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Last Updated: Monday, 15 March, 2004, 07:06 GMT
Maternity consultation ends
Neath Port Talbot Hospital
The 64m Neath Port Talbot Hospital was opened last November
A public consultation on changes to maternity services at Wales' newest hospital is due to end on Monday.

The views of local people on plans to make maternity services at Neath Port Talbot Hospital midwife-run, rather than supervised by consultants and doctors, have been invited before a final decision is reached.

The consultation period is now due to end, with the Neath Port Talbot Local Health Board due to meet on 1 April to make a final decision on the unit's future.

On Friday, a group of mothers held a protest at the hospital over what they say is a downgrading of services.

Under the proposals, which were recommended by a review group set up by the health board in December, maternity services will be provided by midwives, with non-routine and emergency cases transferred to consultant-led units at hospitals in Bridgend and Swansea.

Protests at Neath Port Talbot Hospital
There have been protests against the maternity unit plans

The 64m hospital, which opened last November, at Baglan, Port Talbot, has been unable to recruit enough medical staff for the maternity unit, leading to the recommendation to move to a midwife-led facility.

The health board has denied that a midwife-led unit would amount to a downgrading of maternity care in Neath Port Talbot.

But the recommendations have led to protests from people living locally, who object to some mothers from the area having to travel to Swansea or Bridgend to give birth.

A 5,000-signature petition has been collected against the proposals.

If the proposal is finally adopted, following the public consultation, the new service could be up and running by April.

Backing for midwife-led unit
22 Dec 03  |  Wales
March over maternity cuts plan
18 Oct 03  |  Wales
Maternity unit facing cutbacks
04 Sep 03  |  Wales

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