New dedicated ambulance to provide additional support for Withybush Hospital

An additional dedicated ambulance is being commissioned by the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust (WAST) and Hywel Dda University Health Board to support changes to services at Withybush Hospital, Haverfordwest.
The additional ambulance will be staffed by fully trained paramedics, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It will be based at Withybush Hospital by August, creating 12 new jobs in Pembrokeshire.
Paul Hawkins, Chief Operating Officer at the University Health Board and Chair of the Programme Board tasked with implementing the new way of delivering maternity, neonatal, paediatrics and gynaecology across Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire said: “Robust transport has always been a key element of the new services and a key component of the safety net function.
“We are aware of recent reports stating that patients will queue for this one and only ambulance. This is pure scaremongering and only serves to further worry an already concerned community. We are being very clear this is not the only ambulance that will be available to transfer patients but is an additional resource to support the transport available to Pembrokeshire patients. The vehicle will be based at Withybush Hospital, not at the local ambulance station, and the paramedic crew will be integrated with the staff at Withybush Hospital.
“Our colleagues at WAST have been working with us as part of the Programme Board and have undertaken a comprehensive evaluation of the current demand upon ambulance services from the Pembrokeshire locality into Withybush Hospital. We believe having an additional dedicated ambulance based at Withybush Hospital will be more than sufficient to support the changes to services. This decision has been based on data from real patients over the past 12 months. This has shown us that the absolute worst case scenario, as a result of these changes, is an additional nine journeys a day will need to be made each day between Withybush and Glangwili Hospitals, but on average this will be much lower."
Rob Jeffery, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Head of Service for Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “Following the ministerial announcement in January, we have worked closely with Hywel Dda University Health Board at both the Programme Board and within the various sub-groups to ensure that we fully understand the operational implications for the Welsh Ambulance Service.
“Our planning assumptions have been based on the worst case scenario, and following careful analysis of data from both the Welsh Ambulance Service and the university health board the data indicates that we would expect to see up to nine transfers per day in the initial stage, and as the service becomes embedded this may decline slightly.
“We recognise the concerns raised both within our own organisation and the wider public, but we believe that the arrangements being put in place will ensure that we are able to meet the requirements of the reconfigured services, and at the same time ensure that day-to-day services are not adversely compromised.
“When this dedicated vehicle is committed to a transfer, and a separate request for a transfer presents itself, we will do as we do currently and deploy our normal resources to support this transfer in the routine way.”
For the latest information regarding changes to maternity, neonatal, paediatrics and gynaecology services in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire please visit www.hywelddhb.wales.nhs.uk/yourfutureservices.

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