First Minister Carwyn Jones has announced plans to develop a new centre in North Wales to treat babies who need extra care. But he told AMs the most ill babies would still be sent to Arrowe Park on the Wirral for specialist treatment.
He also explained to AMs why he was rejecting proposals in an independent report to treat all babies needing extra care in the north.
The First Minister says steps will be taken to ensure there will be a neonatal care centre in North Wales in the future. Carwyn Jones says he's listened to independent advice on controversial health board plans to move neonatal services to Arrowe Park on the Wirral.
But he told AMs that Arrowe Park will continue to be used for specialist care even in the long term. Carwyn Jones said that a site will be chosen for a new neonatal care centre and announced shortly.
Detailed information on financial costings, population analysis, linked services as well as discussions with Cheshire and Merseyside NHS Trusts will now need to take place. We have to ensure the decision on the location of the SuRNICC is based on a robust and complete business case.
I will therefore be establishing an independent panel to work with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to develop that business case and recommend to me the best site for the location of the centre, along with the implications for the remaining sites and other interdependent services.
My officials are in the process of establishing the panel and I have asked for recommendations to be made to me by the beginning of March.