Minister goes public to say sorry

Reporter:

Claire Gallagher

HEALTH Minister Edwina Hart has made public a written apology sent to people unhappy with comments she made about children’s services.

Through the Welsh Assembly member for Wrexham, Lesley Griffiths, Mrs Hart has released a letter sent out to every person who got in touch with her.

Mrs Hart caused a storm of protest when she called campaigners fighting to save children’s services at the Maelor ‘mischief makers’.

In the letter she says her comments were not aimed at members of the public, “which of course includes those parents whose children use or have used the current services”.

She continues: “These views are, of course, welcomed. My comments were directed those who have a vested interest in any proposed changes to services.

“As Health Minister, I must ensure the best possible services are available when they are needed.

“In this challenging period, we must consider how we continue to provide services that are both safe and sustainable into the future.

“This must be done in a thoughtful and measured way, by listening to the views of those who would be directly affected by the changes, and by considering a number of options.

“The point I was making was that we must be careful not to jump to conclusions too early in this process, as this can create uncertainty and misunderstanding when discussions are just beginning.

“You will be aware the recent changes to the NHS bodies have resulted in more integrated ways of working, with more services being provided within communities – closer to people’s homes.”

Mrs Hart says she is pleased the Health Board is discussing its proposals “and would encourage constituents to contribute to these discussions”.

She is due to visit the Maelor soon to discuss services at a private meeting with concerned parents.

Ms Griffiths said: “I have now met on two occasions with the Minister to discuss children's services at the Maelor Hospital.

“She shares my concerns and is as equally upset about how this story has developed locally.”

She added: “The review taking place is a matter for the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, not the Health Minister.

“However, it is equally important that my constituents are aware that I am determined to stand up for children’s services at Wrexham Maelor Hospital.”

- What do you think? Email your views to news@leaderlive.co.uk. You can also see how this story developed at www.leaderlive.co.uk

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