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U-turn for plans to remove maternity care at north Wales hospitals

Controversial plans to remove doctor-led maternity care at some hospitals in north Wales look set to be abandoned.

Credit: PA

A document published on Tuesday no change to services.

It follows a year of uncertainty with suggestions that specialist services could go from Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.

A full decision will be made next week.

In a statement, Deputy Minister for Health Vaughan Gething said progress had been made.

The papers being published today are the result of a detailed, open and transparent consultation process with the people of north Wales and NHS staff. This is exactly the kind of progress we want to see.

It is important to give people certainty on the temporary options. The recommendation for the health board shows that the current position is more stable than a number of months ago. While no final decision has been made, it is now for the board to consider and properly discuss the recommendations carefully when it agrees its response in its public board next week.

Looking towards the future of maternity and paediatric services in north Wales, we remain committed to the SuRNICC and recently announced £1.4m of funding to develop the plans and a recruitment process is underway.

We will continue to provide extra support under the special measures arrangements to help turn around the health board and regain the confidence of the people it serves.

– Vaughan Gething, Deputy Minister for Health


Campaigners warn communities will 'die' if rural schools close

Campaigners have taken to the steps of the Senedd today, to hand over a petition calling for more money for education across Wales, particularly in rural schools, as they fear potential closures:

It's not just the school that close, the whole community dies when the school goes. Now what we're saying is the Welsh Government in their formula need to take this into account. I know they already do, but clearly not enough because otherwise so many schools wouldn't be being closed.

– Mary Compton, Organiser

Mary Compton, who has organised today's protest to save Powys' schools, believes this is a critical moment for education in rural areas.

She thinks the Welsh Government need to fight for more money from the UK Government, to fund schools.

Campaigners took to the Senedd steps today Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

But the Welsh Government say they're aware of the challenges rural schools face, and funding takes those additional costs into account:

It is important to note that despite UK Government budget cuts, the latest Treasury figures show that education spending per head in Wales is higher than it is in England.

“We have also delivered on our commitment to protect school budgets by 1% above changes to the Welsh block overall, providing an additional £106million for schools over the current Assembly term.

– A Welsh Government spokesperson

Next week, the Government will set out their spending plans for 2016-17, in their Draft Budget. Campaigners hope education spending will be a priority.

Sam Warburton facing a month on the sidelines

Wales captain Sam Warburton will be out for at least four weeks with an ankle injury.

Credit: PA

Warburton saw a specialist on Tuesday after suffering the injury in the Cardiff Blues' 13-6 Guinness PRO12 derby defeat at the Ospreys on Saturday.

Sam has suffered a grade two strain to his right ankle and has now seen the specialist to start his recovery process.

He will return to the specialist in a week's time for further assessment and currently we are working at a minimum lay-off of four weeks for a return to play.

– Cardiff Blues head of medical services John Miles

Warburton suffered the injury in a tackle by Justin Tipuric, his rival for the openside flanker's position with Wales.

  1. Nick Powell

Badger vaccination suspended

Vaccinating badgers was introduced as a less controversial alternative to shooting them in an attempt to stop TB infecting cattle Credit: PA

The Welsh Government has suspended its flagship programme to vaccinate badgers against TB, which can spread to cattle. Vaccination was introduced after previous plans to shoot badgers in affected areas were abandoned. But there's a global vaccine shortage and the World Health Organisation has appealed to governments to let preventing TB in humans take priority.

Bovine TB is a serious animal health issue ... however, public health must always take priority, and until the supply situation is resolved our badger vaccination projects currently underway in Wales ... will be suspended. This does not mean that the hard work of the previous years will have been wasted. We have successfully administered more than 5,500 doses during that time.

– Deputy Minister for Farming and Food Rebecca Evans AM

The vaccination scheme was introduced after the 2011 Assembly election in parts of west Wales where TB in cattle is endemic. It replaced a planned badger cull proposed by Plaid Cymru's Elin Jones when she was the Rural Affairs Minister in coalition with Labour. Trial culls have since been held in England.

This is shocking news that will make a complete mockery of the vaccination trial. The Labour government should be ashamed that it could have let this happen.

Four years ago, many of us argued for a different approach but the government was insistent on vaccination. Now there is a risk that we will have wasted four years.

– Plaid Cymru Rural Affairs Spokesperson Llyr Gruffydd AM


Police find body in search for missing woman

Dyfed Powys Police says a body has been found after a search was launched on the River Usk at Brecon on Monday night.

The river search began on Monday evening. Credit: ITV News

Police, searching for a missing 51 year old female from the Brecon area, can confirm that a body has been found in the River Usk.

– Dyfed Powys Police

The discovery follows a 24-hour search using a kayak team and helicopters on the fast flowing river.

Police say "next of kin have been informed."

Mike Phillips calls time on Wales career

Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips has announced his retirement from international rugby.

Mike Phillips Credit: PA

The Racing 92 player appeared in 99 Tests - 94 for Wales and five for the British and Irish Lions.

But the 33-year-old did not play in the recent World Cup, left out of Warren Gatland's initial squad for the tournament before being recalled as cover for the injured Rhys Webb ahead of the opening game against Uruguay.

In an interview on the programme, The Real Mike Phillips, to be broadcast on BBC Wales next Monday he said:

This is a chance for me to close a chapter of my life, playing for Wales has been a massive part of my life since I was 20 or 21, and to move on the next chapter.

– Mike Phillips

Family concerned for missing 45 year-old man

North Wales Police says there are increasing concerns for a 45 year-old missing man.

Credit: North Wales Police

Stephen Joseph Bellew has not been seen since October 31st and was reported missing after he failed to attend a family event.

He was last seen in the Llandudno area but he may have visited Bangor during early November.

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting reference 14455.

Body found on banks of River Dee

Police say a body has been found on the River Dee near Wrexham.

Erbistock near Wrexham. Credit: Google Maps

North Wales police says it was called at 1.36pm on Tuesday to reports of a body found on a bank of the River Dee in Erbistock.

A recovery operation is underway and the body has yet not been identified.

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