PLANS to close a hospital ward led to an impassioned debate among county councillors.

Councillors from all corners of Monmouthshire - and all political parties - urged their local authority to fight the closure at Chepstow Community Hospital.

The 15-bed St Pierre ward has been earmarked for closure by the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) as part of proposals to redesign adult health services in Gwent.

A joint motion submitted by a Labour councillor and a Conservative counterpart urged the council to work with ABUHB to find “positive and futuristic ways” to save the service.

At the Monmouthshire council meeting on Thursday, Cllr Tony Easson (Dewstow) said Chepstow was receiving the “thin end of the wedge yet again”.

He said: “We’ve lost the accident and emergency unit, the minor injuries unit and now we could well be losing the dementia unit.

“It’ll finish up as a glorified doctor’s surgery if we don’t really fight for it.”

It was revealed at the meeting that council representatives had previously asked ABUHB why the Chepstow ward was the preferred option for closure.

Cllr Penny Jones (Raglan) said that they were also asked whether any savings generated from its closure would be reinvested back into the hospital.

The cabinet member for social care, safeguarding and health also said that there had been “no engagement” between the health board and the council.

A project defining the future role and function of Chepstow Hospital will report back to council before June 2018.

Cllr Paul Pavia (Larkfield) called for ABUHB to enter into “robust and meaningful discussions” with patients and communities regarding its redesign proposals.

“The consultation process is a bit of a sham, my view is that the health board should be doing a lot more in terms of community engagement,” he said.

“I know only too well that there is an engaged community here. They and their relatives want a broad range of services at Chepstow, rather than going elsewhere.

“Why should we be dragging older, vulnerable people all over Gwent to access services?”

Cllr Armand Watts (Thornwell), whose mother is an outpatient of the dementia ward, added: “I think that this proposal is fundamentally detrimental to the wellbeing of the people that I represent. If you’re an elderly man or elderly woman having to care for your loved one, the expectation is that you’re supposed to get down to St Woolos.”

A public meeting on the matter will be held at Chepstow leisure centre at 10am on Tuesday, November 14.

The consultation on the adult health services redesign will run until January 26, 2018.