3:08pm Tuesday 24th September 2013
An expert panel which has examined controversial Hywel Dda Health Board plans to close the Special Care Baby Unit at Withybush Hospital has advised the Health Minister to ask for more information before making a decision.
The scrutiny panel report on service change proposals regarding neonatal services says clarity is needed from Hywel Dda Health Board on its obstetric and midfwifery services before any decision is made on neonatal services.
The report reads: “The configuration of neonatal services cannot be determined in the absence of clear and definite plans for obstetric and midwifery services in the Hywel Dda area, including Bronglais Hospital as well as Glangwili and Withybush Hospital.
“Our advice to the Minister is to seek clarification from Hywel Dda LHB of the maternity (obstetric and midwifery) plans that will be implemented before reaching a conclusion on the configuration of neonatal services.”
But the report goes on to back the creation of a Level 2 Neonatal Unit at Glangwili – a move that would see the Special Care Baby Unit at Withybush Hospital close.
The report said that accompanied by the appropriate changes in obstetric services, “the development of a Level 2 Neonatal Unit at Glangwili offers opportunity for improved efficiency, safety, sustainability and equity in the delivery of neonatal services.”
In a statement to the Assembly a short time ago, Health Minister Mark Drakeford said he had asked Hywel Dda LHB to begin outlining further its plans for maternity, including obstetrics and midwifery, and asked that the work be completed by Christmas.
He said that he hoped that the panel’s final consideration would be presented shortly after the Assembly’s Christmas break.
Preseli Pembrokeshire Assembly Member Paul Davies drew attention to the difficult road network across much of Pembrokeshire and said that closing the unit at Withybush would be “dangerous and unsafe.”
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