A WOMAN from Prestatyn has set up a petition aiming to cause the Welsh Government to agree to the construction of a proposed new community hospital in Rhyl.

It was hoped that work on the North Denbighshire Community Hospital would have begun by December 3, subject to capital funding being released by the Welsh Government.

But a final decision on the hospital, to be situated next to the existing Royal Alexandra Hospital, has yet to be made.

Prestatyn resident Sarah Palin said she made the petition because she believes a community hospital in Rhyl would help remedy staffing crises and cause Glan Clwyd Hospital in Bodelwyddan to become less overwhelmed.

Sarah said: “It’s been planned for a few years, and it’s dragged on for such a long time. I just thought it might help to put a bit of pressure on the Welsh Government to make the decision.

“People have difficulty getting ambulances because the ambulances are all queuing up, waiting to get people into A&E, and A&E is full because people can’t get beds in the hospital, because people can’t get discharged and are ‘bed-blocking’. There’s a domino effect there.

“Glan Clwyd Hospital is overwhelmed, and a lot of people would be better served by a community hospital. It would be a good thing for the community as a whole to have that increased capacity.

“There are staff shortages as well, so we also need more doctors and nurses, and in the time it takes to build a hospital, hopefully we could train up some more nurses, at least.

“I have friends and family who work for the NHS so I have some knowledge of their problems; they’re routinely overworked, especially nurses.

“It’s well-known that there are a lot of nursing vacancies and they’re short-staffed. It’s been a problem for several years. Glan Clwyd has been overstretched.”

Sarah’s petition can be found at: petitions.senedd.wales/petitions/245055.

Should it reach 250 signatures, it will be discussed by the government’s Petitions Committee, and if it reaches 10,000, it will be considered for a debate in the Senedd.

A Welsh Government spokesperson told the Journal: "The business case for the Royal Alexandra Hospital scheme has gone through the scrutiny process.

"Welsh ministers will now make a final decision on the scheme and the health board will be informed as soon as that decision is made."

This was confirmed by a Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) spokesperson, who added that they are awaiting the Welsh Government’s response.

Services at the new hospital will include community beds, a same-day minor injuries and illness service, a treatment zone, and outpatient therapy and intravenous therapy services.

In November 2019, Kier was appointed to manage all construction and planning of the hospital which is set to cost roughly £64million.

Dr James Davies, MP for Vale of Clwyd, shared his support for Sarah’s efforts to put pressure on the Welsh Government to give the plans the green light.

Dr Davies had previously been informed by Jo Whitehead, chief executive of BCUHB, that "I am pleased to confirm that we have now reached agreement with the contractor based upon a start date of no later than December 3, 2021".

He said: “I commend Sarah on her initiative in setting up a petition on this matter, and I strongly encourage the Welsh Government to commit now to supporting the Royal Alexandra Hospital development in full.

“Not only can a new Royal Alex relieve pressure on Glan Clwyd Hospital, but it can help address health inequalities, provide better healthcare for local deprived communities, and assist in the regeneration of Rhyl.

“I look forward to a response from the Welsh minister to my recent letter about its capital programme and the need to allow this much-needed development to proceed as soon as possible.”