PLANS for healthcare in west Wales were finally launched by Hywel Dda Health Board last week and residents now have 12 weeks to have their say on proposed changes.

Some services will be lost from Withybush Hospital, including the Special Care Baby Unit, which health bosses said is not up to national standard.

The removal of Minor Injury Units (MIU) from South Pembrokeshire and Tenby hospitals, with treatment moved to GPs and staff redeployed at Withybush Hospital, is also proposed.

The Health Board has put forward its plan for future services, in the Your Health, Your Future document.

The document states that as part of the ‘care closer to home’ plans, the Health Board will support GP practices in providing a minor injury service during surgery hours and there will be 24/7 minor injury services on each main hospital site, including Withybush.

Minor injury services will be entirely nurse-led and to support this the board states it will increase the numbers of emergency nurse practitioners and redeploy current staff.

Reiterating the Health Board’s view that ‘no change is not an option’ the consultation document examines the reconfiguration of hospital services including cancer services, women and children’s services, and emergency departments and unplanned care.

A Hywel Dda Specialist Breast Cancer Team will be developed and support breast cancer surgery at Withybush and other sites, with a specialist centre at Prince Philip Hospital.

A similar team will be developed for colorectal surgery, which will remain at Withybush, which will also be the centre for minimally invasive surgery.

Consultant-led obstetric services will continue to be provided at Withybush Hospital but its Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU), which along with other SCBUs in Hywel Dda, does not meet national standards, will be removed.

The health board intends to develop a Level 2 Neonatal Unit and Paediatric High Dependency Unit will be developed at Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen.

High risk pregnancies would be dealt with at at Complex Obstetrics Unit developed alongside the neonatal unit.

Paediatric assessment and short stay units will remain at Withybush.

Two options are proposed for emergency care with the preferred option being one that maintains a 24/7 emergency department and accident centre providing a full emergency department service at Withybush.

The Health Board insisted that none of the proposed changes will take place until it is “safe and appropriate to do so” and it would not lead to a cut in jobs.

Staff would be moved around the organisation and “retrained and reskilled”

where necessary, and there will be an increase in staff in some cases, claimed chief executive Trevor Purt.

“Reconfiguration doesn’t save money. What this is about is rebalancing were our system currently is, it isn’t in any way about down grading services.”

Big changes are also planned to orthopaedic services and the reorganisation of current services at Withybush Hospital.

Day and short stay surgery will remain but an Orthopaedic Centre of Excellence providing “leading edge orthopaedic services (operations on bones like hip or knee replacements)” at Prince Philip Hospital, the preferred option.

The Llanelli hospital is preferred over Withybush Hospital because it already operates successfully asanelective centre for inpatient orthopaedic services and has the capacity to operate in an effective manner, with space available to develop a new short stay unit the report states. THE 12-week consultation period began following the approval of the proposal documents last Monday (August 6).

A public meeting will be held at Sir Thomas Picton School on September 20 as well as a further two locality consultations to be held at Fishguard Town Hall on October 17 and Kilgetty Community Centre on October 24.

Documents can be requested by email hyweldda.


uk or visiting www.hywelddahb.

Or residents can write to Freepost, Hywel Dda Health Board or call 01437 771232 (leave your requests for further information on the answer machine facility).

Feedback can be provided by: ● Completing the online questionnaire at: ● Completing a hard copy of the questionnaire and returning to Opinion Research Services, Freepost (SS1018), PO Box 530, Swansea, SA1 1ZL ● Writing a letter to the health board at Freepost, Hywel Dda Health Board.

● Emailing the health board at h y w e l d d a . e n g a g e - ● Telephoning 01437 771232 (leave your comments on the answer machine facility) ● Or by attending one of the events The official consultation period on the proposed changes will run until October 29.