SICK children needing hospital treatment overnight will have to travel to Carmarthen from Monday.

Hywel Dda University Health Board’s changes to paediatric services come into force on October 20 and are letting people know what to do if a child is unwell.

Most paediatric services remain unchanged and will be accessed in the usual way, including all community, outpatient and minor injury services, the healthboard says.

From Monday Withybush Hospital will have a seven day a week paediatric assessment unit running 10am to 10pm.

An overnight inpatient paediatric unit will be based at Glangwili Hospital along with a new dedicated high dependency paediatric unit to serve the entire area.

In the unit at Withybush Hospital there will be beds for assessment, day treatments and investigations and care will be provided by paediatric consultants, doctors, children’s nurses and other health care professionals.

Consultant paediatrician and clinical lead for paediatrics, Dr Simon Fountain-Polley said: “Many children can be treated in this way and do not need an overnight stay. This can include children with sudden onset of pain, sickness, temperatures or infections. We will also be able to treat children and young people who need dressings, blood tests, x-rays or scans in Withybush Hospital.”

The Dedicated Ambulance Vehicle brought in to transfer women and babies following maternity changes will also be used for children and young people needing paediatric services.

If your child is unwell, you can do a number of things including calling NHS Direct Wales, your usual GP, which will also connect parents to out of hours services or for minor injuries go to Withybush Emergencey and Urgent Care Centre.

In an emergency, if your child is very sick, you should dial 999 and ask for an ambulance rather than go directly to Withybush the health board said.

If hospital admission is likely staff have been told to consider direct referral to Glangwili.

Chairman of the Save Withybush Action Team (SWAT), Dr Chris Overton said: “This is another nail in the coffin for our services in Pembrokeshire and is another step towards the removal of all inpatient services.

“Two thousand children are admitted on average each year to Withybush. Yes, approx 50% are for less than 12 hours, but that means about 1000 children and families will be disadvantaged and potentially put at increased risk because of these changes.”

Dr Overton also questioned the use of the dedicated ambulance over so many clinical areas as well as raising concerns of increased road disruption as winter draws closer.

“How much death and disability will they accept before they realise they are wrong. Will it be too late?” he added.

Staff at Withybush Hospital have worked 'incredibly hard' in readiness for the change in services, the Hywel Dda Community Health Council has been told.

Pembrokeshire local committee member Barbara Wilson had attended the most recent programme meeting of the health board, and told colleagues: "It's all looking good for D-Day on October 20.

“A huge number of policies have been pulled together, and there has also been considerable investment - particularly in time - to ensure that staff are trained in the Paediatric Immediate Life Support (PILS) course."

Mrs Wilson also praised the board's communications team, whose information downloads on the changes to the changes in healthcare services for children and young people had received around 10,000 hits on the website.

All Pembrokeshire households and businesses are being sent a leaflet about the changes through the post.

Resources are also available on the University Health Board’s website at