Health Minister approves plan to close Special Care Baby Unit at Withybush and create midwife-led maternity unit

Milford Mercury: GOING: Withybush SCBU is to close (file picture) GOING: Withybush SCBU is to close (file picture)

THE Health Minister has approved plans to close the Special Care Baby Unit at Withybush Hospital in an announcement this afternoon.

Mark Drakeford said that following the submission of further information from Hywel Dda Health Board regarding obstetric and midwifery care the panel brought in to consider proposals still believed a the establishment of a level two unit at Glangwili is the best for patients.

Mr Drakeford said: “The panel has confirmed its advice to me in September that a level 2 Neonatal Unit is established at Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen. The Panel has also endorsed Hywel Dda Health Board’s intention to move to midwife led units across the region.

“However, the panel has set out a number of important provisos and recommend a phased introduction of the new model. These include robust ‘safety net’ arrangements to provide midwives with skilled assistance in the event of an unexpected emergency. There must also be robust emergency transfer arrangements, and the midwife-led units must be developed according to strict guidelines.

“These changes will mean that the majority of maternity services will continue to be provided locally by their GP and hospital as they are now, and the majority of women can safely choose to have their deliveries at their local midwife led unit.

“The panel’s conclusion is that the new service model will ‘provide an improved service for Hywel Dda mothers and babies’. That is the basis on which it has secured my endorsement.”

Preseli Pembrokeshire AM Paul Davies said the announcement was a ‘bleak day for the people of Pembrokeshire’.

“The decision to close this unit will undoubtedly put lives at risk,” he added.

The main recommendations of the panel are that a level two neonatal unit, estimated to cost £12m, is established at Carmarthen, obstetric and maternity services at Bronglais and Withybush hospitals will be midwifery-led; Until the new service model is in place, consultant obstetric support will remain in place in Withybush; There should be a phased introduction, with the new service model fully implemented only when all the necessary elements – including hospital transfer arrangements for emergencies – are in place and paediatric and obstetric teams, based at Glangwili, should provide 24/7 emergency care across the entire Health Board area.

Local MP Stephen Crabb said he was 'shocked and appalled' at the Minister's decision.

"This news is a cold and bitter blow to all the people across Pembrokeshire who have fought hard to save the Special Care Baby Unit. They will rightfully feel angry and deeply disappointed that their grave concerns have been ignored by the Minister. There can be no doubt that this decision will cause huge anxiety in the community. I fear that the closure of SCBU is the start of the wholesale downgrading that Welsh Government and the Health Board has been planning all along.

"As many Pembrokeshire people know, the Welsh Government has been trying desperately to move health services from Withybush Hospital since before 2005. The Labour Ministers in Cardiff need to wake up to reality and realise that centralising these vital services will put lives at risk in our rural communities. The next step in the campaign to save SCBU is through the courts and I fully support any such action.  I will be providing any assistance I can to help overturn this decision."

Comments (14)

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3:58pm Tue 21 Jan 14

williamsmum says...

A disgraceful decision, the minister and all those involved should be utterly ashamed of themselves.
They had made up their minds years ago to downgrade our wonderful hospital,
It only goes to show how little is thought of the people of Pembrokeshire.
A disgraceful decision, the minister and all those involved should be utterly ashamed of themselves. They had made up their minds years ago to downgrade our wonderful hospital, It only goes to show how little is thought of the people of Pembrokeshire. williamsmum
  • Score: 22

4:27pm Tue 21 Jan 14

Electra1 says...

So what happens when the road is blocked with snow and no helicopters are flying?
So what happens when the road is blocked with snow and no helicopters are flying? Electra1
  • Score: 17

4:39pm Tue 21 Jan 14

williamsmum says...

You die, its then one or two less for the NHS to bother with.
They don't give a **** about us.
You die, its then one or two less for the NHS to bother with. They don't give a **** about us. williamsmum
  • Score: 12

5:23pm Tue 21 Jan 14

chizy says...

So Mr Crabb, if it were Conservative ministers in Cardiff the SBU would never have closed?
You are all as bad as each other,in it for personal gain and have no concept of reality. Stop playing the blame game and do something (or at least pretend to do something). I think next move is a concerned looking Mr Crabb, Mr Hart and Mr Davies by the Withybush sign, then I'll be assured they mean business.
The rot in this country started way before 1997.
You politicians do it all the time, blame the previous lot.
We are all in it together? Of course we are.
So Mr Crabb, if it were Conservative ministers in Cardiff the SBU would never have closed? You are all as bad as each other,in it for personal gain and have no concept of reality. Stop playing the blame game and do something (or at least pretend to do something). I think next move is a concerned looking Mr Crabb, Mr Hart and Mr Davies by the Withybush sign, then I'll be assured they mean business. The rot in this country started way before 1997. You politicians do it all the time, blame the previous lot. We are all in it together? Of course we are. chizy
  • Score: 10

5:28pm Tue 21 Jan 14

williamsmum says...

They all give us 'lip service' and tell us what we want to hear. None of them live in the real world (or have had a proper job either).
Hope they all sleep well tonight!
They all give us 'lip service' and tell us what we want to hear. None of them live in the real world (or have had a proper job either). Hope they all sleep well tonight! williamsmum
  • Score: 7

5:43pm Tue 21 Jan 14

Davy525 says...

Expectant mothers in Pembrokeshire: Please DO NOT go into LABOUR at 12.30 pm.(lunch time). The ferry in Fishguard docks at this time of the day and should you call an ambulance you will be in the back of the queue behind 300 to 400 cars and lorries travelling along the A40 whilst you are heading for Glangwilli Hospital on an inferior road. Not many passing places for the ambulance?? It is possible that many babies will be born "on-route"due to this disgusting decision to close the baby unit at Withybush. Shame on the Welsh assembly.
Expectant mothers in Pembrokeshire: Please DO NOT go into LABOUR at 12.30 pm.(lunch time). The ferry in Fishguard docks at this time of the day and should you call an ambulance you will be in the back of the queue behind 300 to 400 cars and lorries travelling along the A40 whilst you are heading for Glangwilli Hospital on an inferior road. Not many passing places for the ambulance?? It is possible that many babies will be born "on-route"due to this disgusting decision to close the baby unit at Withybush. Shame on the Welsh assembly. Davy525
  • Score: 21

6:18pm Tue 21 Jan 14

Welshman23 says...

chizy wrote:
So Mr Crabb, if it were Conservative ministers in Cardiff the SBU would never have closed?
You are all as bad as each other,in it for personal gain and have no concept of reality. Stop playing the blame game and do something (or at least pretend to do something). I think next move is a concerned looking Mr Crabb, Mr Hart and Mr Davies by the Withybush sign, then I'll be assured they mean business.
The rot in this country started way before 1997.
You politicians do it all the time, blame the previous lot.
We are all in it together? Of course we are.
How about the local council BPJ and his senior staff show your support this decision is shocking so Stephen Crabbshowyour true colours.
[quote][p][bold]chizy[/bold] wrote: So Mr Crabb, if it were Conservative ministers in Cardiff the SBU would never have closed? You are all as bad as each other,in it for personal gain and have no concept of reality. Stop playing the blame game and do something (or at least pretend to do something). I think next move is a concerned looking Mr Crabb, Mr Hart and Mr Davies by the Withybush sign, then I'll be assured they mean business. The rot in this country started way before 1997. You politicians do it all the time, blame the previous lot. We are all in it together? Of course we are.[/p][/quote]How about the local council BPJ and his senior staff show your support this decision is shocking so Stephen Crabbshowyour true colours. Welshman23
  • Score: -9

6:19pm Tue 21 Jan 14

Gogledd says...

I agree with all your comment its a disgrace and shows us that we are ABSOLUTELY POWERLESS AND HAVE NO SAY AT ALL IN ANYTHING....
These idiots from Cardiff haven t a clue...but I never voted for them...because my wise old Gran told me this would happen that the WG was jobs for the boyos in Cardiff and the rest of us would be dammed....
I agree with all your comment its a disgrace and shows us that we are ABSOLUTELY POWERLESS AND HAVE NO SAY AT ALL IN ANYTHING.... These idiots from Cardiff haven t a clue...but I never voted for them...because my wise old Gran told me this would happen that the WG was jobs for the boyos in Cardiff and the rest of us would be dammed.... Gogledd
  • Score: 10

7:11pm Tue 21 Jan 14

Hyper-injunctions says...

I am stunned at Stephen Crapp's hypocrisy over this. If the Tories had their way there would be no NHS at all. A hospital that doesn't make profits for shareholders is doomed under the Tories dreams of a market lead healthcare system. What hope for the money pit of withybush if his lot got in again?
Shameful electioneering on the back of a very important issue for the county.
I am stunned at Stephen Crapp's hypocrisy over this. If the Tories had their way there would be no NHS at all. A hospital that doesn't make profits for shareholders is doomed under the Tories dreams of a market lead healthcare system. What hope for the money pit of withybush if his lot got in again? Shameful electioneering on the back of a very important issue for the county. Hyper-injunctions
  • Score: 6

7:28pm Tue 21 Jan 14

mcsparrow_98 says...

Robust Transfer Method - This is an absolute joke - of the highest order.

Although in fairness we have just improved transport links between Pemblewyn and Haverfordwest with the new bypass and additional overtaking lane.... oh wait....This is an absolute joke too.

No matter which road you choose to take to get out of Pembrokeshire, you are limited by the speed of the driver in front of you - which i've found on average is about 45 miles per hour - on a good day.

Absolute joke.
Robust Transfer Method - This is an absolute joke - of the highest order. Although in fairness we have just improved transport links between Pemblewyn and Haverfordwest with the new bypass and additional overtaking lane.... oh wait....This is an absolute joke too. No matter which road you choose to take to get out of Pembrokeshire, you are limited by the speed of the driver in front of you - which i've found on average is about 45 miles per hour - on a good day. Absolute joke. mcsparrow_98
  • Score: 17

7:33pm Tue 21 Jan 14

H'west guy says...

chizy wrote:
So Mr Crabb, if it were Conservative ministers in Cardiff the SBU would never have closed?
You are all as bad as each other,in it for personal gain and have no concept of reality. Stop playing the blame game and do something (or at least pretend to do something). I think next move is a concerned looking Mr Crabb, Mr Hart and Mr Davies by the Withybush sign, then I'll be assured they mean business.
The rot in this country started way before 1997.
You politicians do it all the time, blame the previous lot.
We are all in it together? Of course we are.
I agree with your comment, it was nothing more than a photo opportunity. But unfortunately the buck stops at Labour as they are in power in Wales. I seem to recall back in 2011 when the last elections to the Welsh Assembly took place Peter Hain was told the people of Wales to 'Vote Labour to send a message to Cameron,' I hope that message was worth it!!
I don't care who will be in power in London at the time, when the next Assembly elections occur in 2016 I will be voting AGAINST this Labour administration!! I'm sick and tired of them taking the Welsh electorate for granted!!
[quote][p][bold]chizy[/bold] wrote: So Mr Crabb, if it were Conservative ministers in Cardiff the SBU would never have closed? You are all as bad as each other,in it for personal gain and have no concept of reality. Stop playing the blame game and do something (or at least pretend to do something). I think next move is a concerned looking Mr Crabb, Mr Hart and Mr Davies by the Withybush sign, then I'll be assured they mean business. The rot in this country started way before 1997. You politicians do it all the time, blame the previous lot. We are all in it together? Of course we are.[/p][/quote]I agree with your comment, it was nothing more than a photo opportunity. But unfortunately the buck stops at Labour as they are in power in Wales. I seem to recall back in 2011 when the last elections to the Welsh Assembly took place Peter Hain was told the people of Wales to 'Vote Labour to send a message to Cameron,' I hope that message was worth it!! I don't care who will be in power in London at the time, when the next Assembly elections occur in 2016 I will be voting AGAINST this Labour administration!! I'm sick and tired of them taking the Welsh electorate for granted!! H'west guy
  • Score: 4

9:19pm Tue 21 Jan 14

William 1 says...

I say CLOSE the Welsh Assembly down and keep SCBU open! This is a disgraceful decision, shame on you minister and all concerned in the Welsh Government!
I say CLOSE the Welsh Assembly down and keep SCBU open! This is a disgraceful decision, shame on you minister and all concerned in the Welsh Government! William 1
  • Score: 23

11:44pm Tue 21 Jan 14

Flashbang says...

You're going to have blood on your hands sooner rather than later Minister. I hope you are told when someone dies because of your decisions.
You're going to have blood on your hands sooner rather than later Minister. I hope you are told when someone dies because of your decisions. Flashbang
  • Score: 11

12:58pm Fri 24 Jan 14

enthusiasticmisfit says...

It seems silly we are getting rid of services (in the NHS and the Authority) when we are currently in the planning phase of a 700 home development in Haverfordwest- surely we should be increasing services not losing them...
It seems silly we are getting rid of services (in the NHS and the Authority) when we are currently in the planning phase of a 700 home development in Haverfordwest- surely we should be increasing services not losing them... enthusiasticmisfit
  • Score: 6

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