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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

AM calls for Welsh Government statement on health shake-up

Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has called for a Welsh Government statement on the consultation on controversial NHS shake-up plans for North Wales following accusations from campaigners that it is flawed and that petitions have been ignored.
 
Betsi Cadwaldr University Health Board has been consulting on plans to close minor injuries units along with some community hospitals - including Llangollen - while specialist care for very ill newborn babies could be moved from Denbighshire's Glan Clwyd Hospital to Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral.
The board is due to discuss the proposals at its meeting this Friday, which is open to the public.

* Mark Isherwood AM. 
Mr Isherwood has been contacted by campaigners throughout North Wales who claim that interpretation by independent analysts of the data generated during the public consultation does not reflect the true feelings of people in the region.
Llangollen campaigners have expressed fury that the analysis seems to dismiss those thousands who signed petitions out of their own free will.
 
In this week’s Business Statement Mr Isherwood asked the Welsh Government to respond to the concerns and for an Assembly debate on these in Government time.
He said: “Widespread concern has been expressed by campaigners throughout the region regarding Opinion Research Services, which carried out the consultation on behalf of the Health Board, with one constituent quoted as saying that “it strains all sense of credulity in its blatant manipulation of numbers in order to arrive at the result that it sets out to achieve.
 
“There has been widespread concern from Flint, Prestatyn, Llangollen and across north Wales about the fact that thousands of signatures on petitions have been ignored.
 
"Also, the largest responses, which came from the wider consultation, have been completely ignored; the majority of people were opposed, but you would not know that from the consultation report. We therefore need a statement, hopefully before this goes to the board on Friday, and we certainly need time in this Assembly to debate the concerns now being raised.”
The Minister for Finance and Leader of the House, Jane Hutt, told Mr Isherwood his request for a statement “is premature because it pre-empts the report and response from Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board, which are forthcoming.”

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