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Wales investing in 'unsafe' maternity units

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Wales is spending millions of pounds a year propping up small maternity units which are not “safe or sustainable”, a senior health official has said.

NHS Wales medical director Dr Chris Jones said the health service has no reliable way of determining whether the temporary staff, who are the backbone of smaller maternity units, are of the quality and competence required, the BBC reports.

Several units have vacancies for doctors because a failure to meet training guidelines on out-of-hours deliveries has led to low delivery numbers, Dr Jones said.

He told the BBC: “Now, although all our rotas are European working time directive-compliant on paper, we know in practice they are only being maintained by significant expenditure.”

The Assembly Government welcomed Dr Jones’s “honest and transparent” comments, which come amid contentious plans to review maternity services in North Wales, saying they reflect the position of the Royal College of Obstetricians.

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