South West Wales

Patients to return to Withybush Hospital after doctor shortage

Withybush hospital

Patients who have been diverted away from a Pembrokeshire hospital will be able to return next month.

Hywel Dda University Health Board made temporary changes to Withybush Hospital's catchment area last August.

It meant GP admissions and ambulance transfers from Narberth, Kilgetty, Saundersfoot and Tenby were sent to Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen instead of Haverfordwest.

The health board said it was in response to a junior doctors' shortage.

It announced on Tuesday that from 1 September the catchment would return to normal.

Hywel Dda UHB chief executive Steve Moore said: "We are pleased to be able to reinstate the boundaries as we have managed to stabilise medical staffing, with recruitment of a number of locums.

"We are grateful to both our staff and our patients for their support during this period, although I recognise and regret that it did take us longer than expected to get to this more stable position."

'Remains a challenge'

Clinical director for Withybush Hospital, Dr Iain Robertson-Steel said: "We are putting worldwide efforts into recruiting medical and nursing staff for Withybush Hospital and indeed across the health board, so that we can maintain safe care across our services.

"It remains a challenge for us, and indeed the NHS across the UK."

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Withybush Hospital will now return to having 95 medical beds, 17 adult clinical decision beds for general medicine and a total of 76 surgical beds.

There will be capacity to open a maximum of nine additional "surge" beds.

A Hywel Dda UHB spokesman added: "As was the case prior to August 2015, there may be the requirement to divert Pembrokeshire patients to other hospitals during periods of high demand."

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