HEALTH bosses have revealed a community hospital has slashed bed spaces by nearly a third blaming staffing levels.

Colwyn Bay Community Hospital, which specialises in elderly inpatient care and GP medical beds, has lowered bed space provision due to ‘nursing vacancies’ and to maintain ‘safe staffing levels’.

The hospital normally has 42 inpatient beds in use, with the loss of 13 spaces they now only have enough beds for 29 patients.

This figure is reviewed on a weekly basis.

A spokesperson for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) said: “Both wards are open at Colwyn Bay hospital but not every bed space is in use as we have a number of nursing vacancies and have to ensure we have safe staffing levels to correspond with the number of patients admitted.

“We are actively recruiting and doing our best to increase staffing levels.”

Janet Finch-Saunders Assembly Member for Aberconwy, said: “This is quite shocking – almost a third of bed spaces not in use. If this is correct, this is becoming a crisis as regards care available for those requiring it.

“Colwyn Bay and Llandudno Community Hospitals have always been an integral part of the health service provision here in Conwy county.

“I urge the health board to look at better medium and long-term staff recruitment before this crisis deepens.

“I shall be writing to the chief executive of the health board to express my concern at such vacancies, as both Colwyn Bay and Llandudno hospitals serve my constituents of Aberconwy, amongst others, and it is vital that our sick and elderly are able to access these beds and receive the right care from nursing staff.

“I will be raising this as a matter of priority with the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Vaughan Gething AM.”

The Pioneer reported last week the decision to close Llandudno hospital’s Beuno ward ‘temporarily’ at the end of June due to low staff levels - equivalent of ten nurses.

Patients were transferred to other wards in the hospital – leading to the loss of one bed space.

AM for Clwyd West, Darren Miller, said: “With bed pressures at Glan Clwyd and Ysbyty Gwynedd it makes no sense for the health board not to be utilising available beds in community hospitals such as Colwyn Bay. It’s a false economy to choose not to use these due to so called staff shortages.

“The NHS in North Wales would be able to avoid much of the stress which has caused nursing staff to quit the profession if sufficient beds were available.”