HEALTH Minister Edwina Hart created a storm today for branding hospital campaigners mischief- makers.

She attacked mothers opposing plans for a major shake-up in children’s hospital services saying they should stop upsetting and worrying people unnecessarily.

But her comments infuriated mothers leading the protest against changes which could hit maternity and special care baby services at the Maelor Hospital.

Campaigner Ruth Drake said: “We’re talking about children’s lives. How can someone in such a senior position as Ms Hart make surch heartless remarks about such an important issue?”

She said they totally understood that no decisions have yet been taken.

“All we are doing, as a body, is simply voicing an opinion to see if there is any way we can retain these services.

“The use of the word mischief implies that this is just a piece of fun for us, but as parents it’s so much more.

“Any decisions made are going to make huge differences to our lives.”

“It was just about explaining an opinion on the possibilities - it was never meant to be mischievious in any way.

Mrs Drake said no one was condeming health board members for making these decisions.

“From a professional point of view it must be very, very difficult. We understand it may not go our way but we feel we have a right to express our views and to tell other parents what discussions are going on.”

See today's Leader for the full interview with minister – page 6; Comment – page 13.