THE loss of 24 hour paediatric care in Pembrokeshire has been confirmed by a Health Board report revealed at its meeting earlier this week.

A Clinical Services Strategy report by director of clinical services Phil Kloer was approved by Hywel Dda University Health Board and focused on paediatric services in light of the health minister’s backing for the closure of SCBU at Withybush Hospital.

It refers back to proposals previously put forward to establish a Complex Obstetric Unit (COU) alongside a Paediatric High Dependency Unit at Glangwili Hospital.

It cites problems with recruitment as a key reason for the removal of services from Withybush Hospital.

Concerns about the recent appointment of two paediatricians, one of which was later stopped from taking up post, have been raised by campaigners and CHC members at meetings recently.

The latest report states: “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.”

The Health Board’s proposed service will result in a 12-hour ‘ambulatory paediatric service’ at Withybush Hospital, co-located with the emergency department.

A health board spokesman said that 'ambulatory' refers to out-patient care.

The facilities at Withybush would be designed for testing and assessment during the day before discharge or transfer to Glangwili, the only hospital which will retain a 24 hour paediatric inpatient service, if a child needs to be admitted.

She added that the majority of paediatric patients stay in hospital for 12 hours or less.
There will be a range of outpatient services, ‘including an enhanced community paediatric service'.

"Our proposed service is a 12-hour Paediatric Ambulatory Care Unit at Withybush Hospital meaning that inpatient services for children in the south of the Health Board will be at Glangwili Hospital. The detail of what this service will look like and how it will be delivered has not been finalised and will be developed by our clinical staff and planning teams over the coming months. As soon as there is a clearer understanding of how these changes will impact on the children's ward and staff we will share this widely with our staff and the public," she added.

Project boards will meet in February to finalise planning details, including what the changes mean for the children's ward at Withybush Hospital.