked forward to visiting the new hospital in 2016.

Dr Peter Higson, Chairman of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said " We are delighted that the first stage of the business case for the new North Denbighshire community hospital has been approved by the minister.

"We look forward to progressing with the next stages which will, when completed, see the development of a modern and vibrant centre not just for healthcare services but for a much wider range of services, support and information that will meet the needs of local people for years to come."

But David Morris, former chairman of Prestatyn Community Hospital's League of Friends, said he felt "sad" for local people because the old hospital was "fantastic".

He added: "It was closed on 1 March - St David's Day of all days.

"I had to dissolve the League of Friends because we had no patients, no hospital left. It was one of the saddest things I've had to do.

"There was tens of thousands of pounds worth of equipment in there that we bought over the years. I just hope it's all kept local."

He said the League of Friends still had £94,000 of raised money - most of which would go to the Wales air ambulance and St Kentigern Hospice in St Asaph.

He added: "It's our money. They can't touch that.

"It will be distributed to small local charities as well."

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