Wales

Denbigh hospital beds stay closed pending fire safety work

Denbigh Infirmary Image copyright Google
Image caption Beds on the first floor ward will remain closed for some time, the health board said

A community hospital where nearly half the beds were closed over post-Grenfell fire safety fears is unlikely to see them being used again any time soon.

Denbigh Infirmary's capacity was cut from 40 to 23 beds after a review said its wooden structure posed concerns.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has said the fire safety work would "take time".

Denbighshire councillor Rhys Thomas said it meant delays in discharging patients to be nearer their families.

After the fatal fire in a west London tower block in June 2017, which killed 72 people, all public bodies across the UK carried out fire safety checks on their buildings.

Health bosses initially shut 10 beds at the 200-year-old hospital and later closed another seven amid concerns about the first floor ward.

A report to Denbighshire County Council this week said the suspension of services would remain in place for some time.

To ease the pressure on Denbigh Infirmary, the health board has added five beds to Ruthin's community hospital, eight miles away.

'Blocking beds'

Plaid Cymru councillor Thomas, who represents Lower Denbigh, said it was frustrating for patients and their families.

"When elderly people are ready to be released from Ysbyty Glan Clwyd they then have to stay for longer than they should have to, so they're blocking beds," he told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

"Some of them are being sent to Ruthin, but Denbigh people want their family members to be closer by, naturally."

Glenn Swingler, a fellow Plaid Cymru councillor for Denbigh, said people wanted assurances about the hospital's long-term future.

"Community hospitals are very important to local communities and also help ease the pressure at the major A&E departments," he said.

A health board spokesman said the building work required to address the fire compliance issues was "significant" and would take time.

"While we work on these plans, the beds will remain suspended," he added.

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