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Concerns raised over loss of health services if £122m programme gets the green light

01 Aug 2022 3 minute read
North Powys Wellbeing Campus graphic – how the campus could look. Powys County Council

Elgan Hearn, local democracy reporter

Councillors have raised concerns over the potential loss of health services when facilities are centralised in Newtown as part of the North Powys Wellbeing programme.

The programme is a collaboration between Powys County Council and Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB) and will bring health, social care, education, voluntary sector and housing together in one place on a campus in the Park area of Newtown.

The £122m programme will be funded by Welsh Government, and aims to reduce the need for patients to travel for treatment outside of Powys.

The council’s Health and Care scrutiny committee heard an update on the joint project after several new councillors joined the committee and Nigel Brinn replaced the council’s departing director of social services, Ali Bulman.

Early days

Cllr Gareth Morgan is one of two county councillors representing Llanidloes which has its own hospital – Llanidloes & District War Memorial Hospital.

Cllr Morgan said: “What I want to be certain about is services are not taken away from there and placed in Newtown – so it makes it further for our community to travel to access those services.

“We continue to have services provided from Bronglais (hospital in Aberystwyth) which is our primary source of expertise.”

Cllr Morgan felt it important that this issue is factored in from the start.

He feared that if these concerns were brought up later on in the project, after service provision had been worked out – he would be told “it’s too late now.”

Mr Brinn said that still “early days” and he would flag up the issue to his health board colleagues.

He also believed that there would be a consultation process once “specifics” of what services will be provided at the campus are finalised.

Committee chairwoman, Cllr Amanda Jenner said: “It’s early days but it’s worth us sowing our seeds of where our concerns are.”

Cllr Jenner said that as the scheme grows getting people to see the project as one for “North Powys and not just for Newtown” will be the challenge.


PTHB project manager, Sali Campbell-Tate said that work is being done on analysing how far and how long it takes people to travel to access current health services, and then comparing those times and distances if these services were provided in Newtown.

Ms Campbell-Tate said: “That doesn’t focus just on the Newtown population but on the whole of North Powys.

Ms Campbell-Tate explained that one of the questions being considered is whether Machynlleth residents continue to travel out of county to Bronglais hospital in Aberystwyth if they were offered the same treatment, but quicker, in Newtown.

It is hope that the campus will be built and open by 2026.

The proposals include:

  • New school building for Ysgol Calon y Dderwen.
  • Health and care facilities, including the potential to conduct some outpatient diagnostic services and day-surgery as well as 32 in-patient beds and services currently delivered at the Park Street Clinic.
  • Health and care academy.
  • Library provision.
  • Shared community space.
  • Community garden space.
  • Short-term supported living accommodation.

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago

Mark if you’re there…

Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
1 year ago

I do not see infrastructure being addressed here. Its all very well putting everything in one place, a good idea even, but if the infrastructure isn’t addressed then people will not be able to use it as intended. Travel connections need to be addressed and so does the cost of that travel in terms of personal economies of service user and in the impact on the environment. My worry is that a lot of plans of this kind are not thought-out in good detail. How the person furthest away on the lowest income access this project should always be one… Read more »

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
1 year ago

Not really sure what’s going on in Powys with the health service, residents of Powys get shipped off in all directions to receive treatment, My partner has to go for an op on her foot in Llandrindod, over an hour away, no direct public transport available, so I’ll have to have a days pay to take her, at some point I’ve got to go for an op in Cwmbran, again, over an hour away, and I’ll have to be driven, so she’ll lose a days work, 2 years ago my daughter in law was sent to Gloucester to have her… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago

If you are in Abermaw there are three hospital you can visit, Bangor an hour away, Aberystwyth, also an hour away but in the summer with road works add another half hour. The third is Wrecsam, from the sea to the border with England, well over an hour away and a 50mph limit in places. We in Meirionnydd have lived with this since medicine outgrew the cottage hospital. We must thank all those fundraisers for the air-ambulance… So traditionally when I think of North Powys I think of Shrewsbury Hospital. But why a town the size of Newtown with its… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Mab Meirion

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