HUNDREDS of people have joined a campaign to save children’s services at the Maelor Hospital.

More than 600 people have signed a petition just days after it was launched.

Clare Brown, one of the young mothers spearheading the campaign, says they are well on course to gather more than 1,000 names over the next few weeks.

When it is complete the petition will be handed in the Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board in a bid to persuade it not to axe vital local services.

At a crunch meeting held in Llandudno last Tuesday, 170 stakeholders, including parents, staff and partner organisations, met to discuss the way maternity, neonatal, gynaecology and child health services are delivered across the region.

Options under the microscope include retaining services at all three hospitals – Wrexham Maelor, Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and Ysbyty Gwynedd – establishing a two-site model at either Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and Ysbyty Gwynedd or at Ysbyty Gwynedd and the Maelor.

A proposal for a single paediatric unit at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd with day units at the Maelor and Ysbyty Gwynedd is also being considered.

News of the review sparked the launch of the fightback petition by Clare Brown, mother of eight-year-old Lauren Brown who died of cancer in February, and Ruth Drake, mother of toddler Elin Haf Drake who has cerebral palsy.

Both are grateful for the treatment their children received at the Maelor and are desperate to see children’s services retained there.

Clare, who helped to raise more than £15,000 for the children’s ward in memory of her daughter, said: “We have an online petition Save Wrexham Hospital’s Children’s Services.

“Up to now it is going really well and we have more than 600 signatures.

“We are also hoping to hand out hard copies of the petition for people to sign.

“The majority of people who have signed so far are Wrexham-based and are saying that something that belongs to Wrexham like the children’s unit at the Maelor should not be lost to the town.

“This all happened like a bolt out of the blue and people are just starting to realise what it means. The health board had held one meeting about this but nobody knew much about it.

“I know there are a number of options available but we hope common sense prevails and the children’s unit, which has been there since 1933, stays at the Maelor. People are saying that to lose it would be unthinkable.”

She added: “We know specialist children’s services are provided elsewhere, such as in Liverpool, but for normal everyday care it is reassuring to know that we have these services available at the Maelor.

“I know that with my daughter it was our security blanket.

“We are hoping to hand over the petition at the next meeting the health board has about this in November.”

- Essential maternity services should remain at the Wrexham Maelor Hospital, stresses Plaid Cymru’s Wrexham Assembly candidate Marc Jones.

He said: “The campaign that had grown around keeping the Special Care Baby Unit and other maternity services at Wrexham is an indication of how strongly local people felt about their NHS.

“Recent meetings to outline the possibilities have shown that Wrexham scores well when it comes to delivering a service to an area with a growing and youthful population.

“It is also well placed to serve North Powys and the population down towards Barmouth.

“It would also provide an alternative to people opting to go to Shrewsbury or Chester to have their babies, which comes at an additional cost to the NHS in Wales.”

- The Leader would like to point out that the picture accompanying the story headlined “Save Our Children’s Ward”, published on Tuesday, October 5, was not of Clare Brown, as stated in the caption.

We would like to apologise for the error.