Campaigners against the closure of maternity services in Wrexham Maelor hospital are hoping for a bumper turnout at a public information meeting this Friday.
The meeting in the Catrin Finch Centre, Glyndwr University, starts at 7pm on September 4th. Speakers include Dr Eamonn Jessup of the British Medical Association and local campaigner Ruth Drake, from the Cherish charity.
Plaid Cymru councillor Carrie Harper, who has organised the meeting, said:
“The health board’s latest consultation is a very real threat to maternity services across North Wales. The board tried to close consultant-led maternity services in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd without warning earlier this year but a successful legal challenge by the BMA forced it to think again.“This consultation has widened the scope to include both Bangor and Wrexham hospitals, so it’s possible we could see 2,100 of the births that normally happen in the Maelor being transferred to either Chester or Glan Clwyd. We believe that extra journey will increase the risk to mothers and babies unacceptably and will not be temporary, as the board claims. “We’re equally opposed to the downgrading of services in Bangor or Glan Clwyd, because mothers there should also not be forced down the A55 in search of specialist help. There is plenty of evidence to show that journeys beyond 45 minutes increase the risk and the congestion, roadworks and accidents on the A55 make it even more hazardous.”
Cllr Harper said a petition opposing the changes had already attracted more than 2,000 signatures locally in just one week and she had been among the 700 who marched against the proposals in Rhyl on Bank Holiday Monday:
“That shows how much people value their maternity services – many of us are incredibly thankful to the doctors, nurses and midwives in maternity and Special Care Baby Units for the work they do.“There are challenges facing the health board but many of the problems they face are of their own making. Shortages in middle-ranking doctors are not unique to North Wales and are not new either. Long-term planning, as Plaid Cymru has proposed, could bring a new Medical Training school to the North and start the process of training and recruiting doctors to serve both our local communities as GPs and as specialist doctors in our hospitals. “In the short term, we need to work with the Wales Deanery and Mersey Deanery to get more doctors working in our hospitals as well as ensuring nurses have the chance to become Advanced Nurse Practitioners and Advanced Neonatal Practioners. “These are practical steps both the health board and Welsh Government should be doing – in fact should have been doing some years ago. Because they have failed so badly, we’re now playing catch up and it’s become something of a crisis. It’s a crisis of their own making. Mothers, babies and their families should not pay the price for their inaction and ineptitude.”
· Catrin Finch Centre is on Crispin Lane, Wrexham, with plenty of free parking. Tea and coffee available on the night.