PATIENTS using renal services at Welshpool Victoria Memorial Hospital have been given an apology by North Wales' Betsi Cadwaladr Univeristy Health Board (BCUHB).

The apology is for being left out of the decision making process that could see the service privatised.

The renal unit at the hospital in Welshpool can provide kidney dialysis for up to 24 people a day.

Renal Services Manager, Toni Hamlett, has written to patients explaining the situation regarding the changes to renal services across the health board and what this could mean to patients in Powys.

But the life saving service is actually provided by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board which covers North Wales.

This means that renal unit at Welshpool is in effect a satellite of the unit based at Wrexham.

Patients in Powys have been scared that the service could be relocated away from Welshpool- which could mean long distances to travel for treatment each week.

But the letter explaining the situation has calmed some fears.

Renal Services Manager Toni Hamlett, said: "I apologise that as a group of services users within the renal unit in Welshpool you feel left out of process we are currently going through.

"We aim to ensure that there is continuous engagement with patients and the wider public when we are redeveloping services, I am sorry you have had to raise concerns."

She said that at the moment BCUHB are still considering a range of options to determine the best model for the service that also represents the best value for money.

She continued: "The service within Welshpool remains as it is, with some improvements these will include the timely replacement of equipment.

"Shared care will not be changed and as such there will be no adverse effect of collaborative working between Wrexham, Shrewsbury, medical staff, nursing staff and local GP practices.

"It will always be the aim of both BCUHB and The Welsh Renal Clinical Network to dialyse patients closer to home, so priority will continue to focus on providing dialysis slots in Welshpool to Powys patients."

But despite assurances from the top in Wales, First Minister Carwyn Jones, that there will be no privatisation of NHS services, it has been confirmed that nursing staff could be taken on by a new private employer under TUPE (The Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employments) and that the service could be privatised with the company managing the staff and equipment.