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Last Updated: Friday, 27 July 2007, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
Singer enters hospital funds row
Charlotte Church
Charlotte Church is expecting her first child this year
Charlotte Church has entered a funding row for planned new services at the Children's Hospital for Wales.

The singer and chat show host is patron of the Noah's Ark Appeal, which has raised 10m towards the Cardiff unit.

This week Cardiff Local Health Board (LHB) announced it could not afford its 1.1m share of expected annual running costs of the facility's second phase.

In a statement, Church said she hoped the unit's running costs "can be found through the government channels".

The first phase of the project was opened in February 2005 and included two 25-bed medical wards and one 16-bed paediatric cancer ward.

The planned second phase is to house an intensive care unit, operating theatres and surgical wards.

Catherine Zeta Jones opened the hospital's first phase
Catherine Zeta Jones officially opened the first phase in 2006

Church, who is expecting a baby later this year, said she had "shared in the joy felt by millions when the doors of the Children's Hospital for Wales were opened to its first patients".

"[The Noah's Ark Appeal] are always here to provide whatever equipment is needed by the medical teams at the hospital," she said.

"We are all happy to continue with our fundraising as a children's hospital is so important for this country - our children are our future.

"I hope, very much, that the running costs can be found through the government channels to match the work of the public through the Noah's Ark Appeal.

"3m seems like such as small sum to find each year among the huge public service budgets and yet it would make such a big difference to many thousands of children."

'Sick children'

On Wednesday, the Noah's Ark Appeal expressed its "disgust" at Cardiff LHB's decision not to pay its share of expected costs.

In an open letter, Lyn Jones, chairman of the Noah's Ark Appeal trustees, accused the board of "ignoring the strong wishes of the public".

"I cannot believe that your board regards the ill-health and treatment of sick children not to be a priority," he wrote.

But at its meeting, Cardiff LHB said it was unconvinced the proposal would meet the future needs of medical care for children, particularly the provision for outpatients and for care once youngsters are fit to be discharged.

The board said it still wanted to see the second phase of the hospital built and called for talks with its other main funding partners - Health Commission Wales, and LHBs in the Vale of Glamorgan and Caerphilly.

But it said in the "the present very challenging financial climate faced by the LHB, the extra costs of the current plans cannot take priority over other essential services."




SEE ALSO
Funds row at children's hospital
25 Jul 07 |  South East Wales
In Pictures: Zeta opens hospital
20 Jun 06 |  In Pictures
Rugby legend runs for charity
18 Sep 05 |  Wales

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