A vital service which provides specialist treatment of painful conditions is set to close this year, leaving some Mid Wales patients 'completely devastated'.

The chronic pain service at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, Oswestry(RJAH) says it will close it's doors at the end of March 2019 due to the impact of new guidelines issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), leaving around 400 patients in Mid and North Wales left to make alternative arrangements.

The service currently relies on one consultant and one specialist nurse, a situation which means it is "not as robust as we would like," and "too fragile to continue safely," hospital bosses say.

Mark Brandreth, Chief Executive, said: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly, and one we believe is necessary to ensure safe care for our patients.

“Changes to NICE recommendations on the treatment options we provide, and the impact on that has had on the way the service is commissioned as a result, mean that the number of patients being referred to the service has been falling. That has made it impossible to continue to provide a safe and efficient service.

“We are writing to every patient who will be affected by this, and we are working with the local CCGS and Health Boards to ensure patients are transferred safely to an alternative provider.”

Powys health campaigner and County Councillor Joy Jones said the decision meant it was "another important service lost" to patients in Mid Wales.

"I spoke to a patient who has been left feeling completely devastated, this service is extremely important to patients that need and use it," she said.

"Anyone living in constant pain it is so important that help and support is easier available. The loss of this service will have a knock on affect on peoples wellbeing and health, and it could put extra pressures on the already stretched GP service as people turn to them for the help they need. "

Dr Julie Davies, Director of Performance and Delivery at NHS Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Patient safety is paramount and services must be robust and fit-for-purpose.

“The new NICE guidelines reflect the clinical changes in treatment options for pain management services across the NHS. This has meant a higher proportion of patient treatment occurs in community settings and there is a lower demand for acute hospital care.

The hospital says new referrals are no longer being accepted for the chronic pain service at RJAH, but any patients currently under the care of the team will continue to be seen up until March 31.