The intervention overturns plans by Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board to send all seriously ill babies to Arrowe Park on the Wirral. Carwyn Jones says the new centre will treat the 'vast majority' of sick babies with the worst cases still treated in Cheshire.
Ysbyty Glan Clwyd is one of two possible locations along with Wrexham's Maelor Hospital. A decision's expected early next year. Ann Jones and Darren Millar have issued this joint statement:
This announcement is very welcome indeed and we will now be working hard to ensure that the new enhanced Neonatal Intensive Care Centre is based at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.
We feel it?makes sense for the Centre to be in Bodelwyddan given the excellent accommodation for families of sick babies provided by Ty Croeso Dawn Elizabeth House; the accessibility of the hospital from the A55; and its location in the? heart of North Wales.
Whilst the decision represents a victory for North Wales, the First Minister still needs to make a decision about the location of the centre – which could end up in either Bodelwyddan or Wrexham.
We feel that Ysbyty Glan Clwyd is the perfect site and will be pressing for the First Minister to opt for this location.
Plaid Cymru has criticised the First Minister's announcement on plans for treating babies born in North Wales who need extra care. Carwyn Jones said he'd listened to advice and would develop a centre in the region. But the most serious cases would still be treated on the Wirral.
Plaid's Llyr Gruffydd says that means relying on the English health service the First Minister has criticised:
The Labour government’s plans mean that our most vulnerable babies will be sent to the NHS in England that the First Minister has been so critical of. Plaid Cymru has always made the case for the retention of these life-saving services in North Wales, and for north Wales to maintain this level of expertise.
Unfortunately the Welsh Government has dragged its feet and failed to act on the warnings that the service has become unsustainable, and as a result the people of north Wales have lost this important service. It’s now becoming clear that the defining characteristic of the First Minister’s leadership is that he doesn’t want any responsibility.
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.
First Minister Carwyn Jones has been telling AMs why he has asked experts in neonatal care to advise him on whether North Wales could have a 'fully self sufficient' service of its own. But the Welsh Liberal Democrats claim that the review is being sabotaged.
North Wales AM Aled Roberts said Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board wants to transfer facilities from Wrexham Maelor Hospital, though Welsh Government sources say that won't be allowed to happen whilst the review is taking place.
And the Shadow Health Minister, Darren Millar, said that instead of an end to uncertainty, it was 'yet another review and a further delay' in decision making by the First Minister.
Carwyn Jones took responsibility for the decision because his previous health minister, Lesley Griffiths, is AM for Wrexham and had a potential conflict of interest over services at her local hospital.
First Minister Carwyn Jones has announced that the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health will review whether North Wales can eventually become 'fully self sufficient' in the delivery of specialised neonatal services. At present the sickest babies are treated in England.
Mr Jones had already said that plans for a formal arrangement with Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral must go ahead as an interim solution but he was asked if proposals to move other neonatal care from Wrexham to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd could be delayed so that options for the future were left open.
Will you say to Betsi [Cadwaladr University Health Board] can they put their ... plans on hold until the report and the decision has been made?
– Antoinette Sandbach
I will give thought to that ... I can see that ... any change in neonatal provision may have an affect on the review.
– Carwyn Jones, First Minister
A Welsh Government source has since confirmed that nothing affecting neonatal care in Wrexham, Glan Clwyd and Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor should change until the outcome of the review is known. The First Minister expects to receive the report in September.
The time has come for Carwyn Jones to end the uncertainty and commit to the retention of long-term neonatal care in North Wales.
The health board has ridden roughshod over the views of local communities and the expert opinions of clinicians have thus far been ignored.
North Wales' baby care services have been left hanging in the balance for far too long and I urge the First Minister to make a swift decision to scrap the Health Board's plans and get behind services in North Wales.
Axing long-term neonatal intensive care in North Wales must not be allowed to go ahead.
The First Minister is due to make a statement today on the future of neonatal care in north Wales.
In March Carwyn Jones AM announced that he would personally decide whether to call in the controversial plans by Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board to move neonatal services out of north Wales and into Arrowe Park on the Wirral.
Plaid Cymru claim that today’s announcement is an admission by the First Minister that moving specialised neonatal services out of North Wales is the wrong approach.
We have clearly won the argument and it’s a shame that Carwyn Jones didn’t admit as much months ago. Had he done so, Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board could have developed proposals to retain the service in north Wales from the start, avoiding the terrible waste of time and money in now having to consider a different approach. This is clear proof that the NHS lacks direction from the Welsh Government which is why it is in such a mess.
I’m hugely concerned that he seems happy to accept the imminent loss of the service, saying that he’ll try to bring it back at an unspecified point in the future. In the meantime mothers and babies will still be exposed to all the risks Plaid, the BMA, RCN and RCM have been warning against. The First Minister also doesn’t seem to understand that a key consequence will be the loss of expertise within the remaining intensive care services for newborn babies in north Wales. Once the intensive care service is lost it will be much more difficult to re-introduce it.
The government’s statement is very ambiguous on timescales and we will need to redouble our efforts to ensure that Labour isn’t allowed to kick this into the long grass. This campaign is far from over.