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Clinicians unite to oppose loss of Welsh neonatal services

Three major health organisations have come together to oppose plans to transfer neonatal services out of North Wales.

The Royal College of Midwives Wales, the British Medical Association Wales and the Royal College of Nursing Wales said at a press conference this week that the plans to move the services into England are not justified.

They have joined forces to express their opposition following an announcement by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board setting out its final decision on the reconfiguration plans.

Instead of looking at the development needs of neonatal services in North Wales, which the three organisations argue would be the clear clinical preference, the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has instead decided to outsource all longer term neonatal intensive care to Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral.

They suggest that this move would also represent a financial risk to NHS Wales, as once the service has been taken away it will be extremely difficult to ever bring it back.

The provider of the service would be in a strong position in setting prices within the health market economy of England, they argue.

In addition, the three organisations suggest that in any case it remains viable and sustainable to continue providing comprehensive neonatal services in North Wales.

Tina Donnelly TD DL, director of the Royal College of Nursing in Wales, urged the health minister and the Community Health Council to take on board the views of those who are working in the service.

She said that information from their members suggests there is “insufficient accurate clinical data to move services out of Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board” and the case had not been made to move the service to Arrowe Park.

“We are asking for the health board to reverse their decision. We would expect the health minister to step in and take the sensible approach,” she added.

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