‘Consultation now closed’

Consultation Process

Why is the consultation for only six weeks?

We agreed the time period for the consultation with the Community Health Council and with the applicants in the recent legal proceedings.

The six week period is consistent with Welsh Government guidance on consultation. The changes proposed are temporary changes only as well – we think six weeks is reasonable for a temporary change. We will monitor the feedback we are receiving and take action to address any problems.

As we develop longer term plans we will give people a further chance to have their say.

Wouldn’t an independent consultation be more honest and fair?

The decision around the proposed temporary changes will be made by the Board based on all your feedback collated and reported by an independent, specialist research company. Your views will be confidential.

At these public meetings we have an independent chair and an independent social research company will observe to ensure that proceedings are conducted correctly. Focus groups and telephone surveys with randomly selected groups of people will also be undertaken to ensure a spread of views from across the North Wales population.

How will findings from the consultation be analysed, interpreted and reported by Opinion Research Services?

We are keen to reassure people that all responses received will be counted, included and considered by the Health Board. No responses will be discounted. Partial responses – where responses are not complete – will be included to the extent that they are clear.

Analysing the overall response is complex and this is why the Health Board has commissioned an independent and expert professional company to undertake this. The public need to see that the analysis is independent and the Board will need to consider this conscientiously.

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Will questionnaires be accepted even if I don’t fill in the equality monitoring questions?

Yes – any questionnaires received will be accepted, recorded and be part of the overall analysis. This includes any that only have part of the questions completed.

We would like people to fill in as much as possible as it helps us get a clearer picture of views across North Wales and also which groups of people are responding. But we will still accept questionnaires that are not fully completed.

How much will this consultation cost?

We have a duty to consult properly in line with guidance and this involves enabling as many people as possible to participate and have their say.

It is vital that we make as many channels as possible available to people including: web (including a dedicated website, webchats, social media, and a smartphone app); email; freepost; telephone line; listening events; public meetings and focus group sessions. This will need adequate resources to make sure it is effective. We will monitor the cost of activities.

We cannot give a figure at this stage.

This is a done deal – you have already made up your minds.

We are open to views from all sections of the population and for other solutions to be suggested. The Board will only make a decision on whether to take action once all responses have been analysed and taking into consideration the impact that our continued recruitment efforts might have over the coming weeks.

The Board will need to weigh up all the evidence relating to the proposals. The consultation feedback will be a significant part of this but not the sole element. It is about the evidence and rationale that is presented to us during the process overall.

We will consider all the evidence fed back to us during the consultation – both clinical and based on personal experiences.

Why have you specified a preferred option? There is a perception that it is distorting the process.

This is what the Board discussed and agreed and it would be disingenuous not to have been open about that. We believe that this option would be the least disruptive option.

What if the vast majority of people vote for the option of keeping maternity services available exactly as they are? Will the Board have a duty to implement the decision in response? Or will it go against the public?

This is a consultation seeking people’s views and listening to their issues and concerns. The Board will need to consider all responses and feedback from the public, staff and other stakeholders before coming to a decision. The Board will need to take all the views expressed public into account, and be able to explain how it has done this.

You are trying to ‘divide and conquer’ by pitting units against one another.

This is untrue. The Board wants to explore all feasible options through the consultation before deciding whether there will be any change to services.

This was discussed at the time of the previous legal proceedings and is appropriate for a consultation.

We fully acknowledge that this is a complex and emotive issue for all communities and all our staff who could potentially be affected if a change is agreed. We are listening to the views of all before deciding and would encourage everyone to have their say on the difficult issues which we need to address.

All the relevant evidence has yet to be finalised, for example, the Health Impact Assessment. How can we make informed decisions without this?

It is important that the Health Impact Assessment and other pieces of work such as the Equality Impact Assessment are conducted alongside the consultation so that we work with communities and those potentially affected to understand the impacts as well as getting their feedback. The Health Impact Assessment report will be published before the Board makes any decision.