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Health changes an abdication of duty; LETTERS.

MICHAEL Joyce (letters Feb 5) is correct that neonatal services in North Wales currently do not have sufficient neonatologists to meet BAPM guidelines. This is hardly surprising nor is it a new phenomenon. Because of the ongoing uncertainty and indecision surrounding neonatal care over a number of years, neonatologists have not been recruited by the local health board.

It beggars belief that specialists are willing to work in Arrowe Park but not in Wrexham or Glan Clwyd. What Betsi Cadwaladr is effectively doing is paying the NHS in England at least PS1.1m a year to provide a service it could provide itself. It's an abdication of duty.

Safe services are currently being delivered by highly skilled neonatal nurses and Advanced Neonatal Practitioners in Glan Clwyd and Wrexham hospitals. Moving those babies means deskilling nurses and putting the babies that remain in North Wales at greater risk. It also places huge strains on mothers and the wider families as these babies will be in intensive care for weeks if not months.

In certain respects, care in North Wales is currently superior. Nursing ratios in North Wales are one nurse to each intensive care baby, whereas in Arrowe Park it's one nurse to every two babies. The Level 3 neonatal intensive care unit in Arrowe Park is a new facility and certainly does not have the track record of Alder Hey, to which Mr Joyce makes reference.

I want to see health services in North Wales improve as does Mr Joyce. I do not believe that this switch to Arrowe Park meets the criteria of making it safer and more sustainable. The North has enough births to warrant a Level 3 unit and the local health board should be pro-active in seeking to recruit sufficient skilled staff to maintain that service locally.

Llyr Huws Gruffydd AC/AM
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 7, 2013
Words:306
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