More than £1.2bn required to upgrade North Wales health facilities
More than £1.2 billion will need to be invested as part of a major reconfiguration of health facilities in North Wales, it has been revealed.
The region’s health board has set out its vision to improve its hospitals and other buildings over the next 15 years.
Betsi Cadwaladr currently owns 137 properties across the area with an annual running cost of £63m.
However, senior figures have warned that a significant investment is needed to bring them up to modern standards, with the oldest facility at Denbigh Infirmary dating back to 1813.
A report set to be discussed by health officials shows that Wrexham Maelor Hospital and Ysbyty Gwynedd are among those most in need of upgrading, as well as smaller hospitals in Abergele and Llandudno.
It also describes a number of mental health units as no longer being ‘fit for purpose’.
Neil Bradshaw, assistant director of planning, said: “The existing estate poses significant challenges with respect to its age, condition, resilience and suitability to support modern care to the extent that it is not viable in the long term and is unable to support the future vision of care.
“Our estate must therefore change to meet the changing needs of our population.
“The design and layout of Ysbyty Gwynedd and Wrexham Maelor Hospital, which do not comply with current guidance, present risks with respect to infection prevention and do not support efficient working and new models of care.
“The project pipeline initially focuses upon the first three years, encompassing the health board’s three year planning cycle.
“Planning will progress for the future development and configuration of the Wrexham Maelor campus, Llandudno Hospital and Ysbyty Gwynedd.”
The health board has confirmed that acute hospital care will continue to be provided from the three main hospitals in the future.
Meanwhile, the region will be split into 14 clusters, each with a population of approximately 50,000, where local teams, GPs and mental health services will work with local authorities and other organisations to support patients.
The cost of maintaining the board’s current estate in North Wales has been estimated at £838million over the 15 year period.
However, Mr Bradshaw said that would not meet its long term aims, with £1.252bn outlined as the total amount required to realise those ambitions.
He said: “The proposed development of the estate to support the service strategy provides the opportunity to re-configure and rationalise the current portfolio.
“This strategy proposes consolidation of the estate to a smaller number of key strategic sites.
“Subject to engagement and, when appropriate, formal consultation the health board may reduce its portfolio by up to 30 per cent.
“Although these costs appear daunting it should be remembered that this investment is over the longer term, 15 years plus, and that the costs to maintain the retained estate will not be realised as the health board continues to rationalise the estate.”
The proposals will be discussed by board members at a meeting in Wrexham on Thursday.
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).
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