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Welsh MPs slam plan to cut hospital beds

13 June, 2008  

National Health Service (NHS) proposals to withdraw hundreds of hospital beds in Wales, UK so that more patients can be treated in the community have been condemned as a cost-cutting measure.

Welsh Assembly members were responding to BBC reports that up to 600 beds in Cardiff could be cut over the next 10 years. The move would affect Wales’s biggest hospital, the University Hospital of Wales, and could also see two rehabilitation units replaced with a new centre.

The announcement came just a day after it emerged that Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust needed to save £30m. The creation of a special credit card is being looked at as a way to generate more money for the city’s health service.

“On the surface these proposals appear to be more about saving money than improving patient care,” said shadow health minister Jonathan Morgan.

“There is certainly a need to increase capacity for rehabilitation facilities so people can be more effectively cared for. But we should not seek to decimate capacity at our major flagship hospitals simply to provide more rehabilitation beds elsewhere.”

Liberal Democrat spokeswoman and Cardiff Central AM Jenny Randerson added: “They are claiming that they can cut these beds by putting patients in the community. This will not work until the community element has been built up first.”

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Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust