A month into the construction of a long-awaited new unit at Llanidloes Hospital, another looks set to be stripped back from five days a week to just two.

The Penrallt Day Unit could see its opening hours severely cut as Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB) attempts to plug staffing shortages across the region.

It comes in the middle of a major project to create a Palliative Care Unit at the hospital, which fundraisers in the community have ploughed £70,000 into over the last two years.

Cllr Margot Jones, Secretary of the Hospital League of Friends, broke the bad news at Llanidloes Town Council’s monthly meeting on Monday.

She said: “The public have gone out of their way to support a major development, while the last major development they supported is to be partially closed.

“The Llanidloes people raised the money to pay for the Penrallt Unit some years ago. Now we are providing a new service, another service is closing.

“We have not been given any reason for this and I think the town deserves an answer.

“We need to let the health board know that Llanidloes people will not put up with this.

“It is not good enough and I hope this council will make a protest.”

Other councillors were equally angered by the revelation, and said the matter needed to be taken further than the local health board.

Cllr Gareth Morgan said: “I support every word Cllr Jones has expressed. It’s a total disgrace.

“If we don’t receive and explanation that’s acceptable, we should summon them for a public meeting.

“We need to remind them about all the money raised by the town for this new unit.

“We should write to the Health Minister. I would hope the Welsh Government is prepared to help communities that help themselves.”

Alan Lawrie, Director of Primary and Community Care and Mental Health for PTHB, said the potential cutback was down to staff shortages, but stressed no final decisions had yet been made.

He said: “As we head into the winter it is vitally important that inpatient services across the county are available for people who need them.

“Unfortunately in Llanidloes we currently have a number of vacancies on the ward despite repeated efforts to recruit nurses to the team.

“Whilst we have no firm proposals at this stage, understandably we are seeking views and discussing a wide range of options with staff and stakeholders to help us protect inpatient services for the months ahead.”