We made mistake over maternity axe; HEALTH BOARD CHIEF'S ADMISSION OVER LACK OF CONSULTATION IN DOWNGRADING PLANS.
Byline: JEZ HEMMING Daily Post Reporter email@example.com
THE lack of public consultation on planned maternity service changes was a mistake, says a health board director.
The frank admission was made by Betsi Cadwaladr health board's director of corporate services Chris Wright at the latest consultation roadshow event yesterday.
The meeting over the reorganisation of women's and maternity services across North Wales was the first of two being held at Bangor City Football Club's Nant Porth Stadium.
Addressing the meeting about the board's original decision to downgrade obstetric lead maternity services at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, Bodelwyddan, Mr Wright said: "We know we made an error not consulting but we are consulting now. We readily admit we made a mistake there."
Around 30 members of the public turned up to voice their concerns to four representatives from the board, including Mr Wright and Angela Hopkins, executive director of nursing and midwifery.
Dr Glynne Roberts, general manager of woman's services, made a stout defence of the board's attempts to recruit middle grade obstetric doctors, despite a nationwide shortage of suitable candidates.
"We have had difficulties recruiting middle grade obstetric doctors," he said.
"For the past 18 months to two years we have been actively seeking to employ middle grade doctors."
Between three sites he explained there were still 14 vacancies out of a full complement of 30 doctors needed, but he said Ysbyty Glan Clwyd's retention of doctors had improved.
He added the reliance on locum staff was a "concern" with some not even turning up for shifts.
"This year we have embarked on recruitment on a continual basis," he added.
Ms Hopkins said even if Glan Clwyd was temporarily without obstetric-led services, 96% of the population would be able to access critical services within an hour.
She also said several times that the move to site the subregional neo-natal intensive care centre at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd was a "ministerial decision".
The consultation runs until October 5, with open events planned for Welshpool tomorrow and Denbigh on Friday. To fill in the consultation online go to www.nwmaternity.org.uk