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.
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