‘No chance’ of funding for multi-million-pound hospital revamp
Richard Evans – Local Democracy Reporter
A councillor says a new multi-million-pound Rhyl hospital won’t be built any time soon with a decade having passed since the project was first announced.
The Welsh Government also warned of “significant capital cost pressures” and did not confirm whether any funding was in place for the revamp of the town’s Victorian Royal Alexandra Hospital.
A representative from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board is set to update Denbighshire ’s councillors this Thursday on the progress of redeveloping the hospital.
Health board director Alyson Constantine will address the council’s partnership scrutiny committee at Denbighshire’s County Hall in Ruthin.
The update follows a full council meeting in May when councillors backed a motion supporting a full business case to be made for the multi-million-pound redevelopment of the hospital.
Details of the hospital plans are featured on the health board’s website.
These include ‘fit for purpose’ facilities, inpatient beds, services for treating minor injuries and ailments, an intravenous therapies suite, and a community well-being hub and café.
The page, though, hasn’t been updated for three years but states: “Welsh Government has given approval for us to proceed to the next stage of project development, known as a Full Business Case.
“This includes developing detailed specifications of rooms and working through planning permission for the project.”
But progress has stalled, and funds are yet to materialise.
Rhyl councillor Brian Jones has now accused the Welsh Government of “playing with lives”, stating the development won’t happen in his lifetime.
Cllr Jones said: “My understanding is there is absolutely no sign of any funding for this North Denbighshire Hospital.
“Obviously I’m two steps away from the people who would make the decision on that, but my sources are telling me there’s absolutely no chance of any funding for that hospital.
“It is not going to happen in my lifetime. But I would love for somebody to correct me on what I’ve just said.
“I’m two steps away from the figures, but the estimate that is bandied about is around about £60m, but I could be way off the mark.
“They (Betsi/Welsh Government) promised the hospital over a decade ago. It is over ten years ago when it was first mooted around.”
He added: “Rhyl needs this because Betsi is the biggest monster authority in North Wales.
“It’s been in special measures twice in recent years, and to the person on the street, there is no improvement in the service that’s being delivered.
“A North Denbighshire Hospital would offer some relief to the day-to-day operations of Betsi.
“I wish the Welsh Government would find the money, but they are millions of pounds in the red. It is a fiasco, but you are playing with people’s lives, aren’t you?”
A Welsh Government spokewoman said: “There are significant capital cost pressures on current schemes. Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and its partners have been asked to consider all funding options available.”
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Denbighshire County Council were approached for a comment.
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