HEALTH chiefs will now take more time to consider the future of maternity and child health services in the region.
And the mum fighting to keep these services at Wrexham Maelor Hospital has welcomed the development.
Options currently being looked at by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board 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.
The proposals have sparked a huge public backlash, led by Wrexham mothers Clare Brown and Ruth Drake, who have organised a petition calling for all the
services to be left as they are.
This now has more than 1,000 names online plus almost 400 on paper.
The health board has now confirmed it will take more time to review the services.
The original consultation period was due to finish at the end of this month but will now run until the end of November, with the matter being considered by the board at its meeting in January.
The board says further meetings will be held in the coming weeks with consultants, GPs, the voluntary sector and local authority representatives across North Wales.
Dr Brendan Harrington, consultant paediatrician and chief of staff for children and young people said: “We know that people have strong views on these issues and by allowing more time we can ensure that all of these are considered as part of the review.
“The reason that all options need to be discussed with a wide range of stakeholders is to identify the challenges they pose.
“We now need to focus on finding solutions to these challenges if we are to provide safe, high quality services for our patients now and in the future.”
Clare Brown said: “I welcome this development as this will give people more time to talk about what is being proposed.
“We began the campaign because nobody knew what was going on and in just a few weeks it has gone for something quite small to something huge.”
Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths has met Wales’ Health Minister Edwina Hart to argue to the case for Wrexham Maelor children's services.
Ms Griffiths said: “Several constituents have contacted me who are very concerned that such a closure is being considered. I fully share their concerns. Wrexham is the largest town in North Wales and the excellent children's services we have at the Maelor must continue.”