Funding to support improvements to maternity and neonatal services at Carmarthen’s Glangwili Hospital has been confirmed by the Welsh government.
Health and social services minister Mark Drakeford made the announcement during a visit to Carmarthen to see the new neonatal unit at Glangwili Hospital – previously known as West Wales General Hospital.
“I am very pleased to announce that I have earmarked £3m to take forward the second phase of work”
From the Welsh Government’s 2016-17 budget, £3m has been set aside to begin the second phase improvements to the neonatal and obstetric units at the hospital, subject to the approval of plans.
Hywel Dda University Health Board is expected to submit its business case for the second phase improvements early in the next financial year.
It will cement the reorganisation of maternity and neonatal services in West Wales that have been taking place gradually over the last few years, sparking local protests.
Consultant-led maternity care was concentrated at Glangwili Hospital and a new level two neonatal service is being developed, following a public consultation and advice from independent experts.
Funding for maternity improvement at Welsh hospital
Meanwhile, a new midwife-led maternity unit has been established at Withybush Hospital, in Haverfordwest, which no longer provides neonatal services.
An independent review of the changes by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, carried out a year after they were made, concluded they were safe and had led to improved outcomes for mothers and babies.
Professor Drakeford said: “I am pleased to be visiting Glangwili Hospital today to see the excellent work undertaken to transfer special care baby services from Withybush Hospital, backed by £3.8m funding from the Welsh government.
“A year after the changes were put in place, the royal college review tells us that these services are safe, sustainable in the long-term and, most importantly, have led to improved outcomes for mothers and babies,” he said.
“The review also made clear that it would make ‘no clinical sense’ to return to the previous arrangements. To ignore the experts’ views would be highly irresponsible,” said Professor Drakeford.
“New facilities will mean that high quality care can be delivered within modern, fit-for-purpose facilities”
He added: “I am very pleased to announce that I have earmarked £3m to take forward the second phase of work at Glangwili Hospital, subject to an approved business case.”
The Royal College of Midwives said it was pleased that the funding for the the second stage of work at Glangwilli had been officially allocated.
RCM director for Wales Helen Rogers said: “The improvements will enhance the experience for women using the services and also for the staff that work there.”
“Staff already provides an excellent service but new facilities will mean that high quality care can be delivered within modern, fit-for-purpose facilities,” she said.
“This investment will enable vital improvements in both the neonatal and maternity units at Glangwilli and will lead to improved outcomes for both mother and babies,” she added.