AN October date for the removal of overnight paediatric services at Withybush Hospital is included in the latest Health Board stakeholder briefing.

A detailed programme plan for changes to inpatient services for children is being developed and the changes are due to take place on October 20.

Also included in the briefing is the news that a dedicated ambulance brought in as part of a ‘transport safety net’ for maternity and neonatal services will also be used for paediatric cases, alongside existing ambulances.

The move had been planned for August, alongside the removal of the special care baby unit and obstetric services, but had been delayed following concerns raised by senior clinicians.

The report says: “The changes are being made to ensure the University Health Board meet national safety standards and in response to workforce challenges in recruitment, maintenance of medical rotas, and clinical training requirements.

“The majority of children will continue to be assessed and cared for at Withybush Hospital through a new 12-hour paediatric ambulatory care unit, supported by a range of enhanced outpatient services.

“A 24/7 inpatient service will be provided from a single site at Glangwili Hospital”.

Concerns were raised when the announcement about the move was made earlier this year and campaigners had been battling to retain both potentially lifesaving services at Pembrokeshire’s hospital.

Once inpatient paediatrics is moved children needing hospital assessment overnight will be referred directly to Glangwili Hospital.

Campaign group SWAT (Save Withybush Action Team) has said this latest move is another step in ‘downgrading the hospital to a cottage hospital’ and the October date had been discussed for some time.

Chairman Chris Overton said: "All I can say is the dedicated ambulance seems to be shared around a lot.

"We believe the dedicated ambulance is not dedicated and will become a general ambulance because so many other services are moving to Carmarthen.

"The tail of the deanery is wagging the dog. They have been saying for ten years there are staffing problems but Withybush has survived for ten years and would have continued to survive. The only thing driving it is the deanery requirement to have a bigger unit with a less onerous on call rota for trainees. It's all about the comfort of the trainees. They could have had it down here and had a more equitable service."

SWAT is considering of holding another demonstration at the Senedd in Cardiff to “remind Mr Drakeford we are still here and not happy with the changes that have occurred nor the plans for Paediatrics in October”.

The date, which is yet to be finalised, potential dates are September 17 or October 15. SWAT will let people know as soon as details are finalised.