Hundreds of campaigners against changes to healthcare in North Wales have taken part in a demonstration in Llandudno.
It follows a decision by the area Community Health Council not to refer the local health board's plans to the Welsh Government.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board says change is needed to provide safe and sustainable healthcare services.
Emily Gadd reports.
Organisers are expecting 2,000 people to join a march through Llandudno today, to protest against changes to health services across North Wales.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board is pressing ahead with hugely controversial plans to reorganise services, which include moving the care of babies needing long-term intensive treatment over the border to the Wirral, and closing and downgrading a number of community hospitals.
The North Wales Community Health Council has confirmed it has agreed not to refer Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board's plans to the Health Minister.
But it added there are aspects of the proposals that require 'further consideration', including the subject of community hospitals.
– North Wales Community Health Council spokesperson
The CHC wishes to place on record that it has agreed NOT to refer the proposals for community hospitals to the Health Minister. However, the CHC still has reservations in relation to the availability of capital investment for the proposed new primary care developments in line with the timescales and the implementation plans of the health board. As per the Guidance for Engagement and Consultation, we are continuing to work with the health board, through the local resolution stage, to seek clarification and assurance on these outstanding issues.
The spokesperson added: "Only if matters remain unresolved should the CHC write to the Minister by the 1st March."
Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar says 'widespread concern' remains over the future of neonatal services in Wales.
ITV News understands the North Wales Community Health Council won't refer controversial plans to move some neonatal care services to England to the Health Minister Lesley Griffiths.
Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board says the service has to be moved across the border to increase safety.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board says it is 'very disappointed' at news that Conwy Council has passed a motion of no confidence against it.
The board added it has 'a long history of successful collaborative working' with the authority.
– Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board spokesperson
We have jointly delivered many schemes over the years for the benefit of local people, such as the joint facility at Canolfan Crwst, and health and social care teams working together in the community to prevent hospital admissions which has improved support for patients and carers. Irrespective of the decision taken by the Council today we are committed to continue to work collaboratively with them, in the best interests of local people.
Conwy Council has passed a motion of no confidence against Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.
The motion, tabled by three councillors, called for the Health Minister to take control of the health board and for the Community Council to refer their decisions to the Minister.
It follows controversial changes to services in North Wales, which have sparked a series of public protests.
The Welsh Conservatives and Welsh Liberal Democrats have criticised Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board's decision to push through its changes to health services in North Wales, without waiting for a response from the Community Health Council.
– Darren Millar AM, Shadow Health Minister
Today’s announcement is premature.
Railroading closures through at this stage sends out a message of arrogance and indifference.
Public views have already been discarded by health bosses in the region and today’s decisions require urgent examination.
– Aled Roberts AM, North Wales
It is nothing short of a disgrace.
One of the options open to the Community Health Council was to refer some health reorganisation proposals to the Health Minister Lesley Griffiths.
The Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board clearly intend to circumvent that process and start reorganising health services before the Health Minister has a chance to make a decision on concerns raised by the Community Health Council.
If the buck does stop with Lesley Griffiths, as she would have us believe, then she must intervene.
She cannot allow reorganisation by stealth to proceed in this way.
– Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
At the moment the Community Health Council is considering its response to our planned changes and we fully respect their position. However, we have to balance this with safety of services, our use of resources and our desire to implement the planned service improvements. The Board will continue to work with the Community Health Council over the next few weeks to address any outstanding concerns but it is right that, where appropriate, we move forward without undue delay.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has begun closing some healthcare services in North Wales, under controversial plans agreed by health bosses last month - before getting a response from the local patient watchdog, the Community Health Council.
- Flint, Llangollen and Prestatyn Hospitals closed to new admissions yesterday - as staff start their redeployment
- Minor injuries services are closing over the next two weeks at Llangollen, Chirk, Flint, Ruthin, Colwyn Bay and Blaenau Ffestiniog hospitals
- Changes to X-ray services will go ahead as soon as possible
- Detailed planning to set up Enhanced Care at Home services across north Wales will start immediately