Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board's management have revealed plans for downgrading and centralising services in North Wales NHS. Key points:
• If you've got a sick baby needing intensive care in N Wales you're going to end up on the Wirral. This is the thin end of the wedge as many will be transferred there as a precautionary measure as staff in N Wales are deskilled. Journey times for people from Ynys Mon and Barmouth will be horrendous. The health board report admits that the Welsh Ambulance Service haven't costed this additional work or whether they can deliver. Furthermore, each transfer costs £1500 + the extra money that will go out of the NHS in Wales to pay for care at Arrowe Park.
• 12 of the 19 community hospitals will close or be downgraded (Llangollen will close completely)
• Glan Clwyd will be left without emergency surgery provision, including emergency caesarian, which means that more mums-to-be deemed "at risk" will have to travel at least 45 minutes to the next hospital as a precautionary move.
This is a top-down decision driven by the Welsh Govt and bureaucrats.
There's a need to improve the NHS to make it fit the needs of our communities better, but moving emergency provision further from those communities doesn't meet that need.
It won't even save money. By the health board's own admission, the changes will cost about £500,000 less than staying as they are BUT on top of that are the ambulance costs due to additional patient transport requirements. This has not yet been costed.