Friday, 29 March 2013

First Minister closes the stable door after allowing the horse to bolt

A Labour spin doctor once described 9/11 as a "good day to bury bad news". Carwyn Jones's announcement that he was closing neonatal intensive cots in North Wales on the eve of the Easter bank holiday was an attempt to do the same. 

The First Minister made a quite bizarre statement to try to justify his decision to move neonatal intensive care to Arrowe Park in England while accepting that the service should stay in the North. 

He said that he was going to allow this to happen and in the meantime he was going to get independent advice. Now this process has been ongoing for at least two years and his failing health ministers, including Lesley Griffiths, have had plenty of time to get advice.

He could have listened to some independent advice from respected professional bodies representing doctors, nurses and midwives - the BMA, RCN and RCM. They have given sound clinical reasons why this decision is flawed and dangerous. They and the campaign across North Wales have been ignored by a Cardiff Labour Government that doesn’t give a damn about a safe and sustainable service locally.

The truth is that once this service is gone to Arrowe Park, it’s gone for good. This is just the start of closing neonatal intensive care units in North Wales. Nurses are going to be deskilled and demoralised, doctors will not come to North Wales because the specialist units are not there to allow them to train and, most importantly, mothers and their new-born babies are going to be put at risk by the First Minister’s decision.

Last weekend, the First Minister had the bare-faced cheek to made reference to personally needing an incubator as a new-born baby. He was fortunate to have such a service locally as a child. It’s a disgrace that he is not allowing other vulnerable new-born babies the same opportunity.

He also condemned Tory privatisation plans in England and yet is happy to send  our most vulnerable babies into the arms of George Osborne and David Cameron.

The mantra that "we need a change" only works if it's change for the better. Moving a service out of Wales that we currently deliver well is not change for the better, like many of Betsi Cadwaladr's plans. We need an urgent rethink on the health board's changes because they are putting lives at risk needlessly in an effort to save money. 

Aneurin Bevan would be turning in his grave if he were to see what his party has become. 

Labour's credentials as the "party of the NHS" are shot to pieces, with local AM Lesley Griffiths as guilty as anyone for failing to defend Wrecsam's Special Care Baby Unit, as she promised to do so when re-elected in 2011. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As long as people know about the Labour party's hand in this. No use us moaning on the Internet about it.