‘Disgust’ At Child Hospital Cash

A funding row has broken out over the Children’s Hospital of Wales as Cardiff health chiefs say they cannot afford to give it priority over other services. As Cardiff Local Health Board discusses the issue, the Noah’s Ark Appeal – which has raised £10m for the hospital – voiced its “disgust”.

The LHB said it recognised the need for purpose-built child treatment services. But it said the final phase of building would cost an extra £5.1m each year, of which its share would be £1.1m. Lyn Jones, chairman of the Noah’s Ark Appeal trustees, has written an open letter to the LHB.

Mr Jones said he wanted to express the group’s “disgust” and “its many supporters in respect of the low priority status” the LHB was giving the hospital. “The board acts as a guardian of public funds, and yet talk of the children’s hospital not being a priority for investment, indicates an arrogant board that does not intend to carry out the wishes of the public that it serves,” wrote Mr Jones.

“The people of Wales in supporting the Noah’s Ark Appeal have strongly demonstrated that they wish to see a children’s hospital – a purpose-built, world-class, child-friendly facility – a far cry, as you will know from the state of the surgical wards in which many thousands of the children that you will affect, have to put up with. I cannot believe that your board regards the ill-health and treatment of sick children not to be a priority,” he added.

An LHB spokesman said: “In the present very challenging financial climate faced by the LHB, the extra costs of the current plans cannot take priority over other essential services.”

The LHB said members would be asked to discuss the matter on Wednesday. “The board is being asked to support the principle of the completion of phase two of the Children’s Hospital for Wales, but not to support the current plans because the extra running costs of the new development cannot be afforded by the LHB,” said the spokesman.

“Cardiff LHB will therefore work with the Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust to develop revised plans and find further service efficiencies, which will reduce the cost to the LHB,” he added.