THREE-quarters of people in community hospital beds in North East Wales do not need to be in hospital.
That's the finding of an independent review of community hospitals in North East Wales commissioned by Local Health Boards in Wrexham and Flintshire in partnership with the North East Wales NHS Trust.
It examined the work carried out in hospitals in Chirk, Llangollen (which comes under Conwy & Denbighshire NHS Trust), Deeside, Flint, Holywell and Mold and considered how better use can be made of the hospitals by introducing new approaches to care.
The report recognised the good practice of the hospitals but highlighted problems which the Trust needs to sort out.
It suggests better use could be made of the beds in the community hospitals - on average a quarter of the beds in community hospitals are empty at any one time, while up to three-quarters of patients have no medical need to be in hospital.
However, the report also highlighted that a wider range of community nursing and social care would need to be available to support these patients away from a hospital setting.
The report has also raised concerns over the long-term future of three of the hospitals.
Flint, Holywell and Llangollen Hospitals have only around half the minimum number of beds recommended by the Welsh Assembly for a community hospital. It singled out the fact the buildings were all built before the 1940s and do not offer a suitable environment for modern healthcare.
Already there are plans to address the problem in Holywell, while more detailed consideration will be given to the services at Flint and Llangollen.
The Trust's director of planning, Neil Bradshaw, said: 'Community hospitals are a crucial part of our overall services. They give local communities easier access to healthcare and help us in our efforts to look after patients as close as possible to their own homes.
'In recent years we have made considerable investment in our community hospital sites and we want to continue this process of development.
'This report provides a starting point for a systematic review of these units to ensure we make best use of these facilities and they give maximum benefit to our patients.'