Do not let the Health Board DOWNGRADE our Hospital to a cottage hospital. The Senior Executives are trying to close us down rapidly. They are moving fast to diminish our current services such as Special Care Baby Unit, Inpatient Paediatrics and Obstetrics. They will move them to Glangwili unless we all join together to stop them.
The people of Pembrokeshire can halt this downward slide provided they speak up now. They need to spread the word and write to the health minister expressing their concerns. Difficult changes will have to be made but there are solutions to keep the services at Withybush safe and effective now and in the future. Hywel DdaHealth Board plans to centralise Paediatrics and Obstetrics in Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen.
The Welsh Deanery, who sets standards for training junior doctors, will require trainee doctors in paediatrics and Obstetrics to be on one site in Hywel Dda from August 2014.
The Welsh Deanery says that the trainee doctors should all be based in one hospital. They have suggested this should be Carmarthen. This decision is based on flawed or no evidence.
The medical staffing at Withybush and Carmarthen consists of 3 tiers: Junior doctors in training, middle grade doctors and consultants.
If the junior doctors get taken away from Withybush, the SCBU goes with the junior doctors to Carmarthen. This is because to run a safe SCBU 2 pairs of hands are required on site at all times.
If SCBU gets moved to Carmarthen, labour ward from Withybush will go as well, leaving any deliveries at Withybush without a safety net.
The health minister set up an expert panel to look at neonatal services. They had no remit about where junior doctors would be based and understandably supported centralising SCBU in Carmarthen.
It appears that the needs of the Welsh deanery and the trainees are being placed above that of the people of Pembrokeshire.
The panel suggested further discussions about obstetric services, which are ongoing. However, without a SCBU a labour ward with consultant obstetricians cannot exist.
If the health board plans go ahead, the functioning of the paediatric ward will be affected. It will be at best a part time assessment ward, which will not be able to cope with very ill children. The worst scenario, which is likely, is that it may not exist at all. This is because the middle grade doctors from Withybush will be sent to Carmarthen to shore up the larger and more specialist service, leaving no paediatric doctors at Withybush. To date there has been no move to increase the number of middle grade doctors at Withybush or Carmarthen.
This will then lead to the accident and emergency department at Withybush being left without paediatric support. It will then be downgraded and probably provide a part time service at best.
Withybush will then become a cottage hospital.
These changes are planned for mid 2014. Neither Withybush nor Carmarthen are ready for this.