Page last updated at 16:39 GMT, Wednesday, 20 June 2012 17:39 UK

Liberal Democrats debate

AMs accused the Welsh government of "passing the buck" regarding the "serious shortfall" of neonatal staff in Wales.

According to a committee report, there are serious concerns for the sudden shortfall of midwives, pediatricians and neonatal consultants in Wales.

Liberal Democrat AM Aled Roberts was leading a debate on behalf of his party on maternity and neonatal care, on 20 June 2012.

The Children and Young People Committee is currently undertaking an inquiry into neonatal services, and they recently heard evidence from Betsi Cadwaladr a Hywel Dda health boards.

The purpose of the inquiry is to consider the progress the Welsh government has made in implementing the recommendations of a previous assembly report .

According to the Royal College of Midwives there has been a "dramatic fall" in the number of midwives in Wales; between 2008 and 2010 there was a 10% drop in the staffing figure.

During the debate, Aled Roberts accused the Welsh government of failing to address the problem and called on the health minister to provide a strong leadership to increase staffing.

Mr Roberts said: "The Welsh government has been too quick to pass the buck to local health boards.

"There needs to be a strong lead from them (the Welsh government) to ensure services are delivered properly."

Contributing to the debate on behalf of Plaid Cymru, Jocelyn Davies AM agreed that there was a "critical shortage" of neonatal staff and said that "every neonatal unit in Wales is affected".

Conservative AM Angela Burns also accused the government of "letting these tiny babies down" and called the situation "unacceptable".

Responding to the debate, Health Minister Lesley Griffiths said she was holding the local health boards to account.

The minister agreed that "there is no room complacency and that "clearly there is much more to be done".

However Ms Griffiths said that significant improvement have been made to maternity and neonatal services in Wales.

Ms Griffiths insisted the government was already providing strong leadership in shaping these services across Wales.

The minister also refused to accept that there had been a 10% drop in the number of midwives between 2008 and 2010.

Read this in Welsh.


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