Community Health Council support for neonatal proposals is ‘bewildering’

A cross party group of Assembly Members has described a health watchdog decision to support the relocation of long-term neonatal care services from hospitals in North Wales and transfer them to Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral as ‘bewildering’.

The Betsi Cadwaladr Community Health Council’s Executive Committee has confirmed its support for the controversial proposals, which were given the green light by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board bosses at a special meeting in January in spite of widespread opposition from the public. The British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal college of Midwives have also expressed their opposition to the plans.

Clwyd West AM Darren Millar, Vale of Clwyd AM Ann Jones and North Wales Regional AMs Llyr Huws Gruffydd and Aled Roberts have been working together to see the decision overturned.

The AMs said:

“This decision is utterly bewildering. 

“Community Health Councils are supposed to be a voice for patients in the NHS, but we see little evidence that that is the case from today’s statement.

“We question whether the Executive Committee’s decision is truly representative of the views of all members of the Community Health Council and seek clarification as to the outstanding issues on other aspects of the health board’s proposals which remain to be resolved.

“We believe that there is strong clinical evidence to support the retention of long-term neonatal care services within North Wales and we will continue to work with the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives to secure the future of these services in the region.”

The Community Health Council has until the 1st March to decide whether to refer other matters to the Minister.