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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 September, 2004, 09:46 GMT 10:46 UK
Legal threat to brain surgery plan
Cardiff's University Hospital of Wales
The plan would see operations centralised in Cardiff
A father is considering legal action in the fight to stop the downgrading of a children's brain surgery unit.

Steve Sullivan's eight-year-old son Kieran has been a patient at the neurosurgery unit at Morriston Hospital in Swansea.

Mr Sullivan, from Carmarthen, says he is appalled at plans to move services to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

He will meet his lawyers next week to discuss taking action.

Kieran had a tube fitted in his skull after birth, and has had several other operations at Morriston since.

His father is one of the leaders of the Kids Come First campaign, set up to fight the closure of the specialist unit.

Proposals to switch most child neurosurgery in south Wales to Cardiff have provoked much criticism.

Under new recommendations from Health Commission Wales, Swansea's Morriston Hospital will keep performing some emergency operations.

Doctor and Plaid Cymru AM Dr Dai Lloyd claimed the move amounted to the closure of Swansea's specialist unit.

Health experts claim the plans are the best way to stop services being moved to England.

'Significant downgrading'

Plaid Cymru's Dr Lloyd said the increased role of the University Hospital of Wales meant Swansea's centre of excellence "would be no more".

"We can have clever management speak about retaining emergency services, but this is a significant downgrading of an excellent unit," he said.

"Frankly, I view it as closure of what we knew as Morriston neurological unit."

Two years ago, there was massive opposition to previous plans to close the department at Morriston.

Mr Sullivan said he was "disgusted, angry and frightened" by the plans.

"I am very bitter - I don't know where we turn from here," he said.

The Health Commission argues that the recommendations represent the best way of keeping paediatric neurosurgery in Wales.

Chief executive Stuart Fletcher denied Morriston's unit was to close.

"Certainly we will be maintaining provision for emergency neurosurgical cases in Swansea," he said.

"It was made quite clear to us the people in west Wales were keen to ensure the continuance of local access for children who needed emergency care."

If the plan is approved by the Swansea Community Health Council, it can progress without a decision from the Welsh health minister, Jane Hutt.


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