THE Health Board is “fully committed to 24 hour A&E services” its chairman has said in the wake of a shocking leaked document that appeared to indicate the ‘end game’ for Withybush Hospitals emergency department.

A shocking document made public earlier this week indicated that the Hywel Dda University Health considered the current A&E service at the Haverfordwest site as unsustainable.

The Save Withybush Action Team (SWAT) raised fears it was the “end game” for the service but this has been swiftly denied by health board bosses.

The leaked document, dated November 17, was prepared by Dr Iain Robertson Steele, director of clinical care states: “It is no longer possible to sustain a traditional 24/7 A&E service at WGH based on middle grade locums and locum consultants”.

Dr Robertson Steele said the document had been taken out of context and was a “private and confidential paper that presents only one contribution from amongst a number being discussed and I am deeply distressed that this has been put into the public domain in this way”.

The document states that staffing issues led to the latest crisis in the service, adding a solution needed to be found.

“The current 24/7 model is no longer safely sustainable and will not be sustainable in the future,” it states.

It recommended that the A&E provide 12 hour day time services.

Other services that Withybush should not provide services for patients where further or onward care is required will also include ENT, ophthalmology, urology, palliative care, oncology, paediatrics, gynaecology and other specialist services, according to the document.

“Limiting provision at WGH to those services at WGH which are fully staffed and skilled,” it adds.

SWAT chairman Dr Chris Overton called the news the “end game” for Withybush Hospital.

"As predicted for many years, nothing much will be left,” he added.

The group has raised concerns previously that the knock on effect of services removal will result in changes having to be made at Withybush A&E.

In a media briefing, brought forward to early Tuesday morning, Hywel Dda moved to reassure residents that it was committed to providing 24hour emergency services seven days a week, but it would not be a “traditional” model.

Medical director Sue Fish said: “Issues around recruitment, particularly into A&E posts, have been widely reported and continue to be a challenge faced by NHS organisation across the UK.”

She added that a planned meeting on Monday alternative solutions to the one outlined in the leaked document had been found for delivering a “full, sustainable 24/7 service in the future have been identified to maintain this service in the weeks to come and to give us time to build in long term solutions”.