FOUR operating theatres at Wrexham Maelor Hospital will remain closed for a year, health chiefs have confirmed.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) confirmed that two endoscopy suites and two day-case theatres, which were temporarily closed earlier this year, will stay shut over the next 12 months to ‘determine whether further investment into the existing unit would represent value for money’.
Nigel Lee, the health board’s director of secondary care, said: “We temporarily closed two endoscopy suites and two day-case theatres at Wrexham Maelor Hospital earlier this year.
“This action was taken as a proactive measure after checks were carried out on our air ventilation and ducting systems with some technical problems being identified.
“Senior consultant leads for day surgery and endoscopy together with other clinicians have met regularly to look at ways to provide services which would have been carried out at the theatres.
“The two endoscopy suites and two day-case theatres will remain closed over the next 12 months in order to determine whether further investment into the existing unit would represent value for money. We are working closely with Welsh Government to review this.”
Mr Lee added that BCUHB had put plans in place for both endoscopy and day case surgery to ‘treat patients in as timely a way as possible’.
“We have put in place plans to provide for both endoscopy and day case surgery so we can treat patients in as timely a way as possible. These involve hiring mobile theatres and seeking to provide modular theatres by April of next year, ” he added.
“We have also hired theatre spaces at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital for Ophthalmology as part of our plans, which began (last) week.
“We understand that the closure of the existing day surgery and endoscopy unit is having an impact on patient waiting times. We are doing all we can to reduce this impact, and patients requiring urgent care will continue to be prioritised.”
The Leader reported in September that the four theatres had been closed. At the time, Mr Lee said: “There is no current clinical evidence which raises any concerns over recent surgical or investigative procedures. We are now looking at alternative ways to provide services which would have been carried out at the theatres.
“Inevitably, there will be an impact on the number of day case procedures we are able to carry out in the short term. We are doing all we can to reduce this impact, and patients requiring urgent care will continue to be prioritised.
“Surgical and investigative procedures will continue at existing theatre space at the hospital.”
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We can confirm the health board has submitted a business case for mobile theatres to Welsh Government which is now being given urgent consideration, given the need to maintain services and minimise the disruption to patients.”