Countess of Chester

The people of Alyn and Deeside are quite rightly concerned about the news that the Countess of Chester have announced they will no longer be taking on patients from Wales for elective surgery. While this will not affect A&E or patients already accepted it is still totally unacceptable. 

The Countess of Chester was built to treat patients from within its proximity – and that included people here in Flintshire. It’s very important that this continues to be the case. 

Not allowing residents who in some cases live less than 5 miles away from the hospital, is nonsensical and it is incredibly irresponsible to suggest they cannot use the hospital. 

This whole issue stems down to the allocation of funding and the tariffs charged for operations. Since the announcement I have spoken at length with the Welsh Government Health Minister, Vaughan Gethin AM, the Welsh Government First Minister, Mark Drakeford AM, the chief executive of the Countess and the UK Minister of State for Health and social Care, Stephen Hammond MP. 

The Welsh and UK health minister are well aware of the urgency to resolve this issue and are looking to find a ministerial resolution at the earliest opportunity.  

A fair resolution that obviously involves the Countess being paid on time for the treatment they do on Welsh patients, but is in line with what the Welsh Government pays its Welsh hospitals and the other hospitals that are close to the border, needs to be found. 

In the meantime, it is not fair that the people of Alyn and Deeside are being used as pawns in this game of chess between the Countess and Welsh Government. It is no wonder that emotions are running high by those affected. 

Please be assured that all parties are aware of the strength of feeling towards this and have assured me that they will endeavour to deal with this matter as quickly as they can. 

I’d like to also take this opportunity to congratulate the new Leader of the Council, Cllr Ian Roberts. Ian takes on the responsibility at a very difficult time, but I am confident he will bring much needed stability to the Council. 

Ian has been a fantastic councillor over the years, and I am sure he will do a great job leading Flintshire Council.