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From: The Socialist issue 554, 29 October 2008: Worlds apart - in ‘them and us’ society

Search site for keywords: Hospital - NHS - Election - Babies

Royal Glamorgan hospital

Save our neonatal services!

WORKING-CLASS people in the Pontypridd area are mounting an inspiring campaign against the 'temporary' downgrading of neonatal services at Royal Glamorgan hospital (RGH), in Llantrisant.

Sarah Mayo

Cwm Taf NHS Trust has downgraded the neonatal unit from a level three to a level two service. So babies born before 29 weeks into a pregnancy will now have to be transferred to Bristol or further afield and separated from their mothers.

This unacceptable, cost-cutting measure, putting both premature babies and their mothers at risk, has been done with no public consultation!

The 'Save the Royal Glamorgan Neonatal unit' campaign, with over 4,000 facebook members, organised a well-attended protest in Pontypridd town centre on 25 October. Hundreds of petitions were signed. People expressed angry disbelief that a service many have needed and used, is now under threat.

This is just the latest NHS cutback. Many agreed wholeheartedly that the cost of maintaining the neonatal service is just a minuscule fraction of what the government has spent bailing out the banks.

The campaign organisers agreed that the next stage is to organise a lobby of the Welsh Assembly to present the petitions, demanding that Assembly health minister Edwina Hart intervenes immediately and secures the present service.

Hart is part of the Plaid Cymru/ New Labour coalition government. Defending the NHS against Assembly cuts was a big theme of last year's Assembly elections and after protests by community campaigns and trades councils across Wales, Plaid Cymru opportunistically made opposing the cuts a key part of their election campaign.

The Welsh Assembly was forced to back away from many of their health cuts, including the threat to merge Princes Charles hospital, Merthyr Tydfil and the RGH. Yet now we see RGH's neonatal services under serious threat.

Working-class people are again forced to organise protests and lobbies to try to persuade Welsh Assembly politicians to carry out their election promises and stop these outrageous cuts.

Socialist Party members will keep participating in this campaign, including encouraging members of similar NHS campaigns elsewhere in Wales to join the lobby of the Assembly where possible and strengthen the links between local campaigns.

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