A new renal unit built by a private firm has raised fears of 'creeping NHS privatisation' according to two Powys County Councillors.

On Monday, January 28, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BUHB) which runs renal services in Welshpool and North Wales announced plans for a new unit on Mold, Flintshire to be built, equipped and staffed by an independent provider.

Last year, campaigners at Welshpool's renal unit successfully fought off plans to privatise jobs at the centre, and now Independent Welshpool councillor Graham Breeze believes the new moves from BUHB are a step back towards 'creeping privatisation' of the service.

“We must stand side by side with the nursing staff at both Welshpool and Wrexham to ensure that we don’t see creeping privatisation," he said.

“It is vital that we remain vigilant because last year’s promises by Welsh Government can soon be forgotten and we have an absolute duty to protect the future of the outstanding facility in Welshpool for both patients and staff.”

Councillor Elwyn Vaughan, Plaid Cymru leader at PCC, added to the calls for vigilance.

“It’s not the first – in the Betsi Cadwalader region both Bangor and Alltwen, Porthmadog dialysis units are already run by private companies and hence we need continued vigilance to ensure that the Welshpool unit continues to be an integral part of the NHS.

“This is creeping privatisation of our NHS that Labour rails against in England but is complicit in Wales,” he added.

A statement from BUHB said the agreement with 'Renal Services UK Limited' would mean millions of pounds of new facilities and equipment for the existing units in Bangor, Alltwen, Wrexham and Welshpool, as well as the new satellite unit being built in Mold.

They said nursing staff at the health board's sites would continue to be employed by the NHS, but redevelopment of the Wrexham site and all equipment across both sites would be provided by the private contractor.

Gill Harris, Executive Director Nursing and Midwifery said: "This has been a robust and thorough review to find the best way of providing our patients with high quality, safe services in a modern and fit-for-purpose environment. We looked at a range of options during this process and our final option mirrors our current model in that our renal services are provided by either the NHS, an independent provider or a combination of the two.

"This agreement will allow much needed improvements to be made to our existing facilities, as well as bringing in new equipment and a brand new unit in Mold so that people can receive their care and support as close to home as possible."