November 2nd Dec 2015
MP welcomes Maternity Victory
Vale of Clwyd MP Dr James Davies has welcomed the news that a report to be presented to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board will recommend the doctor-led maternity units at all three general hospitals will be kept open.
This comes after a massive grass roots campaign by the general public and a huge effort by politicians in public and behind the scenes.
Commenting, James said: “I strongly urge the Health Board to approve the findings of the report at their Board meeting and if, as hoped, they do so, this will be a massive victory for common sense. As a GP I knew the proposals were dangerous and unworkable and so I spoke at two public rallies and campaigned relentlessly against the proposals.
I also met regularly with the Health Board and held meetings with the Royal College of Midwives and the Nursing and Midwifery Council. I want to pay tribute to Marsha Davies in particular for being an inspirational focal point for mums to be and parents across north Wales. Her work in organising the Rhyl protests at short notice and following through campaign actions helped make victory possible.
Following on from this very good news, it is vital that the Welsh Assembly Government should not now bury their heads in the sand about the many other serious issues affecting the NHS in North Wales”.
The news of the victory comes in the wake of a range of recruitment problems across clinical specialisms in North Wales that had been known about for a number of years with apparently little effective action being taken. In terms of maternity services, the delay in the delivery of a sub regional neonatal intensive care centre at Glan Clwyd Hospital undoubtedly contributed to recruitment problems also. It is vital that this facility is now delivered as soon as possible.
(Previous updates and information can be found below)
Proposed Maternity Downgrade
During the General Election campaign, concerns about the performance and management of the local NHS were brought up with me more than any other issue. This theme has continued since my election, with widespread dissatisfaction about waiting times, maternity and gynaecology downgrade proposals and mental health provision being brought to my attention.
The NHS in Wales is devolved and is therefore run by the Welsh Labour Assembly Government. However, particularly with a background as a medical doctor, I believe I have a key role as MP to hold the Assembly to account, challenge and work with the local Health Board and assist local residents with their individual health-related problems. I also intend to help tackle UK-wide health issues through my place on the Health Select Committee at Westminster.
On Monday, a further protest was due to take place in Rhyl over the maternity downgrade for Glan Clwyd. The strong feelings about this cannot be underestimated and my support remains firmly behind campaigners. We are told any changes would be temporary but unfortunately previous actions by the Health Board lead many to mistrust this promise. Certainly doctor-led obstetric care would need to be reinstated if, as we all hope, the sub regional Neonatal Intensive Care Centre (SuRNICC) is ever to come into fruition at Glan Clwyd.
Patients being punished with unacceptable journey times
For me, the risk to women and unborn babies which could be posed by making an unexpected 40 mile trip to Wrexham or Bangor during labour is unacceptable. Patients do not deserve to be punished for workforce issues which almost certainly could have been averted had the situation been managed appropriately over recent years.
For the SuRNICC to progress in the timescales promised, any downgrade would in any case need to be reversed within a short time period. The instability that a downgrade would cause would I believe result in exactly the opposite outcome than the Health Board is seeking in that even fewer health professionals would be attracted to work here
I strongly urge all to participate in the maternity and gynaecology consultation process that the Health Board has now embarked upon – consultation which is only taking place thanks to the efforts of those who have already made their views heard loud and clear.