Hywel Dda University Health Board wants to make significant improvements to facilities for women, children and their families at Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen, in two more phases of work.
A dedicated project group is working up design plans that would see Phase Two improve neonatal (Special Care Baby Unit), labour ward and maternity theatres to the very best environment for healthcare provision in these areas. Phase Three, would follow this, and would improve gynaecology, postnatal and antenatal accommodation. It would also create a bigger footprint new build at the hospital for children’s services.
NHS Wales has already earmarked £3m in its 2016/17 budget for preparatory work to support Phase Two. It is estimated that this project may see investment in excess of £10m into the hospital during Phase Two.
Chief Executive Steve Moore, who is the Senior Responsible Officer for the project explained to us: “We are continuing to make improvements to services for women and children across our area. In Pembrokeshire, we have extended the contract with the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust for the Dedicated Ambulance Vehicle (DAV) to the end of the financial year and discussions are on-going to place this service on a more permanent basis.
“The service has been used less than anticipated for emergency transfers between Withybush and Glangwili Hospital but it is a valued service and the paramedics have been integrated into the hospital’s medical emergency team and work across the professional boundaries when they are available. We are also progressing plans to move the Paediatric Ambulatory Care Unit at Withybush Hospital closer to the Emergency Department, which will improve access to dedicated paediatric specialists.
“Improvements are also being made at Glangwili for people across our area who use the hospital. We are pleased to have established a suitable and comfortable area for partners of labouring women to wait if they do not want to return home, for example.
“The level of activity now being undertaken at the hospital, combined with feedback from the independent report and feedback from our staff and patients has built a strong case for large scale estate improvements needed in these areas.”
Mr Moore said the health board was committed to both phases of improvements.
“We know it is frustrating, especially for services which are now scheduled in Phase Three, but we made this decision in conjunction with our clinicians and other staff as we did not want to be limited by the current footprint of the hospital, which we think needs to be bigger to do justice to these important services,” he said. “At the same time, we could not wait for one large scale project as this will take time to deliver and there are urgent elements of improvements, particularly in the labour ward and Special Care Baby Unit, which we need to achieve for our patients with haste. We remain fully committed to all parts of this project and will start work on Phase Three as soon as Phase Two is complete.”
The Health Board declared its intentions to make further improvements two years ago when some changes were made to women and children’s hospital services in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. An independent expert report into the service change (by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health working with five other colleges) found the move had improved the health board’s ability to meet standards, and had not adversely affected patients’ clinical outcomes. It called for the next stage of capital developments to be progressed as a matter of urgency.
Mr Moore continued: “We know that this service change has not been easy, particularly for our Pembrokeshire community, but also our staff, which is why we are working hard to upgrade facilities at Glangwili Hospital and improve the staff and patient experience all round.”
The health board is progressing early engagement on Phase Three elements already by speaking to staff and users and also with a local charity Carmarthenshire’s Children’s Centre (the Bandi Appeal). The charity and health board are considering if there would be benefits to combining plans to improve paediatric inpatient services with the charity’s aims of providing an integrated centre for outpatient, assessment and treatment of children and young people.
You can see resources, including the draft schedules of accommodation, as well as initial staff and user feedback on them at https://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/862/page/85447
The Health Board also wish for you to email any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave feedback by calling, and leaving an answerphone message, on 01554 899056.