WITHYBUSH Hospital midwife-led maternity services are set to be reduced to a day staffed service, the Western Telegraph understands.

Three separate sources have contacted the Western Telegraph to inform us of the changes.

Hywel Dda Health Board has said they have no plans to reduce opening times, but said discussions had been held with staff about rotas.

It is unclear at this time how the future service will work, but it is believed that midwives will be on-call for women who want to give birth at Withybush Hospital out of designated hours.

Women are currently able to choose a hospital birth in the Midwife Led Unit (MLU) at Withybush Hospital or in the Consultant Led Unit in Glangwili Hospital.

Glangwili's service may be recommended for women who require additional care during pregnancy, labour or birth.

The Hywel Dda Health board website describes the Withybush service as “staffed and managed by midwives who are experts in normal births.”

When the MLU opened in 2014 the Health Board said they expected around one-third of Pembrokeshire births to take place there, around 300 births a year.

It is currently staffed 24 hours a day.

Keith Jones, Assistant Director of Acute Services for Hywel Dda University Health Board said: "Withybush Hospital Midwife Led Unit is open 24/7 and we have absolutely no plans to reduce the opening hours of this important service to the local population.

"We have been discussing the options to improve the efficiency of our staffing model by achieving a greater integration of our community-based midwives and staff based in the Midwife Led Unit.

"This will not reduce patient access to the Midwife Led Unit, which will remain open to women in Pembrokeshire 24/7.”

A source added that the exact format of the changes was due to be confirmed next week.

Local Assembly Member Paul Davies has responded critically to reports that yet again Withybush Hospital will see services reduced.
He said: “If this is true then this is just another example of services at Withybush Hospital being downgraded. 
"It will be yet another blow to the people of Pembrokeshire who have consistently opposed services being eroded at Withybush Hospital.
“If this takes place then it will put children’s and mothers’ lives at risk which is scandalous. The Hywel Dda University Health Board need to think again about any suggestion that services will be reduced at Withybush Hospital. 
"In addition, the Welsh Government, who are ultimately responsible for health services in Wales, need to start standing up for the people of Pembrokeshire because they cannot continue to sit idly by as services continue to disappear from our hospital.”

More to follow.