The temporary closure of a hospital ward in Tywyn has been raised in the Senedd. Dwyfor Meirionnydd MS, Mabon ap Gwynfor, has called on the First Minister of Wales to set out how the Welsh government will support pressing efforts to recruit nurses to enable the safe reopening of the inpatient ward at Tywyn Hospital. He also asked about the reopening of the hospital's Minor Injuries Unit .
Mr ap Gwynfor and MP Liz Saville Roberts have also met with health board bosses to seek urgent assurances on the immediate and long-term provision of care at Tywyn Hospital, following the recent closure of the inpatient ward.
The re-opening of both the inpatient ward and Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) is dependent on the recruitment of 8 registered nurses. Since a £5 million investment in 2013, the community hospital has lost its Maternity services, Minor Injuries Unit and inpatient ward.
Mr ap Gwynfor, Mrs Saville Roberts and local councillors in south Meirionnydd recently urged the health board to provide a clear timetable for the reopening of both wards and sought clarity as how the vacant nursing positions will be advertised.
Raising the matter with the First Minister, Mr ap Gwynfor MS said: "Back in 2013 the then health minister, our current First Minister, welcomed a £5m investment to Tywyn Community Hospital. Announcing the investment, he said, 'An increase in bed numbers and the integration of several services here will enable more people to be cared for closer to home in an environment which is fit for purpose.'
"A decade on and things have taken a dramatic turn for the worse. The Maternity Unit has been closed, the Minor Injuries Unit has been closed, and only two weeks ago and without notice, the inpatient ward was closed – we are told temporarily. These were the very services exalted by the First Minister back in 2013.
"This series of closures are largely the consequence of a failure to retain and recruit staff – particularly nurses. What we’re seeing in Tywyn will be repeated elsewhere soon. To reopen the inpatient ward, we need four nurses on Bands 6 and 7 and another four to reopen the Minor Injuries Unit. "What steps is the government taking to support the health board to recruit nurses to Tywyn and north Wales so that my constituents can be cared for closer to home and in an environment which is fit for purpose?"
Mrs Saville Roberts added: "We recently met BCUHB to convey our concerns at the abrupt manner in which this decision was communicated and to seek firm assurances that urgent steps are being taken to fulfil the staffing shortage and safely re-open the ward.
"BCUHB officials agreed to our demand for a clear timetable for the reopening of both the inpatient ward and the MIU, including a detailed brief of the health board’s strategy to recruit nursing staff and how these jobs will be advertised. "Regular fortnightly meetings will be held with BCUHB officials (the next one this week) to enable us to update residents of the area served by Ysbyty Tywyn. The people of Tywyn and Bro Dysynni deserve nothing less."
Hear what Mr ap Gwynfor and the First Minister had to say in the video above.