Smokescreen by politicians over children’s hospital services 11.11.10

Tell us the truth over special care baby unit

Campaigners against the downgrading of Wrexham’s Special Care Baby Unit should not to be fooled by a “political smokescreen”.
That was the warning after the confusion caused by Labour AMs claiming the threat of closure had been lifted. At the same time both health minister Edwina Hart and the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board were saying that the review into maternity services across North Wales were ongoing until January 2011.
Marc Jones, Plaid Cymru’s Assembly candidate for Wrexham, said: “The strength of feeling about the maternity services in Wrexham, Glan Clwyd and Bangor has shaken Labour politicians, including Edwina Hart. 
If NHS bosses had come out and said ‘no change’ today I would accept that as a victory but we already knew the consultation had been extended and there’s no clear statement that any of the three hospitals’ services will remain as they are.
 “The claims that the threat to the service has been lifted is just a smokescreen. The review is still ongoing and there is no certainty that the current full maternity service provided in Wrexham Maelor Hospital will continue.
 “Among the options are downgrading the service to a midwife-led service with a consultant-led unit based in Glan Clwyd. Let’s consider what that would mean. In the case of the Special Care Baby Unit, downgrading the service could mean moving Intensive Care Cots to Glan Clwyd.
 “That option could mean that all first-time and ‘complicated’ births in Wrexham were automatically referred to Glan Clwyd. What happens when a ‘normal’ birth in the Maelor turns into an emergency and the mother and child have to be transferred up the A55? These are the questions that need answering.”
He added: “We need to know the truth about the future of the Special Care Baby Unit in Wrexham. We do not need politicians creating smokescreens to confuse and distract attention from the very real concerns people have about their NHS.”

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