BLAENAVON'S community hospital is to lose all of its in-patient beds in November, leaving local councillors furious.

Blaenavon's Mayor Cllr Janet Jones described the decision as "a fait accompli" and appealed to the Aneurin Health Board to listen to the views of residents and town council before going ahead.

Cllr Janet Jones and her colleagues are appealing for the health board to listen to the views of the town council and local residents before closing the facility.

The health board unveiled its plans to residents to close the nine in-patient beds at the hospital in mid November at a consultation meeting last week.

The hospital mainly treats people recovering from illness or trauma. It also has a minor accident and emergency ward, which will be unaffected by the proposed changes for the time being.

Health officials say the service has to modernise to develop healthcare that is "fit for the future". No jobs will be lost in the move.

It proposes instead to provide additional in-patient beds in the Arthur Jenkins Care Home and a medical health centre, if funding is found, at the Blaenavon Community Campus, and to provide more services to patients in their own homes.

But Cllr Jones said: "As councillors we are worried to death.

"We are asking the health board to listen to the council because I don't think they are doing that at the moment. It's a fait accompli."

And Cllr Brian Whitcombe added: "They seem to have cobbled this together. They are proposing a health centre at the community campus but if they get funding it won't be ready for 18 months."

The councillors fear that if this winter is as bad as the last the town will be cut off from medical care.

A spokesman for Aneurin Bevan said the board understands the depth of feeling but said the changes are essential.

"In the very near future our two new hospitals in Ystrad Mynach and Ebbw Vale, together with greatly enhanced community services, will be delivering care in, and much closer to, the homes of patients.

"We cannot stand still, we have to continue to modernise and improve services for our patients," he said.

He added that the recent announcement of £9 million from Welsh Assembly to transform community services demonstrates a commitment to investment in local community services so more patients can remain independent in their own homes.

There has been a hospital in Blaenavon since 1927.

The original hospital was situated in the park, in what is now formerly the Beeches Nursing Home.

The new healthcare unit as it currently stands was built 25 years ago and patients transferred from the old hospital (The Beeches) to the current site.

It opened as a 10-bed unit but now has nine in patient beds for people recovering from illness or trauma.