THE new chief executive of Hywel Dda University Health Board is hoping for a more positive dialogue with the public but made clear removed services will not be brought back.
Steve Moore was appointed late last year, replacing the man who wielded the axe over a number of services in Pembrokeshire, Trevor Purt.
Withybush Hospital no longer has overnight paediatric services, its Special Care Baby Unit or full consultant obstetric services.
Other services are being developed in the area such as the renal unit, the new Chemotherapy Day Unit and orthogeriatrics, reducing travel time for many patients.
Mr Moore, who was previously Director of the NHS England Area Team covering Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said it was time to “draw a line” under the service changes and “move forward and thinking positively of the future” of Withybush Hospital.
“The clinical argument for the move still stand – sustainability of service, we have to recognise that and access to trainees is hugely important in ongoing recruitment issues,” said Mr Moore.
He added that a review of all service changes was being carried out and the health board had been talking to pressure groups about people’s experiences.
“We need to learn from these, pick up that learning and continue to engage with the public. There are sound clinical reasons for the changes but there is much more we can do in terms of ongoing discussion and learning,” he said.
Chairman Bernardine Rees added that at one of the recent public meetings organised by the health board with the Community Health Council she was handed a transcript of patient experiences which would also feature in the review.
Mr Moore added: “We need to start thinking about moving forward the debate and asking the question, how do we think the hospital best serves the local population, the needs of the population and what people are looking for from their hospitals?
“The public meetings have a bearing on that. We need to think about service developments, what can we do better and more of. When we can’t deliver a service locally for sustainability reasons, for safety reasons and clinical models change over time. You have to change the way services are delivered and can sometimes only do that in bigger centres.”
His background and experience in the rural area of Devon and Cornwall is likely to be an advantage across the three rural counties of Hywel Dda.
Mr Moore said that some of the thinking around “urban based models” did not necessarily work in areas such as Pembrokeshire.
However, he added: “We can’t fall into the trap of saying everything can be delivered everywhere, that’s never been the case.”
He, and Ms Rees, added that the situation at Glangwili, particularly regarding parking, was being looked at everyday with improvements being made wherever possible.
“In extreme cases patients need to talk to us. A lot of the extreme cases we read in the papers,” said Ms Rees, who encouraged patients to approach staff.
With reference to the two recent public meetings held in the county Mr Moore said: “We were able to get across that we were listening, they may not completely trust us yet but may give us the benefit of the doubt that we will continue to.”