COUNCILLORS believe that issues with empty beds at a Health and Social Care Centre in Builth Wells have been solved.

On Monday, January 13, Health and Social Care scrutiny committee meeting councillors were given a report by Powys County Council’s (PCC) head of adult social services commissioning Dylan Owen on Glan Irfon.

The occupancy dipped down to as low as 150 bed days in July 2019 which coincided to when Shaw Health Care took over running Glan Irfon from previous providers Bupa.

Mr Owen explained: “Shaw took over from Bupa about eight months ago.

“Around that time, June/July the occupancy levels dropped significantly and that was around the time of the contract handover.

“A number of questions have been asked about the work being done a Glan Irfon, they have been raised at this scrutiny committee and by individual councillors.

“There’s been much work  at Glan Irfon to make sure it is and continues to be what it was set out to be which is an intermediate care service.

“Shaw have done a lot of work at Glan Irfon and have reviewed the needs of the service looking at whether the equipment is appropriate.

“And if the overall environment of building and the surrounding area is appropriate for ‘reablement’.”

Mr Owen continued: “Occupancy levels have increased dramatically to where –  last Friday (January 10) it was full.

“Last Monday (January 6) there was one vacancy that was filled almost immediately on Monday evening.

“It has a really important and invaluable role supporting people coming out of hospital.

Committee chairman, Cllr Gwilym Williams (Conservative – Disserth and Trecoed), said that concerns had been raised at a meeting in September when Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB) chief executive Carol Shillabeer had been present

“That has now shot up – which is good thing,” said Cllr Williams.

Cllr Jackie Charlton (Libera; Democrat – Llangattock) added: “It is all good news.

“I think that long term this model could be repeated elsewhere.”

In the report Shaw have given information on on the admissions and discharges from June to December 2019 for the 12 beds at the facility.

During December there were 372 available bed days of which 327 were occupied which gave an average occupancy rate of 87.90 per cent.

The unit was fully occupied for 13 days during December.

But from June to December the average occupancy was  73.75 per cent.

Called a ‘reablement’ unit, Glan Irfon has 12 beds which are bought in block by PCC and PTHB, with PCC acting as the lead commissioner.

Reablement is the term used for helping people with poor physical or mental health to come to terms with their illness and re-learn the skills necessary for independent living.

The £5 million centre paid for by The Welsh Government, opened in 2013 and brought together health and council services under one roof.

It replaced a small community hospital  built in 1897 and was seen as a pilot scheme for how health and council services could be rolled out in rural areas.