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'We're reaching a tipping point', says health board

Professor Matt Makin, Executive Medical Director at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has told ITV News that complex maternity care at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd has reached a tipping point to where the hospital can no longer sustain its services.

It comes as a decision was made earlier today to temporarily suspend consultant led maternity care due to fears over patient safety and staffing levels.

Professor Making explained the decision was taken to act now to avoid the hospital becoming 'too dependent' on locum and agency staff that will in turn introduce an 'unacceptable risk' to patients.

Maternity services downgraded at north Wales hospital

Consultant led maternity services will be removed from Ysbyty Glan Clwyd because of fears for patient safety and a lack of suitable staff.

The Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board approved the plans at a meeting this afternoon.

The meeting was told that Obstetrics and Gynaecology services were too reliant on locum doctors, a lack of suitable and qualified doctors and the service risked collapse.

The services will now be centralised at the two other North Wales district hospitals in Wrexham and Bangor.

Hospital bosses say the move is a temporary one but there was anger after the decision with some staff complaining saying they hadn't heard the proposals before this morning.

The downgrading of services in Denbighshire will mean mothers-to-be in the area will need to travel to either Gwynedd or Wrexham if they experience difficulties during labour.

But, the health board advised nobody will need to travel for more than 45 minutes to receive appropriate care.

Proposals to reorganise maternity services in north Wales

ITV Wales understands consultant led care for complex births could be reorganised temporarily in north Wales if plans are approved at a health board meeting later today.

Credit: PA

The issue revolves around obstetrics services with a view that services are currently being spread thinly and are reliant on locum doctors. More details are expected to emerge later.

It would mean some pregnant women in north Wales would have to travel further for care.

Last month ITV Wales revealed plans to reorganise services in the area with the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board saying some services needed to be provided on fewer sites.

  1. Bethan Muxworthy

Catch up, Wales This Week: Depression and Me

Mair Elliott has been campaigning to improve mental health services for young people in Wales Credit: ITV News Cymru Wales

Wales This Week has been following Mair as she campaigns to break down the stigma surrounding mental illness and to improve the support that is available to young people.

Wales This Week, Depression and Me is now available to watch online at itv.com/walesprogrammes

If you know of anyone who would like advice or support about a mental health problem you can visit the following websites:

http://www.mind.org.uk/

http://www.youngminds.org.uk

http://www.hafal.org/

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'Greater clarity' needed on Wales's law making

National Assembly presiding officer Dame Rosemary Butler says 'greater clarity' is needed on Wales's law-making powers following the Supreme Court's decision on its asbestos law.

She said the ruling 'further demonstrates the complexity of the devolution settlement in Wales.'

We need greater clarity in order to make it easier for everyone to understand what is within the legislative competence for the National Assembly.

I look forward to hearing what the Secretary of State for Wales has to say on this matter when he makes his St David’s Day announcement on the future constitutional settlement for Wales.

Standing Orders allow for the Assembly to reconsider a Bill if the Supreme Court finds that it is outside legislative competence. I will now discuss this issue further with the Member in charge of the Bill to decide how best to proceed.

– Dame Rosemary Butler AM

Supreme Court blocks Welsh asbestos law

Credit: Yui Mok/PA

A law passed by the Assembly to make insurance companies pay NHS Wales for treating workers exposed to asbestos has been struck down by the Supreme Court.

The legislation was introduced by the backbench Labour AM Mick Antoniw and gained the backing of the Welsh Government in 2013.

It was referred to the Supreme Court by the Welsh Government's top legal officer in December 2013, as there were concerns as to whether or not the Assembly had the power to introduce a law to make businesses or insurers pay the costs of treating asbestos patients.

Today a judgement was handed down in the Supreme Court in which all five judges ruled that the insurance companies were protected by the the European Convention on Human Rights against what they regarded as retrospective legislation.

The law was also challenged by insurance companies on the grounds that it went beyond the Assembly's power to pass laws about the health service and three of the judges also agreed with that argument.

It's the first time that the Supreme Court has struck down a Welsh law. Previous challenges, brought by the Attorney General on behalf of the UK Government, have been defeated.

Parents' fight for guideline change to save newborn babies

Jonathan and Carrie Evans are calling for expectant mothers to be tested. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

A couple from Cardiff who experienced the stillbirth of their first child are urging others to sign an online petition to change medical guidelines.

Jonathan and Carrie Evans from Cardiff found out their baby Orla, had developed an infection in her lung due to bacteria making its way into the womb.

The bacteria - Group B Streptococcus is harmless to around 25% of people, but for newborns it can be fatal.

The couple are calling for expectant mums to be tested and given antibiotics if they are at risk.

At present more than 34,000 people have signed a petition for a change to guidelines, however it needs 70,000 more before it will be considered by Parliament.

The practice of screening mothers for Strep B is already in place in countries such America, however the UK National Screening Committee believe the a screening program wouldn't be effective.

You can follow the progress of the petition here.

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