Saturday, 20 April 2013

Special Care Baby Unit: An open letter to Lesley Griffiths AM

Dear Lesley

On the night you were elected in May 2011, I asked you to safeguard the Special Care Baby Unit in Wrecsam, which we all knew was under threat.
 You gave me your word that you would do your best.
 There were developments. You became Health Minister under the new Labour Government and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board ploughed on with its consultation on centralising local health services across the North.
 Despite clinical and popular opposition that saw thousands march and many more petition you and the health board, BCUHB ploughed on and decided to close community hospitals and move the more serious neonatal intensive care (i.e. those under 27 weeks) to Arrowe Park.
 You did nothing to retain services in the North, even after you were replaced as health minister and could speak out freely.
 This week we have had another bombshell. BCUHB has just told staff at Wrecsam SCBU that ALL intensive care is being closed down and those neonates above 27 weeks requiring intensive care will be moved to Glan Clwyd.
 This is, apparently, in respond to pressure from the Welsh Deanery who fund doctor training and want the expertise centralised in one place. Is this a result of the move to Arrowe Park? Did BCUHB not foresee the problems they were creating in not maintaining a centre of excellence in the North? At what stage does a health minister step in to ensure safe and sustainable services?
 There will be just one stabilisation cot for Wrecsam so that babies can be moved out within 24 hours. At-risk mums will be sent to either Arrowe Park or Glan Clwyd to have their babies born with all the stress and strain that causes.
 We don't know at this stage whether the Welsh Ambulance Trust has agreed to this additional work of transferring babies but let's just say it's struggling to cope with existing targets.
 Once again, you have done nothing while BCUHB steamroller this further demoralising closure through. The capital of the North, your home town, is losing a key NHS service.

 Jobs will be lost, yet the local Labour AMs and MPs are silent.
 Services will be lost, yet the local Labour AMs and MPs are silent.
 Worst still, lives will be lost. The silence is deafening.

 The NHS was once the proud creation of Aneurin Bevan, a great Welsh socialist who didn't hide or make excuses. It was created in 1947, just after the Second World War at a time of rationing and great hardship.

Today, the Cardiff Labour Government - of which you are a part - is dismantling the NHS in Wales. You have not done your best to protect SCBU or, if you have, your best wasn't very good.

I only hope that the NHS in Wales can survive the cuts being imposed on it by the Labour Government and we can improve our health service in the future under a new Plaid Cymru-led government. It certainly can't be entrusted to a Labour Government ever again. And Wrecsam should never trust a Labour AM again.


Marc Jones

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good letter Pity no one else will know this when they read the daily mail or the sun!