TOP health bosses have said the NHS is facing its worst crisis in more than 30 years as budget cuts over four years could slash spending by a quarter.

Board members from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board have vowed to retain links with specialist services such as the neurological centre at Walton and have said that there are no plans to remove maternity services from the Wrexham Maelor or Glan Clwyd Hospital.

They also said there are difficulties in attracting doctors to the region and that sending Welsh patients to the Countess of Chester Hospital is costly.

Speaking at a meeting of Flintshire Council’s social health care scrutiny committee, health board chairman Michael Williams said the maternity services process remains at a review stage.

He said: “With the maternity and childcare review we are looking at a mode that will allow us to run a more sophisticated service.”

But he added: “We are not closing any maternity ward, we are not closing any paediatric ward.”

The health board is expected to see a reduction in spending by 20 to 25 per cent over four years as spending cuts hit.

Head of nursing Jill Galvani said: “I have been in the NHS for 30 years and I haven’t known it to be like this. We are trying to reduce waste so we are putting our resources to the best use, but it is tough out there.”

The health board is also looking at care models which see people spend less time at hospital and undergo recuperation at home if it is safe to do so.

Speaking about the links between the region and the Countess of Chester Hospital, Mr Williams said treating patients there was “very expensive.”

He said: “Personally, I would prefer that we deliver services to a stage where people feel less of a need to go to an English provider. But we cannot force change for an area where people have had that option for decades.”