Minister in talks with campaigning mums from Wrexham

Reporter:

Claire Gallagher

A GROUP of campaigning mums have met with Health Minister Edwina Hart about the future of children’s services in Wrexham.

Ruth Drake and Clare Brown have been trying to raise public awareness following announcements by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board that children’s and maternity services across North Wales were under review.

Ruth and Clare, along with other mums campaigning to retain children’s services at the Maelor Hospital, met with Mrs Hart following a row during which she referred to the campaigners as ‘mischief makers’.

Mrs Hart apologised following her remarks and said she would be happy to talk to the mothers during a private meeting.

Ruth said: “We were able to have a good discussion with Mrs Hart and she listened carefully to all our concerns and it was encouraging.

“We were very grateful that she made the trip to see us from Cardiff in the bad weather.

“It was nice to be able to discuss our opinions with her, we aired our concerns and I think she took everything we said on board.

“She was very understanding and listened carefully.”

The campaigners are still collecting signatures in support of the children’s services at the Maelor and have more than 8,000 now.

Health chiefs at the Betsi Cadwaladr have taken a step back in the process and say they do not have any definite proposals at the moment.

Trystan Pritchard, a spokesman from the health board, said that “more conversations” were needed between specialists, midwives and GPs before any decision is made.

Following this announcement the chairman of the Betsi Cadwaladr Community Health Council, David Cooper welcomed the move.

The Community Health Council is responsible for scrutinising any proposals made by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

Mr Cooper said: “I am pleased that the Health Board have decided to go back to square one and so enable all parties to consider, debate and comment on proposals.

“What has to emerge is a Health Service fit for purpose in the 21st century, one that when in place will set the pace for many years to come.”

Chief Officer of the Community Health Council, Pat Billingham, said the health board was shocked by the public reaction to the initial proposals. “I think it hit a raw nerve as they are two emotive subjects,” she said.

See full story in the Leader

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