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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
  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
  1. Nick Powell

First Minister backs Syrian airstrikes if Prime Minister sets clear objectives

First Minister Carwyn Jones has given qualified support to the RAF bombing Isis targets in Syria but he told AMs that the Prime Minister needs to explain who would provide the forces on the ground to complete the task and bring peace.

Questioned by Conservative leader, Andrew RT Davies, the First Minister confirmed that he had no objection in principle to extending air raids on Iraq to include Syria.

There's no difference between Iraq and Syria at the moment, the border has effectively disappeared. What concerns me is that we should not do what happened in Iraq, more than a decade ago, to take military action without thinking what the end game is.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

Mr Jones acknowledged that his view was different to some in the Labour party. Mr Davies told him that both as First Minister and as Labour's most senior elected politician he had a responsibility to ensure support for Britain's armed forces once they were sent into combat.


Plaid Cymru 'cannot support' military action in Syria

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has said the party will not support military action in Syria, unless Prime Minister David Cameron addresses 'unanswered questions'.

Leanne Wood opposes military action in Syria. Credit: PA

A Commons vote allowing action against Islamic State could take place next week if David Cameron gains enough support.

But the Plaid leader remains dubious over a number of his claims.

Dropping bombs from the air will not lead to the defeat of IS. Neither will it the secure peace for the people of Syria or bring stability to the wider region. What is needed is a plan for a process of reconciliation and reconstruction. The Party of Wales urges all governments to redouble efforts to secure a comprehensive peace deal for Syria and the wider region. We urge world leaders not to repeat the mistakes of past Western military interventions in the Middle East. UK military action as currently proposed risks further escalation in Syria and making our own communities at home less secure. Unless the Prime Minister addresses all unanswered questions and brings forward a more comprehensive plan, Plaid Cymru cannot support military action."

– Leanne Wood, Leader, Plaid Cymru

Recently Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn came under criticism for his decision to write to his MPs outlining his opposition to action, before the Shadow Cabinet had reached an agreement.

  1. Adrian Masters

'Positive reasons' for free vote on Syria says Shadow minister

A member of Labour's Shadow Cabinet has rejected claims that the party's leadership has mishandled its position on military action in Syria.

There has been intense criticism of Jeremy Corbyn for writing to Labour MPs setting out his position before the Shadow Cabinet had reached an agreement.

He'd also earlier indicated that he wouldn't allow a free vote - where MPs vote according to their own conscience rather than following the party whip - when parliament decides whether or not to back action.

But speaking on a visit to the National Assembly in Cardiff, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Seema Malhotra, said that it had been 'a really important way to have this conversation.'

And she told Political Editor Adrian Masters that 'there are many positive arguments' for giving Labour MPs a free vote.

  1. Adrian Masters

Shadow Cabinet minister's income tax caution

A senior Labour figure has urged caution over the prospect of a future Welsh Government being given income tax powers without a long-term guarantee of funding.

The Chancellor announced this week that the law would be changed to give Welsh ministers part control over income tax without the need for a referendum.

George Osborne announced a deal on overall funding for Wales but only for the duration of the current parliament.

On a visit to the National Assembly, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Seema Malhotra, told Political Editor Adrian Masters that there must be a longer term funding promise.

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