FEARS are growing patient care will suffer as hospitals struggle to balance the books.
Concern is mounting that financial shortfalls will mean fewer beds and reduced facilities at community hospitals in Flint and Holywell.
Maternity and children’s services could also be reduced at Wrexham Maelor Hospital.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) must save £64.6 million this financial year and says services will be affected unless action is taken.
Flint councillor Alex Aldridge said cuts in central funding would have “serious ramifications” for patients.
He said: “People should not be under any illusions that services are going to be maintained.
“Staffing, services and buildings are the biggest expenses and that is where the biggest savings can be made.
“There are going to be significant and serious ramifications on the health services we have come to expect over the last 20 years.”
Each year the Welsh Government spends about £6 billion on delivering health services through NHS Wales.
Funding comes from the block grant settlement received from the Westminster government.
In the past 12 months, Flint Community Hospital’s minor injuries unit temporarily closed twice and beds were also closed at Holywell Community Hospital.
BCUHB said the closures were due to staff sickness and not to save money but Holywell councillor Peter Curtis believes the future for both hospitals is “very precarious”.
“I have spoken to staff and they have told me they are already pushed to the limit,” he said. “I would fight any further reductions in staffing or services.
“The NHS is the jewel in this country’s crown and we must do everything possible to protect it.”
Maternity and children's services at Wrexham Maelor Hospital are currently being reviewed by BCUHB.
One option put forward would see some services moved to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and Ysbyty Gwynedd.
Parent Clare Brown, whose eight-year-old daughter Lauren died of cancer, organised a petition calling for services to be left as they are.
She said: “These services are vital for families and removing them would increase the strain and pressure at an already difficult time.”
Flintshire Council’s former executive member for health Carol Ellis said savings should be made by trimming senior management and not cutting frontline services.
“There are far too many managers and not enough frontline staff,” she said.
“We know savings need to be made but they can be made sensibly and without affecting the care given to patients.”
A spokesperson for BCUHB said: “Our main priority is and continues to be to maintain and improve the quality and safety of patient care.
“If we don’t address the financial problems and change how we organise care, then patient care will be affected.
“Work has been ongoing with staff and stakeholders to look at what changes are needed to the way we organise care and if the public wishes to join the debate they can log onto www. bcu.wales.nhs.uk to leave comments.”
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “Health boards have significant budgets and are required to live within their means whilst providing safe and sustainable services.”