North East Wales

'Difficult' Glan Clwyd Hospital maternity move defended

Ysbyty Glan Clwyd
Image caption The health board said it was 'open to explore any alternative solution assessed against clinical advice'

A controversial decision to suspend consultant care for mothers-to-be at Glan Clwyd Hospital has been defended by health officials.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board admits it was a "very difficult decision" but believes it was the right one to ensure mothers and babies remain safe.

Mothers with more complicated births will be sent to Bangor or Wrexham from April.

Staffing pressures have been blamed.

"We fully understand and appreciate the level of public concern surrounding this decision," said a spokesman.

'Best efforts'

"Our job now is to explain why we have taken this difficult step."

A midwifery-led unit will remain at Glan Clwyd Hospital for normal births but the consultant-led obstetric services will move for up to 18 months from April.

Health Minister Mark Drakeford on Wednesday called for an independent report into the plans, while Vale of Clwyd AM Ann Jones and Clwyd West AM Darren Millar want them scrapped.

Urging for a clear timescale on the proposals, Mr Drakeford said it was "very important that patients and their families are provided with clear in formation on this very important matter, without any room for ambiguity."

The health board said the move to Ysbyty Gwynedd and Wrexham Maelor would be "hopefully much less" than the 18 months outlined.

It added: "Despite our best efforts to maintain obstetric services across our three hospitals, the current situation simply could not be allowed to continue.

"We are absolutely committed to reinstating the obstetric service at Glan Clwyd and will be actively working to do this as soon as possible. Work is already underway to reshape the service for the future."

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