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Health Board needs to act to meet national standards says Aled Roberts AM

2012 Medi 12 11:10 AM

In North Wales there is only one consultant neonatologist to look after new born babies and a temporary locum consultant instead of the eight that are required according the to the evidence taken by Welsh Assembly Committee investigating Neonatal Care and published in a report today.[1]

"We have some very hard-working consultant paediatricians treating new born babies in North Wales," commented Aled Roberts [2]who is the Welsh Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Children and Young People in the Assembly. "But they have to look after children and are under immense pressure. Everywhere else in the UK new born babies are treated by specialist neonatal consultants and North Wales must implement this standard as soon as possible.

"The evidence we heard at Committee was extremely worrying. [3] It is clearly unacceptable to expect all staff to work in theses pressurised conditions and without their dedication and hard work there would be a serious risk to patient safety.

"The Minister has told us that she recognises how the service is stretched, but instead of then overseeing improvements to existing, locally-based services, the Welsh Government is choosing to implement ward and departmental closures.

"The All Wales Neonatal Standards[4] inform health boards of acceptable staffing levels but it is clear that the Minister has been unable to ensure that they are implemented in Wales. I sincerely hope that the Committee's report will lead to substantial improvements in the service currently being given to mothers and their new-born babies in our area."



[1] National Assembly for Wales Children and Young People Committee "Inquiry into Neonatal Care" September 2012

[2] Aled Roberts AM is a member of the National Assembly's Children and Young People Committee which holds the Welsh Government to account by scrutinising expenditure, administration and policy matters encompassing the education, health and wellbeing of children and young people of Wales, including their social care.

[3] See paragraphs 38 to 51 of the Inquiry into Neonatal Care which generated 5 of the Committee's 14 Recommendations to the Welsh Government (pages 17-21)

[4] Welsh Assembly Government All Wales Neonatal Standards for Children and Young People's Specialised Healthcare Services October 2008