A HEALTH board was accused of “trying to sell a time share” during an engagement session concerning the future of Barry Hospital’s Sam Davies ward.

Around 60 people, who attended a public engagement in the Memo, on Monday, September 23, saw Cardiff and Vale University Health Board representatives criticised for spending “53 minutes” presenting its’ proposals for closing the ward which caters for frail and older people.

The health board said it wants to encourage more frail and elderly people to receive care in their own homes sooner, rather than in a hospital.

The board said planning had started on developing Barry Hospital into the health and wellbeing centre for the Vale of Glamorgan and the proposal to close the beds in the Sam Davies ward did not signal any form of downgrading Barry Hospital.

But healthcare workers and staff have slated the proposals citing issues such as transport difficulties and how care in the community would work when various agencies would need to be involved.

Having rebelled against a round-table discussion, in favour of a shared public airing of views, one member of the audience said: “Not wanting to be disrespectful, but it feels like you are trying to sell a time-share.

“People want to speak here.

“You are trying to control this discussion.”

Audience members suggested the award-winning Sam Davies ward could be used as a model of excellence and improved on with its already high-standard of care rather than cut beds at a time when an increased and elderly population would be in need of more hospital beds.

A nurse said: “It’s an absolute disgrace.

“It’s all management, management.”

Audience members noted families would face difficulties visiting relatives in Llandough, or Cardiff’s St David’s or the University Hospital of Wales and highlighted the fact that many drive past Llandough Hospital to access the Park & Ride facility in Cardiff Bay.

They asked how long it would take to adapt homes, what capacity would there be for patients to transfer to care homes or who, with many of the patients’ relatives also of an older age, would be able to take care of them.

Following the session, Unison regional organiser, Andrew Woodman said: “The response from local people has been phenomenal.”

He said around 10,000 signatures had so far been received.

“Together we can keep this ward open.”

A Cardiff and Vale UHB spokeswoman said “We are engaging with our stakeholders on the proposals to improve care for frail older people in the Vale of Glamorgan.

“We would like to thank everyone who came along to the public engagement event and gave us their valuable feedback.

Once the engagement process has closed we will be analyse and consider all the feedback and the view of the Community Health Council to make a recommendation to our Board.”

“The engagement will close on November 1 and more information can be found at cardiffandvaleuhb.wales.nhs.uk/proposals-frail-older-people-vale

Unison will hold a protest march from Barry Hospital, in Colcot Road, to King Square, Barry, on Saturday, October 5.

All are invited to join the march which will assemble at the hospital from 11am.

Route details will be made public towards the time.

The walk to the town centre starts at 12pm with a rally in King Square planned at 1pm.