Maternity services shake-up fears for special care baby unit

Reporter:

Garth ApThomas

FEARS are mounting that Wrexham Maelor’s special care baby unit could be at risk as part of a major shake-up of maternity services.

Yesterday Health Minister and Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths published a 32-page report about the Welsh Government’s “vision” to improve provisions for childbirth.

And an extract from the report highlights the case for more centralisation.

It states: “While care should normally be provided as close to home as possible, specialist skills may need to be centralised and staffed accordingly.”

The comments have raised fears that closure measures may be on the cards.
North Wales Assembly Member Llyr Huws Gruffydd said: “The concern in Wrexham is that the special care baby unit, which is dealing with an increasing birth rate and growing population, could lose its high dependency cots and clinical expertise. The same concerns apply in Glan Clwyd.

“In turn this would lead to a loss of skilled personnel and increased risk as mums-to-be are expected to travel up and down the A55.”

Earlier this year the Leader reported campaigning mums Ruth Drake and Clare Brown were battling to protect facilities at the Maelor Hospital following proposals to review maternity and children’s services in North Wales.

Mrs Drake said she was now waiting for the outcome of a review by the local health board into maternity services.

“At this stage I don’t want to jump the gun and say anything which may worry people unnecessarily,” she added.

A spokesman for the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said there was an on-going review of maternity services and a progress report is expected to be made in November.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “The safety and quality of maternity services are key to our new strategy.

“It will be for health boards to work with their clinicians and service users in developing local proposals for safe, sustainable services that are of the highest possible quality, for the benefits of mother and baby.

“The document has been developed following a formal consultation with clinicians, service users and others with an interest in maternity services, who indicated their support for our vision for services in Wales.

“The principles of the document were developed by the previous Welsh Government.”

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