South West Wales

A&E shake-up in hospitals review

Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli
Services could be cut at the A&E unit at Llanelli's Prince Philip Hospital

Proposals to change emergency hospital treatment in mid and west Wales could see some patients travelling further.

In each option the A&E at Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli, would be downgraded to what Hywel Dda Local Health Board calls an "urgent care centre".

It is reviewing its services, including A&E at Prince Philip, Glangwili in Carmarthen, Withybush in Haverfordwest and Bronglais in Aberystwyth.

The health board said no decisions had been taken and it would consult widely.

But it says the current model for emergency services in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire is not an option.

It has produced a discussion paper with various suggestions from clinicians.

At the moment it has developed three options but says new ideas could be added.

Under each the A&E at Prince Philip would become an urgent care centre.

The health board says emergency surgery no longer takes place at the unit and 999 patients are already taken to Glangwili or Morriston in Swansea.

Under its proposals it says at least 80% of the services now provided by the unit would continue. There may be similar changes at the three other hospitals, but the services there may also be retained.

The health board will stage a series of presentations in the new year to gauge views.

It has also set up a website to explain why it needs to make the changes.

Chief executive Trevor Purt said: "I want to emphasise that no decisions have been reached and we hope the public will help us in shaping high quality, safe and sustainable services for the future.

"We will continue to listen to any views expressed and take into consideration alternative suggestions."

There are seven health boards in Wales and collectively they face a potential shortfall of nearly £50m in funding.

Hywel Dda faces a £4m deficit despite receiving £33m extra from the Welsh government.

It has already said it will temporarily close the minor injury units at Tenby and South Pembrokeshire in January to boost the A&E department at Withybush.

It is also considering cutting non-urgent, planned surgery for a period after Christmas to save money.

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