In November, I wrote in this column about my visit to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd where the new state-of-the-art neonatal unit to care for very sick and premature babies in North Wales will be built.
At the time I said I would keep you updated about the plans for this very special unit.
I am pleased the initial plans – known as the outline business case – for the Sub Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Centre (SuRNICC) have been approved by the Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford.
We have also awarded Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board £500,000 to develop the full business case for the SuRNICC, which is due to open by 2018.
This is on top of the £1.4m I announced in October to upgrade the electrical infrastructure at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and install an extra incubator for the most critically-ill babies.
The approval of the outline business case by the Health Minister is another step towards the creation of the SuRNICC, which will provide an excellent standard of care for mothers and babies from across North Wales.
The detailed plans will now be worked on by a special project board, which will include clinical leads for neonatal care and infection prevention, parent representatives and a range of neonatal staff. It’s important the views of people who will work and use this state-of-the-art facility are taken into account in the planning stage.
The SuRNICC is one of many exciting health developments across North Wales.
The new minor injuries unit at Llandudno Hospital was backed by £2m from the Welsh Government. It provides a better experience for patients and staff and enables more people to be treated locally, reducing demand on the emergency units at Ysbyty Gwynedd and Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.
The new health centre in Llangollen is up and running, offering a range of services for the community in one modern facility. And the £5m Tywyn Hospital redevelopment, which brings together primary care and community hospital services in one new building, is due to open to patients later this year.
The new primary care centres in Flint and Blaenau Ffestiniog are being developed – these will be valuable assets in these communities.
Like the SuRNICC, I’m looking forward to seeing these developments progress so they provide the very best care for people living in North Wales.