Battling on to save Wrexham children services

Reporter:

Claire Gallagher

MORE than half the required signatures have been collected in support of saving children’s services in Wrexham.

Campaigning mums are battling to save facilities at Wrexham Maelor Hospital following proposals to review maternity and children’s services in North Wales.

Wrexham mothers Ruth Drake and Clare Brown have so far collected 8,163 signatures.

They need to reach 15,000 for the Welsh Assembly Government to seriously consider the petition.

Ruth, who is mum to two-and-a-half year-old Elin Haf Drake who has severe cerebral palsy, explained: “Should the review ever get to public consultation stage, which may not be until after the Welsh Assembly elections in May, we want the signatures ready to present in order to help fight our cause.

“We want people to know we are still collecting signatures and we still need all the support we can get. We are really grateful for all the hard work that everybody who has collected signatures has already done.

“To meet Welsh Assembly guidelines we just need more.

“If you have already organised a petition and think you can get even more, or if you can put a petition in your partner’s workplace, then please get in touch.”

On Facebook a group called ‘Save Our Children’s Ward and Baby Unit, Wrexham!’ has more than 3,200 members.

Chief officer for the Betsi Cadwaladr Community Health Council, Pat Billingham, said a project board are to meet next week to continue discussions about children’s and maternity services.

She explained the health board was focusing on gathering information from clinicians before discussing any options to change services.

She said: “All the information gathered will be part of guiding the eventual decisions.

“It’s a major piece of work and it’s going to take a while.”

Mrs Billingham said the campaigning towards the end of last year came as something of a ‘wake-up call’ to the health board.

“They acted on the feedback from mums and people in North Wales,” she said.

“We’re happy with their progress and it will take as long as it takes.”

A spokeswoman from the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said: “The board wishes to make it clear that the three District General Hospitals in North Wales are essential and fundamental components of any future service plans.

“No decisions will be made until clinical agreement is reached and the views of
local people are taken into account.”

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