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Cwm Taf Morgannwg maternity merger: What are the issues?

Credit: PA Images

For many living in the Cwm Taf Morganwwg Health board area, the reports of an "overcrowded" maternity ward and "overstretched" staff at Prince Charles hospital will be exactly what was feared would happen with any service change.

On 9 March, the Royal Glamorgan hospital in Llantrisant stopped providing consultant-led maternity care - instead offering only midwife-led care.

Consultant-led care is now based at Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil. These changes were initially part of the "2014 South Wales Programme" which were plans to secure the future of four hospital services in South Wales and South Powys.

Concerns were raised that those needing consultant-led care would have to travel further, or that women who experienced complications while giving birth at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital would then have to be transferred.

The most recent concerns come against the backdrop of a major review of maternity services in the Cwm Taf Morganwwg health board area.

In October last year, it was revealed that serious incidents, including the deaths of babies, may not have been properly investigated.

The health board was quick to cite difficulties with staffing and launched an external review. A separate external review, to be carried out by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, was also launched.

The external review is expected to be made public in the coming weeks, but external investigators gathering evidence found areas needing 'immediate' action.

Read more:External review finds quality and safety concerns in maternity units

The health board maintains the changes are the right thing to do to ensure enough staff can provide safe care - something that's again being questioned.

If you are a parent or member of staff and would like to get in touch about this story, e-mail ITV Wales' Health Reporter James Crichton-Smith here: james.crichton-smith@itv.com