HMP Berwyn inmates' drug use 'may have hospital impact'


Concerns have been raised over the potential strain illicit drug use at HMP Berwyn could place on Wrexham Maelor Hospital.

A report to Betsi Cadwaladr health board said drug use at the prison must be closely monitored as it moves towards its 2,106-inmate capacity.

HMP Berwyn opened in February and had 800 inmates by November.

There are also fears incoming workers for Anglesey's planned nuclear power station could affect health services.

On Thursday, members of the health board will receive a report from the chairman of a stakeholder group, which met last month.

It said members of the group received a presentation from Simon Newman, head of health care at HMP Berwyn.

Media caption,
A look inside Wrexham's new super-prison

In the discussion that followed, concern was expressed regarding the impact of illicit drug use and the group stressed this should not become accepted practice.

The group strongly recommended the impact on Wrexham Maelor Hospital be monitored carefully as capacity is ramped up.

The Ministry of Justice has been asked to comment.

The report said there was also a "high level of concern" over how the health needs of people brought in to work at Anglesey's prospective Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant could impact on health care provision in the area covered by Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor.

Image source, Horizon
Image caption,
An artist's impression of the latest design of Wylfa Newydd

The proposed new reactor could see up to 8,000 people working on construction, with 850 people employed once the site is up and running and power being generated by 2025.

Regulators approved the design of reactor on Thursday.

The report said project developers Horizon should be pressured to provide more resources to deal with the health needs of staff who may be taken on.

It was noted by the group that the resource allocation formula in Wales for health services did not take account of the impact of temporary residents in allocating resources to health boards.

Horizon spokesman Richard Foxhall said a number of measures had been identified to "avoid any additional pressure on local services" through its health impact assessment and that it would continue to liaise with the health board.