Hywel Dda University Health Board has backed a proposal that will see children’s services at Withybush Hospital downgraded.

At the meeting of its Board on November 30, Hywel Dda University Health Board (UHB) members discussed the findings of the consultation on paediatric service provision at Withybush and Glangwili hospitals, with three options for the Paediatric Ambulatory Care Unit (PACU) service on the table.

Some additional outpatient services for children and young people at Withybush Hospital but no Paediatric Ambulatory Care Unit (PACU) at Withybush Hospital.

Paediatric Ambulatory Care Unit (PACU) at Withybush from 10am – 6pm, Monday to Friday.

A variant of the previous option with additional non-emergency treatments.

Board members backed Option 1, no PACU service at the hospital, building on what is currently being provided following temporary measures introduced in 2021 due to Covid-19.

The PACU model will remain at Glangwili Hospital, meaning a child with an acute illness requiring admission (an overnight stay) would be treated at the 24-hour inpatient unit at Carmarthen’s Glangwili Hospital.

Booked outpatient appointments at Withybush will be available as part of this option.

A statement by Hywel Dda said: “In reaching their decision the Board focused on the necessity to provide and assure the consistency, quality, and safety of care for children and their families.”

Executive Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Hywel Dda UHB Professor Phil Kloer said: “The decision is a step towards confirming the sustainability of our future paediatric services.

“By choosing to progress Option 1, we will continue to develop and improve upon the current service in Pembrokeshire and our work towards creating a better health service and a healthier mid and West Wales.

“All options presented and considered [on November 30] represent an enhancement of services currently provided at Withybush Hospital and to the local community.”

Lee Davies, executive director of Strategy and Planning at Hywel Dda UHB, said: “The decision will provide certainty and clarity to parents, patients, and staff within Pembrokeshire as to what their future paediatric service will be.

“The health board will also undertake further work to explore the transport issues that have been raised as part of the consultation process.

“The Health Board looks forward to continued collaboration with all stakeholders and communities as we work together towards the creation of a sustainable and comprehensive healthcare model for the region.”

Following the decision, the health board will devise an implementation plan, including timescales, expected to be shared in early 2024.