Today's Hywel Dda Health Board board meeting has passed a package of measures that will see a shake-up of healthcare in Mid and West Wales.
One community hospital will close, along with minor injury units. The decision follows a twelve week consultation.
– Trevor Purt, Chief ExecutivE, Hywel Dda Health Board
Careful consideration has been given throughout the whole process, not only to the depth and breadth of feedback we received, but also to other evidence including healthcare standards and the context the NHS is operating in.
This includes the very real challenges faced by the NHS across the UK such as recruitment difficulties and finance, as well as unique challenges such as our geographical location.
Mynydd Mawr hospital in Tumble, near Llanelli, will be closed, with staff transferring to Prince Philip Hospital.
Patients will be treated in a new unit at Prince Philip, and at a proposed Community Resource Centre in Cross Hands.
Minor injury units at the Tenby and South Pembrokeshire hospitals will now close, with a pilot scheme proposed at Tenby to cover tourist demand during summer.
- Proposed closure of Mynydd Mawr Hospital to go ahead - more replacement facilities at Prince Philip than first proposed
- Proposed closure of minor injuries unit at Tenby Cottage Hospital to go ahead - now with 8-week pilot in summer when GP practice, pharmacy or voluntary sector will offer service
- Proposal to end orthopaedic surgery at Withybush Hospital is dropped, but patients from Pembrokeshire (and Carmarthenshire) needing complex procedures will go to Prince Philip
- High-dependency neonatal care to be concentrated at Glangwili as proposed - keeping obstetrics and pediatrics at Withybush depends on overcoming problems in recruiting doctors
Hywel Dda Health Board has released its proposals following a consultation into healthcare in mid and west Wales.
One move which attracted criticism was to turn Llanelli's Prince Philip Hospital's A&E department into a nurse-led "Urgent Care Centre."
Concerns were raised by the public that without a full A&E department patients would have to travel to Bronglais, Glangwili and Withybush Hospital.
Physicians at the hospital also opposed the change on the grounds of "patient safety", saying:
– Physicians at Prince Philip Hospital
As a team of physicians we are not prepared to support a nurse led A & E unit at Prince Philip Hospital as we are not prepared to work outside our area of clinical competence. For these reasons we are totally opposed to the proposed changes for a nurse led A&E on the grounds of patient safety.
The health board says it has "recognised' the concerns of the public and clinicians, however, a document released today shows that the full A&E department will no longer exist and in its place will be a doctor supported, nurse led service that will include a 24/7 assessment and admission service.
Changes to healthcare services in West Wales will be announced later.
Proposals put forward by Hywel Dda health board have been controversial, sparking public protests.
Some of the inital plans included the proposed downgrading of the A&E services in Llanelli, and closing the neo-natal unit at Withybush Hospital.
"I suspect some quite substantial changes really" says health economist Prof Marcus Longley, from the University of Glamorgan.
"The situation in Hywel Dda has been difficult for many years"
"This has been a long time in the gestation, so we're likely to see some major changes, I think particularly in the south"
Hywel Dda Health Board, which covers Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, launched a 12-week consultation on the proposals in August last year.
Campaigners staged public meetings in Llanelli to try and raise support to fight plans to close A&E services at the town's Prince Phillip hospital.
The proposals included downgrading facilities there to a 'local accident centre' without 24-hour emergency cover. The health board argued its plans would take the strain off hospitals, but providing care closer to home.
The health board's decisions will be announced during a meeting this morning.
A final decision on controversial changes to health services in mid and west Wales will be made at a meeting of Hywel Dda Health Board this morning.
The proposals include:
- closing Mynydd Mawr Community Hospital in Llanelli
- downgrading Llanelli's Prince Phillip Hospital's A&E to an 'urgent care centre'
- centralising maternity care and developing specialist paediatric services, including a Complex Obstetric Unit at Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen
A public meeting will be held this evening over proposed changes to health services in mid and west Wales.
It will be the first of Hywel Dda Health Board's public meetings, which are aimed at giving local people the opportunity to ask questions about the proposals.
It comes after weeks of protests from residents who say health services are being downgraded.
Campaigners are staging a public meeting in Llanelli tonight to try and raise support to fight plans to close A&E services at the town"s Prince Phillip hospital.
The Hywel Dda Health Board have proposed downgrading facilities there to a 'local accident centre' without 24 hour emergency cover. The Health Board argues its plans will provide care closer to home, and take the strain off hospitals.