North Wales womens’ and maternity services

8.12.2015

This morning the Health Board accepted the recommendation that there is currently no need to make temporary changes to consultant-led obstetric services in North Wales.

In August and September we carried out a comprehensive public consultation exercise on possible changes to services to address the potential risks to mothers and babies caused by a shortage of middle grade doctors.

The consultation attracted thousands of responses which set out the range of views about our proposals.

While the consultation was underway, we also continued with our strenuous efforts to recruit additional staff to the service.

This has led to the appointment of seven additional consultants, who will provide middle grade on-call cover alongside their consultant-level duties, and the recruitment of 27 midwives which mean our midwifery services meet the recommendations of the Birth Rate Plus national workforce planning tool.

These new appointments mean that the level of risk in the service has reduced to a point where temporary changes to our consultant-led obstetric services are not necessary.  We will have to ask some women to travel to England for elective gynaecological surgery but emergency gynaecological surgery will not be affected.

Although there is no longer a need for any immediate changes, we must still ensure that women’s and maternity services across North Wales will be stable and sustainable for the long term.  We have asked the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to work with us to consider how this can be achieved and we expect to receive their report early next year.

The information gathered during the recent consultation will help us as we plan for the future.  If the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommends that substantial changes may be required we will discuss this with the public and carry out a further consultation exercise.