Hywel Dda Community Health Council chairman says public has been hoodwinked
2:18pm Tuesday 15th January 2013 in Milford Mercury news
Hywel Dda Health Board has confirmed that the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at Withybush Hospital is to close with services shifted to Carmarthen, despite strong opposition from local campaigners.
The health board confirmed its plans to develop a complex obstetric unit, neonatal unit and high dependency paediatric unit at Glangwili Hospital at its extraordinary meeting this morning (Tuesday).
Withybush Hospital had been outlined as the alternative choice, but despite a strong response from local supporters in the health board's consultation, Glangwili emerged as the final choice.
In-patient paediatric services, stabilisation, resuscitation and consultant obstetric services will be retained at Withybush as part of the changes.
Community Health Council (CHC) Chairman Tony Wales called it a "disappointing day" for patients, the public and also for his organisation, which he said had been ignored.
He said he was disappointed that the recommendations had been approved and questioned the integrity of the entire consultation process, saying it appeared the public had been "hoodwinked."
In addition, Mr Wales reiterated concerns regarding the "lack of analysis, the absence of financial data and of future modelling to indicate as to how community services would be delivered."
Local Assembly Member Paul Davies said he was "extremely angry" the local health board had not listened to the people of Pembrokeshire.
"Concerns have been voiced on a number of issues, most notably, the potential removal of the Special Care Baby Unit at Withybush hospital, where clinicians have told us how closing this unit could have a harmful effect on the families of unborn babies across Pembrokeshire.
"The decision to press ahead and establish a level two neonatal unit in Carmarthen is unacceptable – put simply, this will put lives and risk," he said.
Mr Davies said he hoped the local Community Health Council would object to the proposals and transfer the matter to the health minister for consideration.