Royal College Review Team must listen to Pembrokeshire voices, urges MP

 Following a meeting in Westminster with a senior member of the Review Team from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), local MP, Stephen Crabb, has called on residents to share their experiences of maternity and paediatrics services following the widely opposed changes brought in last year.  Stephen requested a meeting with Sue Eardley, Head of Invited Reviews, at the RCPCH, who have been tasked by the Hywel Dda University Health Board to undertake an independent evaluation of the changes in women’s and children’s healthcare services in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire. The changes saw the removal of consultant led maternity services and the Special Care Baby Unit from Withybush Hospital. Welsh Government Health Minister, Mark Drakeford, requested the formal evaluation at the same time as he approved the changes to the services in Pembrokeshire. The review will look at ‘the impact of the revised neonatal service on newborn outcomes and patient experience’ and will be completed by September. The Health Board has also widen the review area so that it will also focus on Paediatrics following the closure of the overnight service in October 2014.  Stephen was opposed to the changes being introduced and joined the local campaign to keep full maternity services, SCBU and 24 hour paediatrics in Pembrokeshire.  Following the meeting, held on Monday 20th July, Stephen Crabb MP, said,  “Health and the future of Withybush Hospital is the biggest issue on the doorsteps. The changes to women’s and children’s services sparked widespread concern locally and I am pleased that a review is being carried out which will assess the current service against national professional standards for quality and safety.   I was keen to meet with Sue from the RCPCH to find out more about the review process and to talk through the issues that have been raised with me by residents who want their experiences heard during this evaluation. During the meeting I was able to discuss a number of specific issues about the ambulance availability, the experiences of paramedics, and the cramped and overstretched facilities at Glangwili which have caused some concern. I also stressed that in order for the review to be meaningful, it must take into full consideration the views of staff and the people who use the services.  I want to encourage those residents who want their voices to be heard on this very important issue to come forward and share their experiences as part of this review. There is a public meeting being planned at Withybush and people can take part in the online survey”  

MP comments on the news today that hundreds of Pembrokeshire residents will have to access services at Glangwili Hospital

I requested a meeting with the Hywel Dda University Health Board management and met with Steve Moore, Chief Executive and Dr Phil Kloer, Clinical Director, last Friday at Withybush Hospital. We had a frank and honest discussion about the state of recruitment across the Hywel Dda area and I am very aware of the challenges at Withybush especially in terms of keeping  A&E open. The staff there are doing an amazing job and they deserve our full support and commitment.  I have already had urgent discussions this week with my Ministerial colleagues about recruitment in the NHS and the particular challenges that we have here in Wales.  I am awaiting details from the Health Board about the specific visa cases and will be working with the Home Office team to get these much needed medical staff in post as soon as possible.   There is no question that current recruitment difficulties have been made worse across Wales by the damaging and needless budget cuts that the Welsh Labour Government have made even after they were given the extra money to protect health services in Wales.

A message from Stephen Crabb MP

I am very grateful to the people of Preseli Pembrokeshire who voted for me on Thursday 7th May and to those individuals who worked to support my local campaign. It is a huge privilege to continue my work as the Member of Parliament in my home constituency and I would like to thank those who have put their trust in me again.  My promise from the very start has always been to put Pembrokeshire first and to do my very best for the local community.