Group formed to steer campaign to protect maternity services at Bangor hospital

Group Members: Huw Jones, Nia Evans, Peter Tivy-Jones, Emma Mendoza, Cllr Sian Gwenllian and Bethany Nicholson.

A group with representation from both Ynys Môn & Gwynedd has been formed to steer a campaign opposing the removal of consultant-led maternity services at Ysbyty Gwynedd.

An open letter has also been sent to Chairman of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Dr Peter Higson calling on the Health Board to safeguard the future of Ysbyty Gwynedd.

This follows a public meeting held in Bangor to discuss concerns about the potential loss of women’s services at Ysbyty Gwynedd and the spiralling effect that could have on other services at the hospital.

A team from the Royal College of Obstetrics & Gynaecology has been visiting North Wales to identify clinically sustainable & safe service options for the women who receive maternity services from the Health Board.

They are due to present their findings to the Health Board before Christmas.

Around seventy members of the public attended the meeting, which was chaired by Y Felinheli Councillor and mother of four Siân Gwenllian. Also present were former Chief Executive of Gwynedd Health Authority, Huw Jones and retired Consultant in Gynaecology and Obstetrics at Ysbyty Gwynedd Peter Tivy-Jones.

Cross-party political representation was made up of Plaid Cymru Assembly Members, Alun Ffred Jones and Rhun ap Iorwerth and Conservative Regional Assembly Members Janet Haworth and Mark Isherwood.

Members of the new group include; Alun Ffred Jones AM (Arfon), Rhun ap Iorwerth AM (Ynys Môn), Mr Peter Tivy-Jones (Retired Consultant), Huw Jones (Former Chief Exec Gwynedd Health Authority), Nia Evans (Llanfair PG), Emma Mendoza (Porthaethwy), Bethany Nicholson (Caernarfon), Ceri Rhiannon (Y Felinheli) & Gwynedd Cllr Siân Gwenllian.

Alun Ffred Jones AM said: “Before any decision is taken on the long-term provision of services in North Wales, the Health Board must consider the impact any downgrading of services will have on women, babies & their families across North West Wales.

“Travel times would increase significantly, so would the risk of problems developing for mothers and babies. Around 75% of mothers in Gwynedd & Ynys Môn would have to travel an hour or more to deliver their babies.

“On top of this, the A55 faces difficulties on a daily basis; access to public transport is very poor and income levels are low. Reducing maternity services would lead to a further reduction in services at Ysbyty Gwynedd & threaten the future status of the hospital.

“For these very reasons it is completely unacceptable to even consider cutting back on maternity services at Ysbyty Gwynedd.”

Cllr Siân Gwenllian said: “I’d like to thank all the women who shared their different experiences with us in a heartfelt way, illustrating vividly why we must retain the level of service now provided.

“The senior staff from the Board heard many valid points presented very effectively at the meeting. The newly-formed group will help steer the campaign as the Health Board starts to reveal its long term plans for maternity provision at Ysbyty Gwynedd.”