Ein cyf / Our ref:   TP/SB/2459/097

Eich cyf / Your ref:   

(:   01248 384910

Gofynnwch am / Ask for:   Trevor Purt

E-bost / Email:  trevor.purt@wales.nhs.uk

Dyddiad / Date:   26 September 2014

Mr William Powell AC/AM


Petitions Committee

Cardiff Bay


CF99 1NA



















Dear Mr Powell


Thank you for your letter of 21 August 2014 enclosing details of a petition submitted to the Committee which proposes a delay to changes to healthcare services in Blaenau Ffestiniog until such time as the report of the Mid Wales Healthcare Study is published.


I would like, first of all, to assure you that the Board is very aware of the strength of feeling expressed by a large number of residents of Blaenau Ffestiniog about the changes to healthcare services in the town.  The Board has corresponded with you previously regarding this matter and the Committee will therefore be aware that the decision to close inpatient beds at Ffestiniog Memorial Hospital and provide this care at Ysbyty Alltwen was not a decision that was taken lightly.  The Board was appraised fully of all the correspondence received from the Defence Committee and other sources, and received a petition submitted prior to the formal Consultation.  The Board nevertheless decided that on balance, the need to ensure that services were consistent and reliable, and able to be sustained into the future, the services needed to change.


Since that time, as the Committee will also be aware, there has been a significant amount of good work on developing the new model for community services within Blaenau Ffestiniog with involvement of representatives of the local community.  A business case for the proposed primary healthcare centre was approved by the Health Board in March of this year, and following clarification of some issues, is awaiting approval from Welsh Government. 


The development of the new healthcare centre offers a good opportunity to ensure there is a modern, fit for purpose centre for delivery of an extended range of community based services, to support people closer to home, and closer working with the whole primary care team.  The new enhanced care service, which was put in place following the transfer of inpatient care, is providing care in people’s own homes and avoiding the need for admission to hospital in those cases.  Where a person cannot be safely cared for at home then they will of course still be cared for at Ysybty Alltwen.


The Health Board is committed to learning from the findings of the Mid Wales Healthcare Study when it is published.  We are not certain of the extent to which the findings will reach beyond the mid Wales area to the Gwynedd heartlands and Blaenau Ffestiniog area but will look to apply any learning from the study to all of our rural populations.  The Board does not believe it is appropriate, however, to delay the development of the primary Healthcare Centre in Blaenau Ffestiniog, as this development was itself supported by the Minister as a priority, and is part of the Health Board’s commitment to the local population to improve primary and community services.


I trust this information is of help to the Committee in their considerations.


Yours sincerely

Prof Trevor Purt

Chief Executive