‘Disquiet’ On Brain Surgery Move

Critics of proposals to move brain services in north Wales say a public meeting will focus attention on “huge disquiet” over the idea.

No decision has been made on plans for patients to travel to Swansea or Cardiff rather than Liverpool, says the assembly government.

Clwyd West MP David Jones expects about 150 people in Colwyn Bay, with health officials on hand to answer questions.

In Wales, adult neurosurgery is carried out in both Cardiff and Swansea.

But patients from north Wales travel to the Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Liverpool for treatment.

Conservative MP Mr Jones said around 600 in-patients from north Wales were treated there each year, in addition to a larger number of out-patients.

He said the trip from north Wales to Liverpool by car would take patients about 90 minutes, which was preferable to a five-hour car trip from Colwyn Bay to Swansea. “This is not an all-Wales solution,” he added.

Journeys to Cardiff or Swansea would not only affect the patients but their families, he said.

In 2006, plans to create a single service in Cardiff were announced after a Health Commission Wales report.

It recommended the service be centralised in Cardiff, but Health Minister Edwina Hart put controversial plans to shut the specialist unit in Swansea on hold in July after a high-profile campaign.

At the time, Aberconwy Plaid Cymru AM Gareth Jones asked whether there was an alternative to having two specialist centres in south Wales.

He suggested that a location somewhere like Llandudno would be ideally situated for patients in north Wales.

But Ms Hart said she wanted to make sure as many non-emergency operations as possible were done in Cardiff and Swansea, warning that Wales could lose part of its service unless best use was made of it.

The panel, which will look at a scheme to pay patients’ travel costs, is due to report back in October.

The meeting is at Colwyn Bay town hall at 1900 BST on Friday.