Health watchdog fears over Wrexham baby unit shake-up

Reporter:

Staff Reporter

CAMPAIGNERS were out in force to show the strength of opposition to hospital cuts.

A crowd of about 75 people, including parents and children, gathered on Rhosddu Road, Wrexham, on Friday to voice their anger at plans set out by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

They include plans to relocate long-term intensive neonatal care from Wrexham Maelor and Ysbyty Glan Clwyd to Arrowe Park, Wirral.

They also gave the go-ahead to controversial plans to close minor injuries units at Flint, Ruthin, Llangollen and Chirk hospitals, and to close inpatient beds at Flint Community Hospital.

Protesters holding placards bearing slogans such as “Stop The NHS Cuts” held a rally in the park next to the office of Welsh Government Health Minister and Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths, as motorists sounded their horns in support.

Ruth Drake, who says her daughter Elin’s life was saved by doctors at Wrexham Maelor after complications when she was born, gave a speech in opposition to plans to move long term neonatal intensive care to Arrowe Park.

She said: “The reason why we’re all here is that we’re united in our opposition to hospital changes.

“If this doesn’t show the strength of feeling, I don’t know what will.

Marie Haines, who is campaigning to stop the closure of Llangollen Community Hospital, she said: “I’m really concerned from every angle about what they’re doing to our health service.

“I heard just this afternoon about an elderly man from Llangollen who had broken his leg and needed care close to home. But because Llangollen is not taking new admissions he was sent to Mold.”

She called on Lesley Griffiths to intervene and prevent the changes and following the rally the protesters marched past her office chanting “save our services”.

Mrs Griffiths was not believed to be in her office at the time.

Health watchdog body the Community Health Council (CHC) has until March 1 to decide if it will call a halt to proposals and refer the matter to Mrs Griffiths.

The Health Minister said: “I understand the strength of feeling and the concerns that people have.

“However, in my role as the minister for health and social services I am currently unable to make any further comments on the health board’s proposals due to my quasi-judicial role.

“The Community Health Council has six weeks to refer any or all of the health board’s proposals to me.

“If anyone wishes to contact me they are welcome to do so by email correspondence, lesley.griffiths@ wales.gsi.gov.uk or by post to the Department for Health, Social Services and Children, Welsh Government, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NQ.”

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