IT WAS only a matter of time before a senior officer of Hywel Dda University Health Board tried to deflect blame for closing Withybush Obstetric Unit and SCBU from itself to Royal Colleges and clinicians ( Bernadine Rees, ‘£300K cost of judicial review’, Western Telegraph, July 30).

Let us be clear, Mrs Rees; the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists was not involved. It was ‘quoted’ in the original consultation document, but not invited to participate in the consultation. When convening a Scrutiny Panel, Mark Drakeford was informed that the College would provide two senior fellows to advise if requested. No such request was made. Instead, two clinicians were involved, one a paediatric professor working in London, not rural Wales, and a gynaecologist from Swansea, who has not worked in obstetrics for many years.

Mr Drakeford also ‘quoted’ the College, stating Withybush was “too small to remain open” in a letter to the Patient Participation Group of St Thomas Surgery. The views of Pembrokeshire clinicians, GPs and specialists, familiar with the local problems and overwhelmingly opposing the closures, were ignored, a slap in the face for your own clinicians. No wonder morale is at rock bottom.

We await with dread and trepidation the first adverse event following the closure of the obstetric unit at midnight last Sunday.

Meanwhile, patients, their relatives and friends, face thousands of extra miles of travel, and staff are left with long journeys to provide the best service they can under difficult conditions.

The most up to date facilities in the world are useless if you cannot reach them in time ( “Bosses are totally prepared for the move”, Western Telegraph, July 30). The Health Board alone bears the responsibility for the decision.