‘Consultation now closed’

Why we think services need to temporarily change

Consultant-led maternity services are currently available at three hospitals across North Wales

  • Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor
  • Glan Clywd Hospital in Bodelwyddan
  • Wrexham Maelor

For some time there have been discussions about whether we can continue to provide maternity services in the same way.

The problems we face include:

  • Shortage of doctors
  • Using too many temporary staff to fill the gaps
  • Difficulty recruiting suitably qualified staff
  • Training for junior doctors and midwives
  • Meeting national standards for quality of care

You can find out more about these problems and the risks they are already causing on pages 13 – 15 of the full consultation document.

These points have led to an increased risk around the way we care for people. Even though we manage the safety of the service daily, and shift-by-shift, we believe the current position is unstable and unsustainable.

The view of senior doctors, nurses and midwives is that the risk to mothers and babies from trying to keep the services running in the same way are greater than the risks there might be from a temporary change to services.

We are considering whether we need to concentrate the consultant-led services at two of our main hospitals on a temporary basis. There will still be a midwifery-led service at all three hospitals, so mothers who are experiencing a straightforward pregnancy can have their baby at any hospital.

As maternity services have close links with neonatal (care for babies after they are born), gynaecology and some breast services any change would mean some temporary changes to these too.

Any change to services will only affect inpatient care in hospital. The majority of care for people who use maternity, gynaecology and breast services will be unaffected and will still be provided locally in outpatient clinics and in the community.

There are four temporary change options which we are considering, including the Health Board’s preferred option 4, a temporary change to maternity services at Glan Clwyd hospital. We consider this option has the least impact on other services, and can be put in place more quickly.