New Aberystwyth Bronglais Hospital maternity unit opens

Baby generic New facilities include a state of the art security system for babies

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A new maternity unit has opened at Bronglais Hospital in Aberystwyth ahead of proposed changes to neonatal services.

The aim is for doctors in Carmarthen to provide specialist care with other hospitals, including Bronglais, providing a midwife-led service.

It would also mean Withybush Hospital's special care baby unit in Haverfordwest would close.

The plans were initially revealed a year ago by Hywel Dda Health Board.

The health board and the Welsh government have said it would provide a better level of care.

But the plans were vetoed by the local patients' watchdog over concerns that closing the special care baby unit in Haverfordwest could put lives at risk.

It meant Health Minister Mark Drakeford had to step in to review the decision himself, and took advice from a panel of experts.

The advisory panel indicated providing special baby care units across the health board was "neither safe nor sustainable".

The new maternity unit at Bronglais includes more single and double room accommodation with en-suite facilities.

Other facilities include a family room for women who wish to have home-from-home birth, mood lighting in some rooms, increased water birth facility and a state of the art security system for babies.

'High risk'

A Hywel Dda Health Board spokesman said if its plans to reorganise neonatal services went ahead obstetricians would still be available at Bronglais Hospital although local births would be midwifery led.

The spokesman added: "The timeline for this has not yet been determined and is dependent on improvements in urgent transport infrastructure and the outcome of an independent mid Wales study that is currently being undertaken.

"Women who live in Ceredigion already deliver their babies at Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen if they are high risk and are expected to require neonatal care."

The maternity unit is part of the £38m Front of House scheme at Bronglais hospital.

It includes a new emergency department, clinical decisions unit, and GP out-of-hours services, purpose-built day surgery unit and new short-stay surgical ward.

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