Maternity campaigners to quiz health minister
MATERNITY campaigners who fought to save services at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd will quiz health minister Mark Drakeford today (July 30).
Professor Drakeford will field some tough questions when he meets mums who battled to stop the temporary downgrading of services at the Denbighshire hospital during the meeting in Rhyl’s Fforddlas Community Centre today.
Arranged by Vale of Clwyd AM Ann Jones, his visit was announced just hours after First Minister Carwyn Jones faced intense criticism over Ysbyty Glan Clwyd during a packed Q&A in Rhyl last Wednesday night.
During the meeting, Mr Jones went into more detail than ever before about the problems facing the troubled unit and said it had a “bad reputation” within the medical community.
The First Minister admitted that in April the Royal College Obstetricians and Gynaecologists had written to him asking Ministers to temporarily close the maternity unit.
Mr Jones said the answer to the problems was the opening of the SuRNICC, but that everyone needed to work together to make sure services were safe on all North Wales sites before it opened.
He said: “I have to say to you that the department itself has a bad reputation amongst medics that’s the problem. Trying to recruit people after all that has happened is very difficult.”
After months of campaigning, protests, a 15,000 strong petition and legal challenge, Betsi Cadwaladr made a U-turn on its controversial plans in last month and agreed to carry out a public consultation.
The public consultation is due to start in August and will run for around six weeks.
But during last night’s meeting one campaigner voiced fears to the First Minister that the public consultation was just a “publicity stunt”, asking “in reality is it already a done deal?”
The First Minister set out a list of criteria for the process, saying those who had launched the judicial review proceedings, and the local health council would have to agree with the format before it could go ahead.
He said: “There has to be agreement from everybody on what the consultation should look like, it’s got to be an open process so people will have the opportunity to put their views forward.”
The meeting will take place at Fforddlas Community Centre in Rhyl at 3pm today, Thursday, to listen to the concerns of all those who wrote to AM Ann Jones concerning Betsi’s plans.