Changes to health services across Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire 'will be safe'

The Hywel Dda University Health Board has put out a statement today in the continuing row over changes to health services across Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire - 

Hywel Dda University Health Board will ensure changes to neonatal, maternity, paediatric and gynaecology services across Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire are safe.
The recommendations of an expert panel convened by the Health Minister Professor Mark Drakeford regarding maternity, neonatal, paediatric and gynaecology services in the south of the University Health Board, and also changes to paediatric rotas at Withybush and Glangwili Hospitals will happen over the next few months.
As a part of these changes residents across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire are also set to benefit from new facilities for newborn babies requiring neonatal care. The University Health Board is investing in a new neonatal unit. The new facilities will also include dedicated parent accommodation and will be based at Glangwili Hospital for families across the three counties.
A dedicated programme board, with membership from WAST and Hywel Dda CHC, has been established to provide assurance around the planning of these changes.
The planning process will be informed by dedicated sub groups with membership from staff working in affected services to advise the programme board on:
the infrastructure requirements, including estates and transport
the detailed service models and protocols for neonatal, paediatric and gynaecology services
University Health Board Chief Executive Trevor Purt said: “We understand that local health care is an emotive subject and would like to reassure people that the service and care they receive will be safe.
“The University Health Board will be monitoring the changes continuously and the Minister has announced his intention to scrutinise the changes at the end of the first 12 months.
“In addition, the Minister has been clear about ensuring that there is a ‘safety net’ at Withybush Hospital so, for at least the first 12 months, there will be obstetric and paediatric cover to support the introduction of the midwife-led unit.
“Staff working in these services are an integral part of the planning process and will be working together over the coming months to ensure these changes are safe yet made efficiently. We are committed to fully engaging with our communities and will arrange opportunities where they can meet with our teams and explore our plans in greater detail when the above work has been concluded."
The University Health Board is committed to keeping staff and the public updated on progress of its planning process and, to help address concerns, a set of frequently asked questions, covering a number of topics such as transport and service changes, is available at www.hywelddahb.wales.nhs.uk/yourfutureservices and will be updated regularly over the coming months.

Notes from Hywel Dda University Health Board:
We will be able to provide a new neonatal unit in the Hywel Dda area, providing a higher level of care for sicker babies. This will be based at Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen. The future neonatal service should reduce the number of sicker babies requiring transfer outside of our three counties to Swansea, or further afield. 
To achieve this we must consolidate our neonatal services at Glangwili Hospital and the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at Withybush Hospital will close. A Programme Board has been established to safely oversee these changes. As soon as timelines are available the University Health Board will ensure they are shared widely with staff and the community.
The maternity unit at Withybush Hospital will become a stand-alone midwife-led unit and Glangwili Hospital will become the main maternity unit for Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire providing a midwife-led unit, co-located with an obstetric unit providing care for mothers with higher risk pregnancies.
As part of his decision, the Minister has asked us to put in place a ‘safety net’ at Withybush Hospital so, for at least the first 12 months, there will be obstetric and paediatric staff on-site in hours and obstetric and paediatric on-call rotas during out of hours and weekends to support the introduction of the midwife-led unit.
There is an absolute interdependency between neonatal, paediatric and obstetric services; so that changes to any of these services cannot be made independent of each other. We are struggling to maintain paediatrics medical rotas at both Withybush and Glangwili Hospitals and separately to meet training requirements from the Deanery we have to move all trainees to Glangwili Hospital for their out of hours on call work by August 2014. This makes the junior doctor tier one rota at Withybush Hospital unsustainable without dependence on locum and agency staff or our consultants working as middle grades. Our proposed service is to develop a 12-hour ambulatory paediatric service at Withybush Hospital, co-located with the emergency department, and a range of outpatient services, including an enhanced community paediatric service with a full 24/7 inpatient service at Glangwili Hospital and dedicated high dependency beds. Day case and elective gynaecology services will be provided at Glangwili and Withybush Hospitals and all out-patient services will continue as they are presently. This means there will be gynaecology consultants on site during working hours at Withybush Hospital with a 24/7 emergency gynaecology service will be provided at Glangwili Hospital.

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