Charity says Welsh Assembly must pay hospital running costs

A Welsh charity that raised £6.8m to build a children's hospital is fighting to make the Welsh Assembly pay for the £3m annual running costs after learning that the NHS will not fund phase two of the development.

Noah’s Ark Appeal began fundraising in 2000 to pay for the construction of the Children’s Hospital for Wales, which opened in Cardiff in 2005. However, Cardiff Local Health Board decided this week not to fund plans for phase two of the hospital, which include operating theatres, an intensive care unit and an outpatient clinic, in their current form. The health board would have been expected to pay for the additional running costs of the expanded hospital.

Cardiff LHB said that “the health of all children is a priority” but that it had concerns that the proposed plan “does not give sufficient explanation of new models of care or sufficient clarity of the increased revenue requirement”.

The charity, which is currently fundraising for a teenage cancer facility, has vowed that it will keep fighting to persuade the Welsh Assembly to pick up the tab for the hospital’s running costs.

Lyn Jones, chairman of the charity’s trustees, said the Welsh Assembly was "passing the buck" to the health board, which could not afford to fund the project. He said: “Wales is a third world country in terms of getting things done. Maybe now it’s time to get the Prime Minister involved.”

The charity's patron, singer and television personality Charlotte Church, has also joined the campaign. She said: "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."

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