WITHYBUSH Hospital's children's care unit will not be open this weekend due to a staff shortage, Hywel Dda Health Board has announced.

A statement made by Joe Teape, the health board's director of operations and deputy chief executive, this afternoon (Friday, November 9) says the Paediatric Ambulatory Care Unit will be closed over the weekend.

The PACU will re-open on Monday next week at 11am.

Mr Teape said: "Regrettably, due to sickness and despite all efforts to find replacement cover (including seeking agency support), we do not have the consultant grade doctor necessary to safely keep the Paediatric Ambulatory Care Unit (PACU) at Withybush Hospital open this weekend."

"Other dedicated paediatric clinical staff (middle-grade doctor and paediatric nurses) will support Withybush Emergency and Urgent Care Centre, which will provide minor injury care to children during the weekend as usual."

Mr Teape added that children requiring hospital care from paediatric specialist staff will be transferred to Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen.

In an emergency, parents and carers should dial 999 as usual, if it is not an emergency but you are unsure about the treatment or service your child needs, you can call 111 for advice, support and signposting to the best service.

The Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust will take children to the most appropriate hospital.

Withybush PACU will re-open on Monday from 10am to 6pm as usual to provide tests, treatments and care for local children.

Mr Teape said the health board is committed to providing a PACU service from Withybush Hospital but so far have been unable to recruit enough paediatric medical staff to resume the 12-hour opening times.

"We continue to work with our doctors, other clinical staff, recruitment specialists, and the CHC to try and address our challenges and recruit into these vacant posts," he said.

"We believe providing paediatric hospital services from a new hospital between St Clears and Narberth, alongside strengthened community services and local hospital support, offers the best and most equitable solution for our families across the south of our area. This would also bring overnight paediatric services closer to our Pembrokeshire communities."