IT IS  very good news for us in north west Wales that a new specialist unit for babies requiring intensive care is to be developed at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Bodelwyddan.

To have sited the unit in Wrexham Maelor would have put an intolerable strain on families faced with long journeys from Aberdaron or Amlwch.

I stressed that point in a meeting with the expert panel who were considering the issue, and it was obvious that they understood the situation.

I’m glad that First Minister Carwyn Jones has accepted the panel’s recommendation.

This is not, however, the end of the story. Now the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board face the challenge of recruiting top class specialists and staff to the facility at Glan Clwyd.

The neonatal service in north Wales has been allowed to run down for too long, and confidence must be rebuilt.

Babies requiring the highest level of care will still need to travel to England for treatment.

The long term aim must be to develop a centre of excellence at Glan Clwyd that will cater for all vulnerable babies in north Wales, except cases requiring surgery, within a reasonable distance of their home.