Hopes for child ear implants at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd
Cochlear implants in children could be carried out at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in Bodelwyddan if a health board gives the go-ahead.
Youngsters from north and mid Wales currently have to travel to England for the proceedure.
A Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board spokesman said more details were needed before a decision could be made.
Ysbyty Glan Clwyd was the first hospital in Wales to undertake cochlear implant surgery in 1990.
Since the first 21 years ago, a total of 185 operations have been carried out at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.
End Quote Mark Common Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
A regional programme ... will improve access to these services, provide equity across Wales, and improve the quality of care and rehabilitation”
A report by Mark Common, the board's director of improvement and business support was discussed on Thursay.
It notes that the programme accepts referrals from a wide geographical area.
These include north and mid Wales, Cheshire, Merseyside, Shropshire and south Lancashire.
It added that in a reversal of typical patient flows the system generates income from England into the Welsh health economy.
"A regional programme for profoundly deaf children in north Wales will improve access to these services, provide equity across Wales, and improve the quality of care and rehabilitation," said Mr Common.
"It would also provide local support for teachers and therapists helping these children in the community," he added.
- Cochlear implants consist of two parts.
- The first is an internal receiver which is surgically implanted into the mastoid bone behind the ear with electrodes being inserted into the inner ear (cochlea).
- The second is an external part, which is a microphone and speech processor, worn behind the ear and connected to the inside part via a magnet.
- This converts sound into an electrical signal which is sent to the electrodes in the inner ear.
- The signals are sent along the auditory nerve to the brain, where the signals are perceived as sound.
Mr Common said it would mean an "enormous amount" for any children, and their families, affected by deafness.
Support from the board would sustain a "flagship service", he said.
It would also "divert resources, currently sent to England" and ensure "recruitment, and retention" of highly motivated professionals to work in Wales, he added.
Demand would be about five cases a year, he added.
A spokesman for the health board said they were keen to move forward with the plan, but needed more information before they could make a decision.