South West Wales

Withybush and Glangwili maternity changes set for August

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Media captionDesigns show the new midwife-led facilities and special care baby unit

Complex hospital births are to be switched from Pembrokeshire to Carmarthenshire next month, health managers have confirmed.

Controversial plans to end consultant-led maternity services at Withybush Hospital in Haverfordwest emerged late last year.

£3m is being spent on new and improved facilities at Glangwili, Carmarthen, as well as a new midwife-led unit at Withybush.

The changes will begin on 4 August.

The plans have sparked protests.

The local patients' watchdog expressed concerns that closing the special care baby unit in Haverfordwest to transfer it all to Carmarthen could put lives at risk.

Image caption Protesters travelled to Cardiff to lobby ministers

Hundreds gathered outside the Senedd at a demonstration last month.

Staff were told of progress on the developments at meetings last week.

Consultation ended in May and Hywel Dda health board has insisted the care mothers will receive will be safe.

The changes are:

  • Midwife-led units will be operating at Glangwili and Withybush Hospitals from 4 August
  • All special care baby services will be at Glangwili Hospital from that date
  • Women requiring additional care during pregnancy, labour or birth will be advised to give birth in the consultant-led unit at Glangwili Hospital
  • Those developing any complications will be taken to Glangwili from Withybush with a midwife during the transfer
  • An additional ambulance based at Withybush will operate 24 hours a day
  • A new unit for premature and sick newborn babies at Glangwili Hospital will have four high dependency cots, eight special care cots and one stabilisation cot

A Hywel Dda health board spokesman said building work was on schedule but construction of the Withybush midwife-led unit will not start until obstetric services have transferred to Glangwili to minimise disruption.

Changes to paediatric services are expected in October.

The spokesman added: "Following a series of meetings with senior paediatric clinical staff it is clear that the timelines for recruitment mean that it is not possible to safely move the service at the beginning of August.

"It is imperative that any changes are made safely and therefore changes to paediatric services in Glangwili and Withybush Hospitals will now take place in October and not at the same time as maternity and neonatal service changes."

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