Friday, 8 October 2010

Key maternity services must stay in Wrecsam

Essential maternity services should remain at the Wrecsam Maelor hospital, according to Plaid Cymru's Wrecsam Assembly candidate Marc Jones.

Mr Jones said the campaign that had grown around keeping the Special Care Baby Unit and other maternity services at Wrexham was an indication of how strongly local people felt about their NHS. He added:
"The Special Care Baby Unit is effectively an emergency unit dealing with premature and sick neonates. New babies are among the most unpredictable of patients and need immediate treatment rather than facing a possible 45-minute emergency dash up the A55.

"Recent meetings to outline the possibilities have shown that Wrexham scores well when it comes to delivering a service to an area with a growing and youthful population. It is also well placed to serve North Powys and the population down towards Barmouth. It would also provide an alternative to people opting to go to Shrewsbury or Chester to have their babies, which comes at an additional cost to the NHS in Wales."

He said the clinical case for reducing services, which has been cited by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board as a reason for wanting to centralise maternity services in one or two centres across North Wales, should not be used as an excuse to cut costs.

Mr Jones, who is also a councillor in the town, added:
"North Wales's hospitals deal with 7,300 births a year - more than any other board area in Wales - and it currently has three neonatal units to deal with sick and premature babies at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and Ysbyty Wrecsam Maelor.

"Feedback from the recent stakeholders' meeting in Llandudno revealed that the option ticking the most boxes is one that keeps the Special Care Baby Units in Wrecsam and Gwynedd.

"There is a good objective case to retain the SCBU in Wrecsam and I hope NHS bosses will recognise that. They should not use their need to cut spending by 9% to reduce essential services, especially as the proposed specialist ambulance service available would only operate for 12 hours. Emergency services can't work 9-5 - they have to be available on a 24-hour basis."

He expressed support for the online petition and Facebook campaign started by mothers who had direct experience of the care provided on the unit. He added:
"Given that one in 10 new-born babies spends some time on the unit, it's no surprise that so many people have a very deep emotional involvement in the unit."

UPDATE: Join the parents' protest on Facebook.


Anonymous said...

So you would prefer services to be downgraded at Glan Clwyd ?

Plaid Whitegate said...

As I said, the clinical assessment carried out for the stakeholders' meeting seems to favour a two-centre solution based on Gwynedd and Wrecsam. The specific geographical needs of our area may mean these have to be disregarded so that a three-centre solution is adopted to ensure patient safety.

Dr Eamonn Jessup said...

My name is Dr Eamonn Jessup I am vice chairman of the Local Medical Committee of North Wales, the statutory body that represents the voice of General Practitioners across North Wales.
There has to be 3 units with 24 Obstetric and SCBU facility across North Wales, any attempt to downgrade any of the 3 units across North Wales causes unacceptable risks to women in late stages of labour.
Placing any woman, during the final stages of a labour that has developed unexpected complications, at risk of a one hour delay due to an extra 45 mile journey, cannot occur for obvious reasons.
My reason for writing is that I think there is a risk that Wrexham and Bodelwyddan could become embroiled in an unseemly battle for which unit could be closed.
The only safe option is for all 3 units to remain open with 24 hour Obstetric and SCBU units.
All politicians of all political persuasion in North Wales should unite with this mantra and guard against political and parochial self interest.
Other ways to save money must be found - not this.
I would perhaps ask one question - Would this proposal have ever been considered in South Wales ??

Plaid Whitegate said...

If that's the view of GPs in North Wales, then I hope it's been conveyed to the Betsi Cadwaladr Trust bosses who will make this decision. They are making the case for a reduction in units from a clinical perspective regarding the expertise of their obstetric consultants. That's something I don't have the specialist knowledge to challenge but the safety of patients and providing a local emergency service (which is what SCBU is) isn't being considered in this analysis.
Surely it's better for a few consultants to spend some time on the A55 than thousands of mums, neonates and their families?
The South Wales comparison is a red herring - firstly, because this is a review initiated by Betsi Cadwaladr: secondly, by head of population there are far fewer such units in the south. The North is a huge geographical area that needs three general hospitals to cover it.