SURNICC Response

SURNICC (sub-regional neonatal intensive care centre)

In response to Carwyn Jones’s comments about Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board,

Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM, said:

“Betsi Cadwaladr health board has been in special measures for two years now and, while I welcome any improvement, it’s clear that there is a long way to go to before it’s fit for purpose.

“The First Minister will obviously focus on the positives but he also has to take responsibility for the decision back in 2013 to move neonatal intensive care over the border to Arrowe Park. The fact that it took mass protests to force the Welsh Government to perform a u-turn and commission a neonatal intensive care centre at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd is nothing to crow about.

“The critical problem facing Betsi is a shortage of doctors and nurses. The Welsh Government should be taking the initiative in ensuring more doctors and nurses are trained here in the North because then they are far more likely to stay here. The health board will shortly be going out to India to try to recruit more nurses because of an ongoing failure of workforce planning. This is a sticking plaster solution when we need long-term answers.

“We face the same problem with GP services. Yes, the Prestatyn GP model is working there but this is an issue all over north Wales and urgently needs addressing. Plaid Cymru has been calling for the past four years for 1,000 extra doctors to be trained and recruited to make up the national shortfall. Had a Welsh Government acted upon that, we would be on the road to bridging the gap. Instead they’ve done nothing and the problem has worsened to the extent that many doctors tell me that they are fearful for the future of GP practices.

“I’m afraid the First Minister has his head in the sand if he thinks healthcare in north Wales is working well. NHS staff are doing a fantastic job under the circumstances but the strain of dealing with staff shortages means that cracks are starting to show. It’s up to this Government to address those real problems rather than papering over the cracks.”

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