A DENBIGH mother has expressed her grave concerns about North Wales’ neonatal care moving 40 miles away.
Angharad Medi Thomas from Trewen, Denbigh who went through the “harrowing experience” of going into premature labour has spoken out about Betsi Cadwaldr Health Board’s plans to move their vital services for seriously ill and premature babies to Arrowe Park in Wirral.
Mrs Thomas, a mother of three, has realised how lucky she was to have neonatal care at Glan Clwyd Hospital when her son Oli was born at just 34 weeks in 2011.
“I can’t imagine a mother having to travel three quarters of an hour in an ambulance to another hospital with a very sick premature baby,” said Mrs Thomas.
“All the services are available at Glan Clwyd Hospital, and they are fantastic.
“I don’t understand why they are moving the neonatal unit to the Wirral.
“It is obvious that this decision has been made on a whim without even considering the welfare of babies in North Wales.
“They have had not had any discussions with real people who have been affected by premature births,” she added.
Mrs Thomas’ waters broke on Boxing Day 2010 just 33 weeks into her pregnancy and was rushed to Glan Clwyd Hospital.
The expertise of the doctors and the speed she got to the hospital meant her son’s birth was delayed and she was induced at 34 weeks, on January 1, 2011.
Oli was born on January 2 at 4.20am, six weeks early, weighing five pounds, 13 ounces and a half.
“The worry was immense, especially as I had two small children at home,” said Mrs Thomas.
“It is an awful experience for any mother to have a premature child but also having to leave your newborn baby at the hospital and come home is a heart-breaking experience.
“Nobody can experience that feeling unless they have experienced it themselves. Your body has given birth, but having to leave your child, and coming home empty handed is extremely difficult,” she added.
Despite Mrs Thomas, and her husband Bryn, only living a short distance from the hospital it still put a strain on them to visit the hospital and look after their other young children, Mali and Bili.
“Bryn had started a new job and at times I was only able to be with Oli in the evenings and this was breaking my heart,” said Mrs Thomas.
“If this care would only have been available at Arrowe Park, Bryn would not have been able to be with us, and I would never have been able to be with Oli everyday.
“It was hard enough having to leave my other two children to go to a hospital down the road. It is not a choice any mother should have to do,” she added.
North Wales’ AM Antoinette Sandbach has blamed the move on a political failure and a betrayal by the first minister, Carwyn Jones and the health board.
“The parents of very sick babies are extremely vulnerable. The mother is frequently traumatised and physically unwell herself, and desperately worried for her child.
“It is political failure that has led to the ridiculous position that North Wales, which is forecast by Welsh Government to have need for huge amounts of additional housing to cope with population expansion, will not be able to have neonatal care, whilst South Wales will have three units.
“This is a betrayal of North Wales by the minister and the health board, and one that will particularly impact on women. It shows the true colours of Labour, who are only
interested in resourcing South Wales.”