A health board has denied claims that it has decided to end consultant and doctor led maternity services at Withybush Hospital in Pembrokeshire and move them to Glangwili in Carmarthen next year.
There have been reports that staff at Withybush were told some services would end next March.
A spokesperson for the Hywel Dda Health Board said discussions were still ongoing about how services would be arranged, and that proposed models would be submitted to the Welsh government in the next few weeks.
The health board can confirm that no instruction has been given to book expectant mothers due in March or April into Glangwili Hospital instead of Withybush Hospital. If any mother has any queries about their booking they are advised to speak to their midwife directly.
Hywel Dda Health Board has denied health union claims that it is cancelling operations this winter to save money.
But it says some surgery - such as knee and hip replacements - will be postponed.
The health board says it has a responsibility to ensure continued safe care at this time of increased pressure and is putting plans in place now to respond to the anticipated increase in activity over the winter.
Dr Phil Kloer, Director of Clinical Services, said, “There have been too many operations cancelled at the last minute due to emergency admissions. In previous winters, we had up to 160 additional beds in place often being managed by temporary staff. This is not a position we can sustain this year.
”We would like to reassure patients that if they have an urgent clinical need they will be seen. Emergency and cancer procedures, the vast majority of orthopaedic day surgery and other elective procedures will also continue.”
The health service union, UNISON, claims all planned orthopaedic surgery for four main hospitals in the Hywel Dda Health Board area have been cancelled until April 2014.
It says the hospitals affected will be Prince Philip, Glangwili, Bronglais and Withybush Hospitals.
Unison says the health board has to make financial savings and as a result hip and knee replacements will be cancelled.
UNISON Branch Chairperson, Wendy Evans, said, “The Health Board already has a waiting time of 15 months for patients awaiting orthopaedic surgery. This will clearly add at least another five to six months to their waiting time, causing further distress."
The union says it has written to the Health Minister, Mr Mark Drakeford to complain about the decision.
Health Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed the A&E unit at Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli, will become a nurse-led department.
The local Community Health Council had referred the Hywel Dda Health Board's plans to ministers, following the publication of the plans in January.
A special scrutiny panel was set up to provide advice to the Health Minister.
The process of change is always challenging even when inevitable and necessary.
The panel's approach is consistent with that already adopted by the Welsh Government – retaining the bulk of services locally while ensuring that care for those with greater need is provided in accordance internationally accepted, evidence-based standards, leading to best outcomes for patients.
– Mark Drakeford, Health Minister
The panel has not yet made a decision on planned changes to neonatal care in the area.
The Health Minister says he has asked the health board to carry out further analysis of the proposals for obstetric, midwifery and gynaecology.
A 62-year-old man claims he was told to walk 23-miles home, after being discharged from West Wales General Hospital in the early hours of New Year's Day.
Peter Rees was admitted to the Carmarthen hospital's accident and emergency unit by ambulance after suffering from breathing difficulties at home in Llanwrda, near Llandeilo on the evening of December 31.
After blood tests and x-rays, Mr Rees was diagnosed with a chest infection, prescribed strong anti-biotics and discharged at 2am on New Year's Day.
The father-of-three said he asked for help with transport as he didn't have his wallet with him, but claims he was told by a nurse to leave the hospital.
Mr Rees said he explained he live 23 miles away, and his partner didn't drive, but claims he was left to walk home and covered 12 miles before being given a lift by a passing police car.
The Chief Executive of Hywel Dda Health Board, Trevor Purt, has told AMs that 24,000 people who petitioned for the return of services to Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli were asking for 'a model that has never been'. They had demanded 'a fully functioning district general hospital'.
We the people of Llanelli, the town with the largest population within the Hywel Dda area demand Prince Philip Hospital be restored to a fully functioning District General Hospital with the return of major elective surgery, including gastrointestinal, vascular, urology, gynaecology and trauma, with support from the original 5 ITU beds fully staffed, which would support a fully staffed, consultant led Accident and Emergency Department, providing support for the physicians.
– Petition from the Prince Philip Action Network
Mr Purt said some surgery had been removed at the behest of the Royal Colleges, who insist that hospitals have enough patients requiring particular types of treatment to ensure that staff are properly trained. He said he did not want people turning up for 'inappropriate treatment' not on offer.
He added that Llanelli 'does not sit in isolation' but is also served by other hospitals. He said ambulances 'drive past certain hospitals to got to others because the facilites are better.' There was a problem that urban populations 'are unwilling to have anything other than a local hospital.